Pork Animal Insulin--Available

I read a thread about a month ago about pork insulin no longer being available in the US & how expensive it is to get from Canada. Personally, I’d rather take insulin in a more natural form.

www.1800petmeds.com sells Vetsulin on-line with an Rx–$32.99 + shipping 10 ml vial. Not sure if they really hold to the 30 minimum mentioned below because what dog owner is going to buy 30 vials at once?

From their site:

Vetsulin (porcine insulin zinc suspension) is the first and only FDA-approved insulin available in the USA for treating diabetic dogs. Vetsulin controls levels of glucose in the blood to help alleviate diabetic symptoms.
Used with U-40 insulin syringes sold separately
Insulin requires refrigeration

Minimum quantity for the selected item is 30. Vetsulin Dog Insulin (porcine insulin zinc suspension) 40-u/ml 10ml Vial #10764 $32.99 .

Of course, there’s a disclaimer that this isn’t for human use, but does anyone know if this is safe?

I’d really appreciate hearing from anyone who’s used pork insulin to get an idea about dosing, units, etc. I use Apidra now & Lantus.


I really can’t tell you wheather it’s safe or not but back when I first started taking insulin (in 73) that’s what was out there. I am now on humalog. Please let me know what you find out. I don’t know about the other’s here but my diabetes seemed more in control then of course I’m 45 now so I really don’t remember that much about it!!

I’ll let you know what I find out, if it’s not posted here. Haven’t done much research yet, but it seems that people reported greater control with natural insulin on the few threads I’ve read & were bemoaning it’s unavailability. My nice vet would write me an Rx, or maybe they would accept a prescription from an MD. Sure my doctor will be rolling his eyes, but I’ve gotten use to this lately:)

HA! Me too! Those Drs love that one don’t they??? HA!! Thank you so much for the info…I may have my Dr rolling his eyes really soon!!!

I can’t tell you anything about using pork insulin designed for animal use unfortunately, but I’ve been using pork insulin ever since I was diagnosed back in 1979. I’m lucky enough to live in the UK where it’s still available on prescription (for free on the NHS) and have no wish to change to anything else since I’ve got great control on it (last HBA1c was 5.4!) and have had no complications in nearly 30 years of having Type 1. It’s a real shame that people in other countries have to resort to looking at insulin designed for animal use because their governments are ignoring the wishes of people like you who want to try using pork insulin.
Sorry I couldn’t be more useful but that’s my two penneth!!

You would have to remember that because there are 40 units per ml, not the 100 that your current insulin contains, your syringes would not be dispensing the same amount of insulin when you injected a unit.

The other issue is that pork insulin will cause your body to produce more antibodies. This slows down the action of the insulin–which is why some people like it. But the timing of the insulin would be very unpredictable as it would be bound by antibodies and then released at some time you might not be able to predict. It is slower than R insulin, which means it could be 2 hours or longer until it starts and 5 hours until it is over. You would have to test very carefully to determine how it worked in your own body, as that might depend on your own immune system response.

You might also develop allergic reactions to the animal insulin.

Though there are people who are enthusiastic about animal insulins, there are others who were not, because of the allergic issues and unpredictability. I heard Dr. Bernstein discuss it and he was not enthusiastic about the animal insulins for those reasons.

If you want something more natural, you might try the R insulin (novolin or humulin R) which is a molecule identical to the human molecule. It too is much slower in action than Apidra (all other insulins are MUCH slower than Apidra, but that is why I really like Apidra.). You would have to inject the R insulin 45 minutes to 1 hour before eating and then expect it to last for 3-5 hours.

Thanks, Jenny. You are a wonderful source of info! Appreciate you sharing your knowledge.

Wow, congratulations on your fantastic A1c!

Aah yes, US government ignores the wishes of the people on so many levels.

Jenny is right about the insulin potency being U-40, and you will need to adjust dosages accordingly (if you use a U-40 syringe there’s still conversion required – just remember that U-100 is 2.5 times as potent as U-40). Dose conversion is more of a mathematical calculation, but you may wish to error on the side of caution and use slightly less until you know how its response will be for yourself. As for Vetsulin (which is also sold under the brand name Caninsulin), keep in mind that is insulin zinc suspension, which is more commonly known as Lente insulin (which is itself made from a combination of Semilente and Ultralente) which is a medium-range insulin in terms of time-activity profile. It is/was indeed superior to NPH (at least if you believe the medical journals) for a host of reasons, but it will not replace a short-acting insulin for meal coverage. You can buy (without a prescription) porcine Regular insulin made by Wockhardt in the United Kingdom from a Canadian pharmacy online. One source for that is

My understanding is you still need a veterinarian to prescribe it, so its not exactly an over-the-counter medicine as the old Lilly Iletin II Porcine L(ente) insulin was.

As for safety, the product you’re asking about is manufactured by Schering-Plough (an American-based pharmaceutical company based in New Jersey) in the Netherlands. To be FDA-approved (which Schering-Plough’s Diosynth and Organon units both are), they must still pass all FDA-mandated requirements, and the manufacturing process does not differ in terms of purification for ALL insulin (both animal-sourced or biosynthetic) regardless of whether it is marketed for human or animal use. All insulin, whether it is biosynthetic or animal-sourced, goes through a a 14 stage high pressure liquid chromatography process (HPLC) which ensures its purity, which is exactly the same regardless of species of insulin.

As for the allergic responses, realize that porcine insulin differs from human by a single amino acid, and that is actually more similar to “human” insulin than Lantus is, which differs from human insulin by 3 amino acids, or Novolog and Apidra which differ from human insulin by 2 amino acids. As noted, the HPLC purification process ensures purity of 99%. Most reports of allergic reactions occurred prior to the late 1970’s when HPLC purification processes were developed. Many people had more problems with bovine insulin, although realize that the percentage of allergic reactions according to the clinical literature indicates about 5% with porcine, and 4% for human, which is not a statistically significant difference.

Good luck with your trial and keep us posted on your experience!

It’s also no bargain. Since it’s U40, it contains only 40 units of insulin per ml. That’s 400u total per vial vs. 1000 units in human insulins. To get 1,000 units of the veterinary pork insulin you’d end up paying over $80.


Greatly appreciate all this info.

I thought that pork insulin could replace my Apidra, providing I took it enough ahead of meals. Of course, that may be tricky some days & it wouldn’t help if I had to correct a really high high. Thankfully, I’ve been avoiding super highs by eating low carb.

It will definitely take some experimenting. Trying to figure out if I’m this brave! Also trying to figure out how this effect taking my Lantus.

Will keep everyone updated if I go this route.


Good point, Liz–thanks. I wasn’t calculating the cost given the difference in potencies.

I have a friend who’s a vet. Perhaps she could get this for me at directly from a veterinary pharm source that should be significantly less than ordering retail from one of the on-line pet supply places like Pet meds.

Jenny, I have to interject here sorry.! I’m one of the ppl here who cannnot take R in any form. After many lows my dr and I figured out what was going on…I’m allergic to Regular insulin! It drops me WAY to fast so I have had to use NPH in my pump for over 15 years now . I can’t do Apidra either it too works way way to fast for me!!!


It sounds like you missed the point that Scott made that the animal insulin is LENTE.

That means it would, if anything, replace NPH. NOT a fast acting insulin.

It would take 2 or 3 hours to kick in and never be enough to cover a meal unless you used so much that you might hypo.

Forget the whole idea.

If you are using Apidra and having problems, why not ask your doctor to move you to a slower “fast acting” like Novolog?

Thank you, Jenny. Grateful for your help! Apidra does seem work a bit too fast for me.

Hi, just wanted to ask what type of regime you are on with the pork/porcine insulin. I began on Pork mixtard 30/70 age 14 ( when first diagnosed) and remained on that until about 5 years ago when I tried the new generation of insulin, Novo Rapid & Lantus, I had a terrible time on it, and didnt get on well with it ( plus cos of totally different regime - 4 injections aday as apose to 2). I had terrible irratic sugars levels, drastic and sharp highs and lows, and the worst hypos Id ever experienced in my whole years of being a diabetic, a considerable number of which paramedics had to be called out. I also lost the warning signs of hypos, felt generally unwell, memory got worse, couldnt think straight or focus/concentrate most the time. After the 4-5 years of being on it I decided enough was enough, something was not working or right for me, despite all attempts to get a control of it, and so have now changed back on to Hypurin Porcine 30/70 mix ( 2 injections a day). This is supposed to be the same as what I was on before, of which for all those years I was on it, I had very good overall control. Ive been back on the pork for about a week, but it seems to be taking much longer than I remember to act and kick in. Maybe Ive not got the dose adjusted correctly for me as yet. Im just interested to hear from other pork users. I must say tho that despite my sugars being a tab bit high at times whilst Im doing the swap over, I feel so much better in general since changing back. I agree its terrible that persons in other countries, are having problems getting the animal insulin. I think its disgusting.