Best Pet Insulin & Diabetes Medications: What Is Prozac?
Prozac (fluoxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor used to treat depression. It was approved by the FDA in 1987 and became available to veterinarians in 1988. Its main mechanism of action is to reduce levels of serotonin in the brain, which may cause feelings of sadness or anxiety.
Prozac is prescribed for patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic attacks, social phobia, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other conditions where symptoms are caused by low levels of serotonin in the brain. It is not recommended for children under age 12.
The drug works by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical that helps regulate mood. When it gets too low, depressed patients feel sad and anxious.
Too much serotonin causes mania, which can lead to dangerous behavior such as aggression and violence.
In clinical trials, Prozac was found to be effective in treating depression in adults over the age of 18 years old. The drug helped patients more than a placebo. It is less effective in treating severe depression and bipolar disorder.
It is not yet known if it can help patients with dementia.
Common side effects of the drug include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, sleep disorders, drowsiness, dry mouth, disturbances in urination, confusion, tremors and sweating.
The most serious risk of taking Prozac is an increase in suicidal thoughts or actions. You should seek immediate medical help if you experience worsening depression or thoughts of suicide. Other serious risks include an allergic reaction and mania.
You should avoid drinking alcohol while taking this drug. Prozac may not mix well with other medications and supplements, so talk to your doctor before taking any other prescription or over-the-counter drugs (OTC).
Best Pet Insulin & Diabetes Medications: Types of Medication
If diet and exercise don’t work to bring your pet’s blood glucose down to healthy levels, your veterinarian may prescribe several types of medication.
Insulin injections: When a dog is diagnosed with diabetes, he or she will need to take one or more forms of insulin every day. The most common type of insulin prescribed to pets is called “neutral protamine Hagedorn” or “NPH.” This insulin must be injected subcutaneously, or under the skin, at least twice a day.
Another type of insulin that can be used is “fast-acting regular.” It starts to act a little more quickly than NPH and lasts for a shorter period of time. This type of insulin must also be injected subcutaneously and should be given after each meal.
If there is a large difference in the amount of exercise your pet gets on any given day, your veterinarian may recommend a third injection of fast-acting insulin.
Many animals will also need a shot of an insulin supplement at bedtime. This helps keep the blood sugar from dropping overnight, which can cause your pet to wake up and want to eat. There are also long-acting insulins that work for longer periods of time.
Your veterinarian can help you decide which insulin is best for your pet.
Non-insulin medications: When a dog is not diabetic, the hormone insulin is naturally produced by the pancreas. When a dog is diagnosed with diabetes, the pancreas stops producing insulin. Over time, the lack of insulin can cause serious health problems for your pet.
In some cases, the veterinarian may give your pet drugs such as glucophage or metformin that help the body produce more insulin.
Glucophage is also known as “glucose-tolerant” and has been shown to help diabetic dogs maintain normal blood sugar levels. Metformin is a drug that has been used to treat humans with diabetes, and it’s become a popular treatment for pets as well.
Sometimes, however, these drugs can cause gastrointestinal upset. In most cases, your veterinarian will try to find the right dosage to minimize this side effect without compromising the benefits of the medication.
If these drugs are ineffective or if your pet experiences too many side effects, your veterinarian may recommend an insulin regimen instead of non-insulin medications.
Other medications: Your veterinarian may recommend other medications to treat some of the symptoms or complications that may arise with diabetes. For example, your pet may be at an increased risk for developing bladder infections due to frequent urination. If this is the case, then your veterinarian may recommend antibiotics to reduce the chances of an infection.
In some cases, surgery may be recommended if your pet has developed cataracts in both eyes or has damage to the retina or optic nerve. Cataracts or similar eye problems can also lead to blindness. In some cases, removing the lens of the eye (a procedure known as a “filtering operation”) may greatly improve your pet’s quality of life and reduce the risk of further complications.
Proper diet: Of course, even with medication, your pet’s diabetes is still going to require monitoring and routine veterinary exams. But there are also things you can do on your end to help control your pet’s blood glucose levels.
It’s very important that your pet maintains an appropriate weight. Even if your pet doesn’t need to lose weight per se, any excess flab on your pet’s body can have a negative impact on the effectiveness of the insulin. This is why many pets with diabetes are placed on a weight management diet to help keep their blood glucose levels stable.
The main thing you’ll want to avoid is feeding your pet just any old table scraps or human foods. Foods that are high in fat should be avoided, as they’re more likely to wreak havoc on your pet’s blood sugar levels. Veterinarians usually recommend feeding a diet specifically formulated for pets.
Cats with diabetes are especially prone to gaining weight, so their meals can be smaller and more frequent to help prevent weight gain.
Next, it’s important that your pet gets plenty of exercise. A daily walk or session playing in the yard should do the trick. This will not only increase your pet’s activity level, it also helps to normalize their blood sugar levels.
Finally, you must be absolutely meticulous about monitoring your pet’s blood sugar levels. This is especially important in the beginning stages of treatment when your pet’s diabetes is first diagnosed. This will involve a fair bit of testing, but it’s essential to ensure that your pet’s body is responding properly to the insulin.
Some pets, especially cats, will be very resistant towards getting blood drawn. This is a natural response for many pets since they’re typically afraid of needles. It’s important to train your pet early on that these tests are not only a necessary part of treatment, but also something that should be looked forward to since they’re a sign that your pet gets to eat.
When you test your pet’s blood sugar levels, you’ll need to make sure that they haven’t eaten in at least 8 hours. Before drawing blood from your pet, you should be sure to have everything you need on hand. Most importantly, make sure you have something tasty for your pet to eat after the test.
While you’re waiting for the blood sugar results to come back, try to engage in some playtime or give them a small treat to look forward to later on.
Sticking your pet with a needle may be frightening for them the first few times, but over time they should learn to accept it as a routine that they can look forward to. Since you should be feeding your pet at around the same time each day, it’s a good idea to also test their blood sugar levels at around the same time each day too. This way, your pet will learn to associate having their blood drawn with eating and the treat that follows.
Insulin Injections for Pets
Many diabetic pets are placed on a regiment of insulin injections to help keep their blood sugar levels stable. In most cases, you can do these at home as long as you have the right equipment and learn how to properly give the shots. Your veterinarian will determine the right type and dosage of insulin based on your pet’s size and body type.
For cats, this is a bit more challenging since they’re often very resistant to getting shots. Most of the time, you can sneak these in while they’re eating since they tend to associate the needle with the food.
Monitoring Your Pet’s Blood Sugar at Home
It’s important to closely monitor your pet’s blood sugar levels at home. This will allow you to quickly notice if their levels are getting too high or too low since on the early stages of the disease, there may not be any physical symptoms. The most common way to test for this is by using a urine test strip which you can buy over-the-counter at your local pharmacy.
This is fairly easy to do and requires that you simply place the strip in a sample of your pet’s urine for 5 seconds. If the color on the strip changes, then your pet’s blood sugar levels are too high. If it doesn’t change at all, then your pet’s blood sugar levels are normal.
If the color gets darker, then your pet’s blood sugar levels are too low.
It’s very important to note any changes in your pet’s blood sugar levels and keep detailed notes on them so you can show them to your veterinarian on your next visit. The veterinarian may also ask you to change the types of food you’re feeding your pet or recommend a new treatment for your pet’s diabetes, such as a change in diet or additional medication.
Complementary Treatments for Pets With Diabetes
Since many pets and their owners adapt well to treatments like diet and exercise, many veterinarians also recommend complementary alternative therapies such as herbs and acupuncture to help manage the symptoms. As the disease progresses and symptoms worsen, your veterinarian may also recommend additional treatments such as insulin injections.
If you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s condition, make sure to discuss them with your veterinarian. Many pets lead happy and healthy lives with diabetes so as long as you’re committed to providing your pet with the care it needs, you should have no reason to worry.
Sources & references used in this article:
… uptake in muscle, visceral adipose tissue, and brain predict whole-body insulin resistance and may contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes: a combined PET … by GJ Boersma, E Johansson, MJ Pereira… – Hormone and …, 2018 – thieme-connect.com
In vivo imaging of insulin receptors by PET: preclinical evaluation of iodine-125 and iodine-124 labelled human insulin by P Iozzo, S Osman, M Glaser, M Knickmeier… – Nuclear medicine and …, 2002 – Elsevier
Myocardial glucose utilization and optimization of 18F-FDG PET imaging in patients with non–insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, coronary artery disease, and left … by GD Vitale, RA deKemp, TD Ruddy… – Journal of Nuclear …, 2001 – Soc Nuclear Med
Impact of blood glucose, diabetes, insulin, and obesity on standardized uptake values in tumors and healthy organs on 18F-FDG PET/CT by KA Büsing, SO Schönberg, J Brade… – Nuclear medicine and …, 2013 – Elsevier
Synthesis and in Vitro Evaluation of 18F- and 19F-Labeled Insulin: A New Radiotracer for PET-based Molecular Imaging Studies by KJ Guenther, S Yoganathan, R Garofalo… – Journal of medicinal …, 2006 – ACS Publications
Production of tilapia insulin-like growth factor-2 in high cell density cultures of recombinant Escherichia coli by SY Hu, JL Wu, JH Huang – Journal of biotechnology, 2004 – Elsevier