Canine Diabetes Wiki
Dm 004a

The pancreas has 2 separate sections: the exocrine deals with digestion--the endocrine produces insulin in its Beta cells and glucagon in its Alpha cells.


Adrenal Gland: The cortex, or outer area (shown at right), produces cortisol or cortisone; the center or medulla area (shown at left), produces adrenalin or epinephrine.

Counter-regulatory hormones have opposing effects to the actions of insulin. Where insulin, endogenous or exogenous, lowers blood glucose, one effect of these counter-regulatory hormones is to raise it. [1]

Cortisol, growth hormone, adrenalin AKA epinephrine, (this one can also be referred to as a catecholamine) [2] glucagon, progesterone and thyroid hormone are considered counter-regulatory hormones [3] as far as diabetes and blood glucose levels are concerned.

They need just as much consideration as insulin, because changes in their bloodstream levels, can mean a possible interference with insulin, or a need for more of it.

These changes can occur normally within the body to supply extra fuel when needed, as symptoms of a disease state, or as a result of other medications, such as steroids.
The counter-regulatory hormones adrenalin/epinephrine, glucagon and cortisol/cortisone are released to provide extra energy to the body in various circumstances, or if the body believes it's threatened with hypoglycemia. In some cases this is part of the body's "self-defense" mechanism to counter the effects of too much insulin. [4]

Some medical literature describes any of these hormones as an insulin antagonist--this is because of their ability to counter its blood glucose lowering effects.

The following table lists counter-regulatory hormones in roughly the order you're likely to encounter them in your diabetes research:


  1. Insulin Control-Insulin Resistance. Intervet.
  2. Blood Glucose. Cornell University.
  3. Counter-Regulatory Hormones.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Lim, C. N., et. al.. Cortisol Response to Hypoglycemia. AAPS Journal.
  5. Glucagon. College of Veterinary Medicine-Colorado State.
  6. Pancreas. Merck Veterinary Manual.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Adrenal Steroids. College of Veterinary Medicine-Colorado State. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Adrenal" defined multiple times with different content
  8. Adrenal Steroids-Mineralcorticoids. College of Veterinary Medicine-Colorado State.
  9. Adrenal Steroids-Mineralcorticoids. College of Veterinary Medicine-Colorado State.
  10. Adrenal Cortex Overview. Merck Veterinary Manual.
  11. Hyperadrenocorticism-Cushing's Disease. Merck Veterinary Manual.
  12. Hypoadrenocortisicm-Addison's Disease. Merck Veterinary Manual.
  13. Adrenal Medullary Hormones--Epinephrine. College of Veterinary Medicine Colorado State.
  14. Counterregulatory Hormones-Epinephrine. Diabetes Self Management.
  15. Adrenal Medulla. Merck Veterinary Manual.
  16. Nelson, Richard (2006). Unusual Endocrine Disorders in Dogs & Cats-Page 44. OSU Endocrinology Symposium.
  17. Nussey, SS, Whitehead, SA (2001). Endocrinology-an Integrated Approach. National Institutes of Health.
  18. Physiologic Effects of Thyroid Hormone. School of Veterinary Medicine-Colorado State.
  19. Thyroid Gland Introduction. Merck Veterinary Manual.
  20. Hyperthyroidism. Merck Veterinary Manual.
  21. Hypothyroidism. Merck Veterinary Manual.
  22. Somatotropin/Growth Hormone. College of Veterinary Medicine-Colorado State.
  23. Adenohypophysis-Anterior Pituitary. Merck Veterinary Manual.
  24. Feline Acromegaly. Merck Veterinary Manual.
  25. Hormonal Therapy. Merck Veterinary Manual-Hormonal Therapy.
  26. Brooks, Wendy C.. Explanation of Progesterone's Functions. Veterinary Partner.

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