Canine Diabetes Wiki
Novolin R

Novolin, a fast-acting insulin suitable for use as a bolus insulin.

This refers to the fast- or rapid-acting insulin diabetics use at mealtimes. Doing a curve on anyone will indicate how blood glucose levels rise after eating. This is called a post-prandial or post-meal spike; in humans, it commonly begins about 2 hours after food. The pancreas of a non-diabetic simply produces more insulin to handle the additional glucose.

But diabetics cannot and so some take an additional fast-acting or short-acting bolus insulin to manage the spike.

Bolus insulin can also be referred to as "mealtime" or "prandial" insulin because it is meant to handle the glucose increase from food. [1] Bolus differs from corrective insulin because it is part of the daily insulin routine--given slightly before or just after meals, depending on the insulin used.

Caregivers with pets that have strong post-prandial or post-meal spikes often manage those spikes better by using a Lente insulin instead of an insulin like NPH,  [2] being 30% semilente (a short-acting insulin) and 70% ultralente (a long-acting insulin), handles the spike with its short-acting semilente portion.

Some caregivers also manage post-meal spikes through changes in the pet's dietary regimen, for example by feeding several small meals during the day rather that a few large meals.

With dogs, opinions differ. Some caregivers use the methods above with success, others believe that a basal/bolus regime is safer and more effective for their dogs. Since dogs are more prone to cataracts and certain other complications of hyperglycemia, and in general have higher post-prandial spikes, it may be important to regulate them more tightly than cats.

For other uses of an extra, short-acting insulin in addition to use as a bolus, see corrective insulin. I16


  1. Your Insulin Therapy. American Family Physician (2004).
  2. Bruyette, David (2001). Diabetes Mellitus-Treatment Options-Lente Insulin & Post-Prandial Spikes. WSAVA.

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