With diabetes there is not enough production /or insufficient absorption of the insuline hormone. That is the difference between diabetes type 1 and type 2.

Type 1 is most common in dogs. The body produces insufficient insuline. When the bowels digest food, the food is being converted into buildings blocks the body can use. With this process, carbohydrates (a well known component in food) are being converted to sugars. The most important sugar is glucose. Glucose is used as fuel for the body. The body needs a specific hormone, the insuline hormone, to use the glucose. When there is an insuline deficiency , the body is not able to use the glucose as fuel. This leads to weight loss in the animal.

Type 2 is predominantly seen in cats. With this type of diabetes the body produces sufficient insuline, but the body’s cells have an inadequte response to it. Contrary to type 1 the body does produce insuline. Insuline is a hormone that enables glucose to be absorbed from the bloodsteam into the cells. Glucose is used as fuel for the body’s cells. With type 2 the cells are not able to absorb enough insuline, which can cause very high blood glucose levels. Type 2 is usually caused by obesity and too little exercise. The course of diabetes type 2 is usually a lot milder than that of diabetes type 1. Chinese herbal medicine uses the herbal formula Rehmannia type 2, this formula contains herbs that enable the body to adequately use the available insuline. So the body cells start using the glucose again.

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes usually occur very gradually. Sometimes so gradually that symptoms are not even noticed. Or the complaints are so minor that diabetes is not thought of as a cause. The diabetes can be present for months, even years, until the signs are so obvious , that diabetes becomes a possible diagnosis.


Insuline is produced in the pancreas. When the pancreas does not function properly, too little insuline is being produced. Chinese herbal medicine works directly on the pancreas,stimulating a higher production of insuline in the pancreas, thus optimizing the pancreas. Regular medicine supplements the shortage of insuline by injecting it on a daily basis. The pancreas is not being treated and this leads to further degeneration of the pancreas and in the long run more insuline needs to be supplemented.
In older dogs and neutered cats, type 1 occurs on a more than regular basis. However, it is also seen in young dogs and cats. Certain dog breeds have a higher than average number of diabetes.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

The following symptoms can occur with diabetes:

  • excessive drinking (thirst)
  • excessive urination
  • weight loss (hunger)/ weight gain
  • tiredness ( sleeping more)
  • drowsiness, weakness in rear legs
  • itching
  • diminishing eye sight, lenses appear white
  • infections; bladder infections, skin infections (furuncles and fungal infections)
  • depression, vomiting (acetone smelling breath)

Diagnosis diabetes

With type 1, the observed symptoms are usually immediately indicative of diabetes. But to get a definite diagnosis, blood/urine is tested for glucose levels. This contrary to type 2 diabetes, which develops gradually and symptoms are not instantly linked to diabetes. With type 2 blood/urine testing is also the method of diagnosis.

Regular treatment diabtes type 1

Administering insuline

Diabetes type 1 is caused by an insuline deficiency. This deficit needs to be supplemented at the same time every day Your vet can help you with this. It frequently occurs that daily injcetions of your pet grow more diffficult over time, especially with cats. The animal will become less cooperative. Animals are creatures of habit and because the insuline needs to be injected at the same time every day, they quickly “know” when that time is. Because is it not known how big the insuline deficiency is, the right dosage required needs to be determined. In other words, your pet needs to be regulated.

Regulating insuline

Based on the weight of your pet your vet will determine the amount of insuline that has to be injected.It is necessary that the blood glucose level is determined. Based on that, the amount of insuline injected will be regularly adjusted. When the right amount of insuline is determined, your pet will recover soon. It will be in good shape again and the excessive drinking and urination will stop. Regular check ups are necessary because the pancreas itself is not treated. Over time the insuline requirements ususally change and adjusting the amount is necessary. Insuline is a relatively safe remedy. But it can still have side effects. The most common and life threatening side effect is administering too much insuline, causing blood glucose levels to drop dangerously low, resulting in hypoglycemia. It is therefore very important that your pet’s daily dose of insuline is meticulously regulated. Especially with pets that resist blood testing, this can be very difficult. When opting for insuline treatment, it is absolutely necessary to do blood tests every 2 to 3 days. Less frequent side effects are; nettle rash, skin rash, allergic reactions, swelling around the joints.


A hypo occurs when too much insuline is injected. Usually there are signs that predict a hypo; seriously decreasing eye sight , tremors all over the body and eventually this can all lead to a coma. When you witness one of these symptoms, give some sugar immediately, e.g put some liquid honey in your pet’s mouth or dissolve some dextrose in a teaspoon of lukewarm water. The amount of glucose will increase and the symptoms will disappear. You have to prevent your pet from slipping into a coma.

Regular treatment type 2


When treating diabetes type 2 it is important that your pet loses weight. The goal being a normal body weight. Therefore, stimulating exercise is the most important requirement. This can be achieved by having your cat chase a toy. There are also toys where you can put food in and the cat has to strain itself to get at the food. After reaching an ideal body weight, maintaining that weight is really important. By losing weight, stamina improves, blood pressure is lowered and it has a beneficial effect on heart and muscles, which is a positive contribution. Exercising is also very beneficial when you decide to treat your pet with the Rehmannia type 2 formule.


Special low carb diet food is very important in treating diabetes. Vets usually have a variety of kibble available, but a lot of times cats don’t like eating it. You can just as well put your cat on a diet of fresh (raw) fish/meat.This will have the same results. For example you could give sardines/herring. Feed the fish whole. Feeding fresh (raw) fish/meat considerably reduces weight, which in turn improves diabetes management. It is also recommendable when you decide to treat your pet with the Rehmannia type 2 formula.

Glucose tablets

When food management with type 2 diabetes does not produce the desired result and blood glucose levels remain too high, tablets are prescribed. Decreasing body weight is a priority, but it is not always succesful. There are several types of tablets that can lower blood glucose levels. They work in different ways, ingredients that promote the working of insuline, ingredients that make the body cells more sensitive to insuline, ingredients that slow down the absorption of glucose into the bowel consequently decreasing the increase of blood glucose levels after a meal. The disadvantage of these tablets is that they treat symptoms, not the cause. When using tablets, exercise and weight management remain important.


The Rehmannia formulas type 1 and type 2 are used for several reasons:

  • treating the pancreas is preferred over daily supplementing the insuline hormone
  • injecting insuline on a daily basis creates more problems in the long term, because the animal increasingly resists the injections
  • regular testing of blood, at a vet or at home, will give more and more problems as the animal starts resisting
  • one does not succeed in adjusting the insuline to regulate blood glucose levels or there are too many side effects
  • to avoid the dangers of a hypo

Chinese herbal formulas Rehmannia type 1 and 2 stimulate the pancreas to produce insuline itself. Because of the Rehmannia you do not supplement insuline.

Applying Chinese herbal formula Rehmannia type 1 and type 2

Rehmannia type 1 and Rehmannia type 2 are different formulas with their own specific composition. Rehmannia type 1 consists of 14 Chinese herbs and Rehmannia type 2 consists of 18 Chinese herbs. The Rehmannia formula is mixed with food. It is divided over 2 to 3 meals a day. There is no risk of a hypo, so it does not need to be as accurate as the administration of insuline. When regular testing of blood glucose levels cannot be done, it is possible to monitor your pet’s drinking behaviour. This is not as accurate as a blood test, but because animals react relatively quick to the Rehmannia formula, it is common practice. After approximately 2-6 weeks the pancreas starts producing more insuline, after which the symptoms of excessive drinking , excessive urinating and abnormal eating patterns will change. After a while your pet will reach also reach its normal weight. The rehmannia formula can be used together with insuline. They do not interact in a negative way. It is however important to reduce the insuline after a couple of weeks. This can be done through self monitoring blood glucose levels or monitoring drinking behaviour. However, it is really important to stay alert for signs of a hypo. Rehmannia type 1 / 2 shoud usually be administered for 3-6 months.

Self monitoring

More and more dog and cat owners monitor their pet’s blood glucose levels themselves. For this purpose various simple devices are available. These devices can be purchased in pharmacies, as they are originally made for people. But our own research has shown that when used with animals the deviation in the glucose readings is negligible, so the devices can be used with pets without a problem. On the website you can find a survey of glucose meters you can use.

Research into possible causes diabetes

Dr. Lisa Landymore-Lim has researched the relation between prescription drugs and the development of diabetes. Her report is named: Diabetes: epidemic by prescription.

Medical literature describes a lot of clearly described cases where prescription drugs resulted in temporary or chronic insuline dependent diabetes. (Pharmocol Rev. 1970;2:485-518; Rheumatol, 1987, 14, 732/735)./
In the UK, the number of prescriptions per region was recorded. When comparing the regions, it appears that in regions where the number of precscriptions are twice as high as in other regions, the incidence of diabetes is also doubled. Results from a study conducted among babies and small children show that GP’s that are quick in prescribing antibiotics, have more children suffering from diabetes in their practice. One of the conclusions of the study is that there is a real chance that insuline dependent diabetes (type 1) as well as non insuline dependent diabetes are a result of exposure to certain chemical compounds in drugs. Of the following drugs it is known that they can cause diabetes: Dapsone (leprosy treatment), pentamidine-isethionate (pneumonia treatment), Zanosar (chemotherapy), diuretics, hydrochlorthiazide (pre-menstrual treatment), antihypertensives (treatment of high blood pressure), penicilline. The study was published in Medisch dossier March 2007. The website gives an overview of Dr. Landymore-Lim’s work.

TNO research into effectiveness Rehmannia herbs

After a 3 year study into the effect of Chinese herbal formulas used for treating diabetes type 2, Dr. Mei Wang and Prof. Dr. J. v.d. Greef concluded that there is a significant decrease in insuline dependency when using the Chinese herbal formula Rehmannia. In this study Rehmannia is referred to a s SUB885. On the basis of this outcome, TNO will conduct further research in order to gain a better understanding of how the Rehmannia formula works.

With this study TNO also concludes that with a sickness, regular medicine immediately wants to interfere by normalizing bodily functions, e.g in case of diabetes using insuline. It shows that in practice the body has great difficulty in handling such a complete and quick conversion. The study shows that Chinese herbal medicine has a more gradual approach, stimulating the self-healing ability of the body. This ability is not being stimulated when treating with insuline.

The study was published in Conceptuur July 2005.