DIABETES
May 23, 2011

Diabetes Rising In Dogs and Cats

Cats and dogs are developing diabetes in record numbers, just like their owners. Put those treats down.

We all know that obesity and type 2 diabetes are reaching epidemic proportions in American adults and children these days. But another demographic is experiencing a similarly steep rise in obesity-related diabetes: American cats and dogs.

The advice for prevention is the same for pets as it is for people. Banfield recommends feeding a healthy diet and keeping pets as active as possible to reduce the risk of obesity, and therefore, diabetes.

A new study carried out by the chain pet hospital Banfield analyzed data from over 2.5 million animals, and looked at the trends in obesity and diabetes across the species. It reports that in the last five years, obesity has climbed 32% in dogs and 16% in cats. (By comparison, human diabetes has risen by 28% in the last five years.) Banfield notes that although the rise in cats is less dramatic, that's only because diabetes is so much more common in cats. In fact, the study found that the incidence of diabetes in dogs is now 17.5 in 10,000 vs. 64.3 cases of diabetes in 10,000 cats.

According to the Cornell Veterinary School website, diabetes is more likely to occur in older, obese cats. It strikes male cats slightly more often than female cats. The most common signs are "ravenous appetite, weight loss, increased urination, and increased water consumption." In dogs, females are diagnosed about twice as often as males, according to the Merck Veterinary website, and the warning signs are similar. Certain breeds like Miniature Poodles, Dachshunds, Schnauzers, Cairn Terriers, and Beagles are more likely to be affected, but it can occur in any breed.

The advice for prevention is similar for pets as it is for people. Banfield recommends feeding a healthy diet and keeping pets as active as possible to reduce the risk of obesity, and therefore, diabetes. Taking your pet to the vet to get a complete check-up twice a year is also important in keeping them healthy, and to nip any potential health problems in the bud as early as possible. And research shows that walking with your dog is not only good for him or her, but it’s good for your health, too — in some cases, pets can be better trainers than people!

The Banfield Pet Hospital headquarters are located in Portland, OR.

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