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Budgeting and Saving Money on Diabetic Kitty Care (Without Sacrificing Quality)

Posted by Melissa for PetTest on Nov 14th 2019

Budgeting and Saving Money on Diabetic Kitty Care (Without Sacrificing Quality)

I will be honest. I love all my fur babies and will do what is best for them, of course, but I am always going to do my homework when it comes to cost versus benefits.

Insulin: The American Animal Hospital Association Health Guidelines recommend the insulin glargine (Lantus) or detemir (Levemir) for cats. These are longer-acting insulins, and accordingly, give the best chance of remission in six months along with dietary adjustment. Be aware, however, the longer the cat has been diabetic, the longer and more difficult it can be to reach remission. Vetsulin and Novolin are short-acting insulins, and while Novolin is super cheap, neither Vetsulin or Novolin is recommended for feline diabetes. That being said, I was pricing out Lantus and Levemir and the sticker shock was MAJOR. As there is no generic of either, well, what’s fur parent to do?

Oh, Canada! Lantus and Levemir are about a third of the cost in the US. My personal experience has only been with Mark’s Marine Pharmacy. You can actually call and talk with a real person – an actual pharmacist, and they are so nice. I use them for drugs not covered on my insurance plan or those that are cheaper than my copay. We are talking a discount from around $300 to about $170 depending on how much you get.

If this is not for you, Lantus does have a savings card and the Feline Diabetic Support Group on FB has instructions on filling out the request form. (I signed up in a little under 3 minutes and received my card instantly). This will get you down to $99 for in vial or pen form. A vial holds 1000 ml and if refrigerated will last 6 months. The pens cost $10 to $20 more but each pen holds 300 units and can be used to the last drop. The pens will still require the use of syringes as we need to keep our insulin in the refrigerator as the injector part of the pen can misfire. The advantage of pens over a vial is if ya lose it or break it, the pens come in packs, and you will end up wasting more using vials simply because you are unlikely to use 1000 units in 6 months’ time.

Syringes: Regardless of pens or vials, you need diabetic syringes. These are AWESOME. This is the one time you want the size number to be larger! The higher the gauge the smaller the needle diameter. The Birmingham gauge is the standard of measure for hypodermic needles and other tubular wires. I have used 29 through 31 on myself. The 31 is virtually unfelt and is my personal favorite. **Recommendation** Get the needle that matches your insulin (U-100 insulin = U-100 syringe). If you accidentally order the wrong one, it is okay, you will just have to do some conversion math. TIPS: U-100 are orange capped syringes, while U-40s are red. You can pick up some U-100 31 gauge needles here as the recommended insulin for feline diabetes is U-100.

Lancets: These are for doing the ear pokey and placing into your meter for a blood glucose reading. These also come in gauges, and we want a bigger number for kitty’s smaller thinner ears. These come in a variety of sizes and prices, and you can check them out here.

Test strips: These run about $1 per strip or so. These things go through all kinds of quality testing, treatment processes, and sterilization, which explains the cost. You can find those here, and feel free to use promo code FDSGFALLSAVINGS for 30% off the total!

If you have a newly diagnosed kitty, and the choice of supplies is just overwhelming, a starter kit can help. As you replace supplies you can decide on changes in lancet size, amount of test strips, etc. This kit does NOT contain syringes or insulin.

Now that I have overwhelmed you with information, you can take a breather.

Next week, we will talk about how to handle the holidays for diabetic kitty who is used to getting table food.