"How much will this cost to treat?" This is one of the questions often asked by a caregiver with a newly diagnosed diabetic pet.

The answer depends, of course, on the level of care one intends to give the animal. Less care means less cost. If all one intends to do is administer insulin and nothing else, there is only the cost of the insulin (which varies by type) and the syringes or insulin pen.

Caregivers may be instructed by the veterinarian to leave the animal in their care for a few days, up to a week, to allow the animal to be "regulated" on a proper dose of insulin. That may cost $100 to $200 a day (US dollars and US price levels). The vet then may want the animal returned every month for a glucose curve; another $150 perhaps. Many caregivers feel these are unnecessary expenses because an animal rarely can be regulated in such a short period of time and the stress associated with the clinic stay can lead to atypical blood glucose readings. Those costs can be significantly lowered if the caregiver hometests blood glucose levels.

Typical costsEdit

Here are some typical costs in US dollars at US price levels for the most common supplies:

BCP PZI insulin, 10ML U40, $40

This vial contains 400 units of insulin and if the caregiver gives 2U BID, the vial will provide shots for 100 days. Therefore, this insulin at this dosage costs ~$12/month.

Syringes, box of 100 U100, $15 to $25

With BID shots, this box will last 50 days. Monthly costs: $9.50 to $15.50

One Touch Ultra Glucometer, $0 to $70, depending on source, sales, rebates, and "package deals" with test strips

The glucometer, regardless of the brand or style, is not a significant cost because of the plethora of sales, rebates, and package deals. This is generally considered to be a one-time cost. However, you should have a back-up meter in case there is a problem with your "primary" meter failing.

One Touch Ultra test strips, ~$.76/strip

If you test 4 times a day (two preshot tests and two spot check tests), and do a 24 hour curve once a month (a total of 128 tests a month), these strips would cost you about $100/month. There are cheaper strips. For example, strips for the True Track Smart System are ~$.42 a strip.

Lancets, box of 100, $3 to $8

Some people use lancets more than once, but if you use a fresh lancet for each blood test, and test 128 times a month, your monthly cost is around $7.

Urine testing stix, $8 to $20 for a vial of 100

You may change your pet to a low-carb diet. The incremental cost (or savings) of that diet depends on how much the animal eats and its previous diet. Fancy Feast, a commercial canned food used by many caregivers with diabetic cats, costs $.40 to $.55 for a 3 oz. can, depending on source and sales.

Cost savings and couponsEdit

Some Internet pharmacies offer deals on supplies and shipping. For example,[1] gives free shipping on orders over $79 and highlights deals on meters and test strips.

Some caregivers purchase glucometer test strips and other diabetic supplies on eBay[2], a multinational online marketplace.

You can call the toll free phone numbers of supply manufacturers to ask about rebate deals and coupons. For example, BD will supply $2 off coupon on syringes. Internet pharmacies often honor those coupons.

Once a week, on Sunday, there is a post by Debra & Care Bear on the Feline Diabetes Message Board's Health Board[3] about diabetic care specials in the the Sunday advertising supplements and from other sources.

Frugal Feline Diabetes is a paper which gives ideas and tips on cutting diabetes costs[4].

OTC Wholesale[5] offers Sure Comfort insulin syringes in 1/2 cc size, with choice of either 29 or 30 gauge 1/2" needle. A box of 100 is only $11.50 plus shipping. They also offer generic testing strips for One Touch Basic, One Touch II and Profile glucometers[6].

Pet InsuranceEdit

If you have a health insurance plan for your pet, it's possible that some of the diabetes expenses may be covered[7][8]

Financial assistanceEdit

Some people on the Feline Diabetes Message Board[9] will contribute supplies to those in need. If you have a need, join the Board and post a request on the Supply Closet forum[10].

Care Credit[11] offers no interest and extended payment plans for medical treatment fees (including veterinary fees) at participating providers.[12], an Internet-based animal welfare organization, offers financial assistance in certain sitations.

The Muffin Pet Diabetes Group[13] offers some financial help and donated supplies, in addition to their e-mail support group. New members are welcome.

Animal Care Foundation of Colorado[14] offers reduced cost specialty medical services through their Gratis Medicine[15] program.

Additional conditions and treatmentsEdit

It is not unusual for diabetic animals to require medical treatment for hypoglycemia or ketoacidosis. Those conditions can require expensive (thousands of dollars) multi-day stays at an 24-hour emergency care facility. Avoiding high and low blood sugar using plenty of hometesting can help prevent these hospital visits.

Diabetic animals may develop other conditions, such as pancreatitis or a urinary tract infection, more easily than would a non-diabetic animal. Treatment for those conditions would involve costs for veterinary care and medications.

Further ReadingEdit





  1. Website
  2. eBay Homepage
  3. Feline Diabetes Message Board's Health Board
  4. "Frugal Feline Diabetes"
  5. OTC Wholesale Website
  6. OTC Wholesale--Generic Glucometer Test Strips
  7. BD Diabetes-FAQ's About Feline Diabetes
  8. BD Diabetes--FAQ's About Canine Diabetes
  9. Feline Diabetes Message Board
  10. FDMB "Supply Closet" forum
  11. Care Credit Website
  12. Website
  13. Muffin Pet Diabetes Group Website
  14. Animal Care Foundation of Colorado Website
  15. Gratis Medicine
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