Diabetic Pets is an Epidemic

Diabetic Pets is an Epidemic
Weight and lifestyle are two interconnected contributing factors to the epidemic of diabetes in pets

Diabetes in pets is on the rise, some call it an epidemic. According to the Banfield State of Pet Health 2011 Report, since 2006 there's been a 32 percent increase in canine diabetes, and a 16 percent rise in diabetes in cats. "Likely those numbers are indeed higher, particularly in cats," says Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, chief medical officer at Banfield. "That because so many times pets with diabetes show no symptoms, or only very subtle symptoms, or owners don't know what to look  for."

In an effort to educate pet owners - November  is Pet Diabetes month.

This website, from Merk Animal Health offers:

- A pet diabetes check-list, common signs of diabetes in pets.

- A handout, "Could Your Dog or Cat Be Living With Diabetes" It includes a description of what diabetes mellitus is, and steps pet owners can take.

- A fun test to help diabetic pets, and to test your knowledge.

For those interested, a great resource is the Canine and Feline Diabetes site.

Included here are:

There are all kinds of numbers out there on pet obesity. According to one source, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 54 percent of America's pets are overweight or obese. According to the Banfield Sate of Pet Health 2012 Report, the prevalence of excess body weight has increased by 37 percent in dogs and a whopping 90 percent in cats since 2007. All of this is important because being overweight or obese is the greatest contributing factor to diabetes in pets.

If your pet is diagnosed, there's good news - in cats, with management (including weight loss, diet changes, increased exercise and good luck) many cats go into remission, and insulin might no longer be required. In cats and dogs, diabetes isn't a good thing - but it's also not a death sentence.




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    I find it interesting that nobody is making the connection between their diets and their situation. Can it really be all from feeding too much? Does the high carbohydrate content have really nothing at all to do with it? I doubt that. Truly. Particularly with dogs, most dog foods out there contain AT LEAST 50% energy from carbs. Some even 70%! Am I the only one seeing this? (Well, I know I'm not, my integrative dog nutrition course teacher is seeing this also)

  • I don't necessarily disagree, and that high carb diet may lead to weight gain also. . . having said that, there's no real science - at least not yet - to demonstrate that the carbs in diets solely cause diabetes mellitus. Do those extra carbs contribute, well, maybe....we know when it comes to contributing to weight gain, yes it can. Otherwise, despite conjuncture and angry people on the Internet - we don't really know.

  • In reply to Steve Dale:

    Hi Steve, I read the Banfield report several months ago now, and it just added weight to what I already knew, obesity is a serious problem with companion animals and many condition such as DM follow on from that. You say there is no science to prove if there is a link with diet, why does no one try to do a study into this issue, (outside the vet prof and pet food companies ). It is not wonder there are "angry people on the internet" as you put it, people are seeing their animals suffer and die, then they look into matters and wonder if it has something to do with what they fed their animals.The vets do not wont to know ( they sell the food and profit from doing this) either do to pet food makers. I do not think high carbs are solely to blame, but they do encourage weight gain. The sex of a cat ( male nut cats are prone to put weight on anyway) and the breed plus lifestyle can all play a part. But the food is the trigger, what we need is a programe of res which takes account of all the above points, and that rea needs to be done outside the vet prof and with no imput ( money, staff ) from the pet food companies. Meanwhile animals who can not speak for themselves are suffering, while money is made out of that suffering. If you do not ask the right questions in the first place we will never get the answers, but of course we do not have a problem do we ?

  • In reply to lind:

    Much much to discuss here....The sex of a cat isn't nearly as significant as whether the cats are spay/neutered. Those cats that are 'fixed' are FAR more likely to gain weight. I want spay/neuter, of course....So, there are many factors, and diet is only one. Yes, I'd like to see fewer carbs in cat foods (most anyway). But then many cats eat these diets with no weight gain. Yes, it's a factor for many cats (not all) but we don't know more than that....All the conjecture in the world is only conjecture. And assumptions. Our cats are not (hopefully) dying as a result of diabetes. If caught, it is treatable, and as I pointed out some cats (with changes in diet and more) can go into remission. The food is the trigger? Not sure how so many experts are unsure and yet you know. I never said, by the way, that we don't have a problem.

  • In reply to Steve Dale:

    Thank you for you comment. You are right you did not say we do not have a problem, but here in the UK many think that, mainly vets. I agree with you about a cat being "fixed" or not, but what I have read leads me to believe that male fixed cats are more prone to weight gain, I will look at that again, but any information you have would be intresting- thank you. I do think cats should be done, on welfare grounds. Our cats are not dying as a DIRECT result of obeisty and DM, but many even wilth treatment do not go into remission and unless it is caught very early then damage is already done to many organs just such as the pancre and heart. It is a treatable condition, but just in humans it is also a preventable condition. If the cat did not get fat it would not get obese and get DM. I agree with you about this all being conjecture, that is why we need a ind study done so that we can get some data and we can work out the science, as it stands we ( in the UK anyway) do not even know how many cats have DM or are obese. The problem with science is it depends on what you read and what the agenda is of the person who has done the res. But if you bring in the elements of common sense and reason ( as the RSPCA do at this point), we can say in this case that common sense and reason both show we have a problem with obesity and DM, and there is some science to support this, but we need more ind science. Manewhile are cats ARE cont to suffer and die, and we are the only voice they have. Thanks very much Steve.

  • have said that...should have added....for some cats (a significant number) when diabetes is caught reasonably early, diet is changed to higher protein and with exercise and weight loss - as I said in the post, diabetes may go into remission.

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    What about all the sugars in low priced "grocery store" type foods? I wonder if this plays a role too? Totally why I feed my pets a healthy, grain free diet.

  • Sugars in pet foods, not a great thing. I AGREE! But then I ingest most sugars than most - I love Halloween. Or the candy, anyway....Our pets likely (for most of us) eat better than us.

  • It is very difficult for the pet owners to diagnose diabetes in their pets. The Merk Animal health provides great information through which the pet owners will get adequate information about the pets diabetes.

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