The 2018 AAHA Diabetes Management Guidelines get an update

AAHA recently updated the 2018 AAHA Diabetes Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats. Here’s a quick look at what’s changed—and what hasn’t.


AAHA recently updated the 2018 AAHA Diabetes Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats. Here’s a quick look at what’s changed—and what hasn’t.

The 2018 AAHA Diabetes Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats revised and updated earlier guidelines published in 2010. The 2018 guidelines retained much of the information in the earlier guidelines that continues to be applicable in clinical practice, and the 2022 update includes new information that represents current expert opinion on controlling diabetes mellitus (DM).

NEWStat reached out to Diabetes Management Guidelines Task Force cochair Renee Rucinsky, DVM, DABVP(F), to find out more.

Rucinsky, vice president of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners and medical director at AAHA-accredited Mid Atlantic Cat Hospital in Queenstown, Maryland, said there are two main changes in the updated guidelines: “ProZinc insulin has been [FDA] approved for once-daily use in diabetic dogs,” she said, but added that the task force still stands by the original insulin choice recommendations.  “The other update is the inclusion of monitoring with continuous glucose monitoring (CGM)  systems.”   

Rucinsky is particularly excited about the CGM

“Without a doubt, the ability to use continuous glucose monitors in our patients has contributed greatly to the way we make decisions on diabetic management,” she said. “It not only gives the managing veterinarian information that wouldn’t be available otherwise, but it gives the owner more confidence in how things are going, instead of trying to get blood samples for glucometer testing, or having no blood glucose information at all.”

Rucinsky believes that the philosophy of diabetes management in pets has changed in recent years, and that the updated guidelines reflect this.

“The updates continue to show that there’s more than one way to monitor a diabetic pet, and that one standard perfect diabetic management plan may not really exist.” She lists some variables that contribute to that, such as the client’s abilities and schedule, the pet’s temperament, and all sorts of other things that require the veterinary team to be able to be flexible. “The addition of CGM provides yet another tool in the diabetes arsenal and solidifies the sentiment that we can individualize treatment plans for each diabetic pet.”

Perhaps most importantly, Rucinsky believes the updates to the Diabetes Management Guidelines can help AAHA-member hospitals practice better medicine: “These updated guidelines, along with all of the AAHA guidelines, can help member hospitals continue to provide the best possible care for their patients, and provide a resource for team members to gain knowledge and confidence when speaking with clients,” she said.

“The Diabetes Guidelines in particular are useful for showing that there are several tools that can be used to manage diabetic pets, and will help tailor the management for each individual patient,” she added. “The days of hospitalizing a cat for the day for a blood glucose curve are over—I hope!” 

Find out more about continuous glucose monitoring and other updates to best practices in diabetes management. Check out the updated 2018 AAHA Diabetes Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats.

Photo credit: © Gemalbarra/iStock/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

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