Vetsulin Vs. Novolin

Publish On Type 1 Diabetes By Sandra Wilson


Diabetes is not a human-specific metabolic disorder. Even animals, including our beloved pet cats and dogs, are prone to this disease. While the aim in treating both humans and pets is to maintain optimal blood glucose levels, the drugs used are often not the same.

What is Vetsulin?

Vetsulin is a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved form of insulin that is used to treat diabetes in cats and dogs. It contains porcine (derived from pig) insulin suspended in a sterile solution of zinc. It is for subcutaneous injection only.

Vetsulin is available in vials and disposable pens (Vetpen). For vials, a U-40 syringe is a must to deliver an accurate dose. Vetsulin cartridges are used with VetPen and 29G/12mm pen needles.

Initial dosage:

  • Dogs – 0.5 IU insulin per kg of bodyweight immediately after a meal or with a meal
  • Cats – 1 or 2 IU per injection twice daily with 12-hour intervals. You can give it during or after the meal.

If your pet is allergic to Vetsulin, stop using it immediately. Do not use this drug if your pet has hypoglycemia. Studies have indicated that there is hypoglycemia occurs frequently after a dose of Vetsulin. While most of the symptoms were mild, some of them ranged from serious to fatal.

Always ensure that you regularly monitor the blood glucose levels of your pet. Any signs of hypoglycemia must be treated immediately.

What is Novolin?

Novolin can be used to treat diabetes mellitus in adults and children. Novolin is a human-made form of insulin with an intermediate duration of action. It begins to act one to two hours of injection and will work for up to 24 hours. The injectable suspension of 100 units per mL is available as a 10 mL vial for multiple doses and a 3 mL Novolin N FlexPen.

If there is a previous or current episode of hypoglycemia, refrain from using Novolin. Any systemic allergies due to Novolin need immediate medical attention.

Common side effects such as injection site reactions, skin thickening at the injection site, weight gain, and swelling in the hands or feet can occur.

Difference between Vestulin and Novolin

The primary difference is that Vetsulin is for veterinary use, whereas Novolin is used for humans. While Novolin can be used for cats and dogs, its veterinary application is not approved yet. As each type of insulin is formulated with different concentrations, their potency will be different.

Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this community article are strictly for informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. This article, and other community articles, are not written or reviewed for medical validity by Canadian Insulin or its staff. All views and opinions expressed by the contributing authors are not endorsed by Canadian Insulin. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.