Insulinomas in Dogs and Cats

Common info

Insulinomas are functional tumors of the beta cells of the pancreas. A functional tumor normally produces insulin and other hormones; Although insulin has several effects on the body; its major function is controlling blood sugar levels. The dogs having insulinomas will have excessive insulin secretion, causing their blood sugar levels to be low (hypoglycemia). The symptoms commonly found in insulinomas in dogs and cats include syncope, seizure, severe weakness, and neurological disorder, etc.


Although the cause of insulinoma in dogs and cats is still unknown, it believed that genetic factor plays an important role in initiating the condition.


The primary function of the beta cells is to produce and release insulin in response to the increase of blood sugar level, making it properly matched with the body’s requirement. The development of tumors will cause the beta cells to secrete insulin abnormally. 


  • Syncope
  • Seizures
  • Severe weakness
  • Neurological disorder

The symptoms commonly found in insulinoma in dogs and cats include syncope, seizure, severe weakness or neurological disorder. Because insulin secretion is in cycles, the symptoms will be on and off and cannot be predictable.

Treatment and Prevention

The primary treatment of insulinoma is surgical removal of the tumor. Parts of the pancreas and spleen will remove. In case the affected pet cannot take a surgery according to the veterinarian’s diagnosis, medications may prescribe instead. Prednisolone, which belongs to the corticosteroid drug class, is normally prescribed as it will stimulate glucose production. Other medicines include Diazoxide, Octreotide, and Glucagon; along with chemotherapy, such as Streptozocin, etc. Diet is also important. The infected pet should eat little by little, the low-sugar food that is well balanced between protein and carbohydrate, in an appropriate portion.

  1. Wikipedia | Insulinoma
  2. Wagwalking | Insulinoma
  3. Honestdocs | Insulinoma in dogs
  4. Petmd | Pancreatic Cancer (Insulinoma) in Dogs
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