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What You Need to Know About Diabetes and Pets

Dana Varble, Photo: Courtesy of Jenny May Stringer

Have you noticed your pet drinking water more often than they used to? Diabetes might be to blame! In fact, diabetes is on the rise among pets, even more so than in humans.

Over half a million cats and dogs are diagnosed with diabetes each year. While diabetes is nearly three times more common in cats than dogs, cases of canine diabetes increased by nearly 80 percent between 2006 and 2015.

Early detection and prevention are the key to conquering this disease. That means regular trips to the veterinarian, especially if you are seeing any of the early warning signs of diabetes such as excessive water drinking, increased urination, and fatigue. With obesity being a leading cause of diabetes — especially in cats — regular exercise, diet, and feeding routines are essential to maintaining a healthy weight.

Advancing treatment

Luckily, veterinarians have more tools than ever to manage and, in some pets’ cases, achieve complete diabetic remission. New options for insulin and other therapeutics can reduce the burden of insulin injections from multiple times a day to once daily, making it easier for busy pet owners to provide proper care. Many pets tolerate injections better than people!  

Several years ago, wearable glucose monitors for human diabetics were being discussed for possible use in pets at the North American Veterinary Community‘s (NAVC) annual education conference, Veterinary Meeting and Expo (VMX).

At our 2021 Virtual Diabetes Summit for Veterinarians, we learned that these monitors for pets have become a reality. These affordable devices not only provide a wealth of information to your veterinarian to help manage your pet’s diabetes, but they are also less stressful than traditional glucose monitoring for the pet owner and the pet. Your veterinarian is armed with this and many other exciting breakthroughs to help guide you and prevent and treat diabetes in pets.

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