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Pets increasingly diagnosed with Diabetes

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November 11, 2008


Pets increasingly diagnosed with Diabetes

Diabetes affects more cats and dogs each year especially overweight animals and certain breeds. And just like human diabetes, if left untreated the condition may become life threatening.

Veterinarian Dr Mike Gething of Howick Vets says this serious disease is becoming more common in today's pet population. But he says prompt diagnosis and the introduction of a healthy diet will help pets enjoy a good quality of life.

"We operate a large vet clinic with four vets. At the moment we have four cats and 10 dogs diagnosed with diabetes and on insulin," says Gething.

"Certain breeds both in cats and dogs are pre-disposed to diabetes. I see popular cats such as Burmese and Birmans suffering from diabetes as well as older and overweight pets of mixed breeding."

However, Gething says the news is not all bad. He says when diabetes is diagnosed the level of therapy is matched to the severity of the condition and good results are usually seen.

"While cats and dogs almost always need insulin treatment, the glucose levels of many pets on treatment returns to a normal condition. By putting pets on an appropriate clinically proven diet for diabetes the dose of long term insulin use is reduced. For example, an overweight cat may need a high-fibre, low fat calorie restricted diet," says Gething.

Tauranga veterinarian Dr Julie McCarthy says a simple blood and urine test provides an accurate analysis.

"If your pet is showing symptoms of diabetes such as increasing thirst, urinating more, eating more but appearing to be losing weight, something is wrong and it's time to seek advice from a vet. In severe cases where diabetes is left untreated, animals can go into a coma," says McCarthy.

"Following diagnosis, cats and dogs need to be treated at a vet clinic with insulin every day for approximately two weeks. Their blood glucose also has to be measured. Some cats may need insulin every day for the rest of their lives and the pet owner will have to inject insulin daily, and feed their pet a special low carbohydrate diet," says McCarthy.

Hill's Pet Nutrition's Dr Karen Johnston says the disease is one of the most common hormonal disorders in cats.

"Feline diabetes is similar to Type 2 diabetes in humans but in contrast to humans, most cats require insulin. A popular high-protein low-carbohydrate diet called Hill's Prescription Diet m/d, nicknamed the 'catkins' diet, can help overweight cats with weight loss, " says Dr Johnston.


ENDS

About Diabetes
Diabetes Mellitus is a medical condition that develops when the sugar levels (glucose) in the bloodstream cannot be controlled. Insulin (a hormone) is essential for regulating the use and storage of blood glucose. In diabetic cats, insulin secretion is insufficient to maintain normal blood glucose levels and a decreased sensitivity to insulin means that the insulin that is secreted is less effective. One result of this is that cells in the body are starved of glucose and thus they switch to fat and protein as an energy source, resulting in weight loss. Another consequence is hyperglycaemia (an abnormally high level of glucose in the blood stream) which causes many other problems.

About Hill'sTM Pet Nutrition
Hill's Pet Nutrition manufactures Science DietTM* brand pet foods, sold through veterinarians, RSPCA and pet specialty food stores, and Prescription DietTM therapeutic brand pet foods available only through veterinarians. Founded more than 60 years ago by one veterinarian's unique commitment to pet nutrition and wellbeing, Hill's follows its mission to help enrich and lengthen the special relationships between people and their pets by producing high quality, great tasting pet food. Explore www.hillspet.co.nz for more information.

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