Diabetes in Pets
long-acting Bovine 90% Porcine 10%[1]
U40 protamine
Also known as formerly Blue Ridge PZI, IDEXX PZI
Similar to other PZI formulations
Action in cats  
  • onset 1-4h[2],
  • peak 4-7h (within 9 h for 80% treated as per Nelson)[3]
  • duration 9-10h
Action in dogs  
  • onset 1-4h,
  • peak 4-14h,
  • duration 6-28h-rarely used[4][5]
Use and Handling
Type cloudy
Shelf Life 36 months
When opened XX days
In pen N/A

IDEXX Laboratories manufactured a PZI insulin under the trademarked name PZI Vet[6]. PZI Vet is commonly used in diabetic cats in the U.S.

Some compounding pharmacies may refer to their PZI insulins as PZI Vet, but you aren't using PZI Vet unless it was made by IDEXX Labs.

Technical details

PZI Vet was a 90% beef, 10% pork insulin[7].PZI Vet was absolutely identical to the old Eli Lilly Iletin I beef/pork PZI insulin,in everything but the strength. Blue Ridge purchased the patent rights for it from Lilly[8]. Its duration was similar to that of BCP PZI.

Before IDEXX purchased Blue Ridge Pharmaceuticals and re-named the insulin as PZI Vet, this study showing efficacy was done[9].

PZI Vet came in U40 strength only. You used U40 syringes or used U100 syringes and the conversion table at the link below[10].

The IDEXX Internet site says PZI Vet was good for three years after date of manufacture. You may have found that you used your vial in much less than three years.

Usage and handling

PZI Vet package insert[11].

It is not advised to dilute or combine PZI Vet with other insulins.

Refrigerate PZI Vet when not in use. It should not lose effectiveness if accidentally left out as long as not in direct sunlight or heat. However, watch for signs of decreased effectiveness (higher blood glucose levels) just in case.

No Combining For PZI

Protamine Zinc PZI[12] insulin cannot be combined with other insulins, due to the amount of protamine in the insulin's formula[13][14][15].

Obtaining PZI Vet

PZI Vet is unfortunately being discontinued.

April 8, 2008

Dear Concerned Cat Owner,

Recently there have been some developments regarding the availability of PZI VET® (protamine zinc 
insulin), and I wanted to update you on the situation because it may impact your diabetic cat. You
may know that PZI VET is derived from bovine and porcine pancreatic glands, and unfortunately, the 
supply of our original raw material has been exhausted. As there are no FDA approved facilities for
harvesting bovine pancreatic tissue, we have determined after extensive study that further 
production of animal source insulins is not practical in a modern manufacturing environment.

Therefore, following the sale of our existing inventory, IDEXX will no longer manufacture or sell 
any animal-based insulin. We are currently in the process of notifying veterinarians who prescribe 
PZI-VET of the situation. As of April 1, 2008, there was a considerable inventory in distribution,
so please consult with your own veterinarian on the best course of action for your cat.

We appreciate that feline diabetes is a chronic condition requiring ongoing treatment and 
Accordingly, IDEXX remains committed to the treatment of this disease. We are working diligently to
develop and bring to market a new insulin product for the treatment of diabetes in cats.


Cynthia Cole DVM, PhD, DACVCP
Manager, Professional Services Group
IDEXX Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Boehringer Ingelheim purchased PZIVet from IDEXX November 11, 2008.[16]

Quoting from BI's website:[17]

"As of November 20, 2008 Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., (BIVI) has assumed the responsibility of providing technical support for PZI VET® (Protamine Zinc Insulin) from Idexx Pharmaceuticals, Inc."

"A considerable supply of PZI VET is currently available. Please check with your BIVI authorized distributor to make a purchase. If your preferred distributor is out of stock, please contact 866-638-2226 for a list of available distributors."

In past here's how it worked: You get PZI Vet from your vet, or with a prescription from your vet, you can order from an online pet pharmacy such as Drfostersmith.com[18]. See also the felinediabetes.com list of PZI sources at the link below[19].

If you are in Canada, your vet may be able to obtain PZI Vet for you through Health Canada's Emergency Drug Release program[20]. With it, you are able to receive up to 6 months worth of insulin; a C$ 50.00 fee for the application is required [21]. If permitted, you would then be eligible to import PZI insulins such as PZI Vet.

The program is similar to Health Canada's Special Access Programme [22] for importing necessary drugs for people.

Some vets marked up the cost of PZI Vet to make a large profit. A reasonable price was around $90 US.

Further Reading