Animal Friends

Diabetes in Pets Hits All-time High

fat labrador dog on the floor, 8 years old.

Cases of Diabetes in Cats and Dogs has risen over 900% since 2011

There’s been a lot of talk recently in the media about our pets eating habits and how they could impact on their health.

We wanted to investigate the health of some of the pets on our database, and after a five-year study of almost 9000 animals, we discovered that cases of diabetes in cats and dogs has risen by over 900% since 2011.

We discovered that cats are at highest risk of contracting diabetes with an 1161% increase since 2011, compared to dogs’ 850% rise.

Our data also revealed the breeds that are most commonly diagnosed with the condition and found that the West Highland Terrier is the most susceptible dog followed by the Labrador, King Charles Spaniel, Husky and Miniature Schnauzer.

Whereas the British Shorthair was the most diagnosed cat, followed by the Burmese, Foreign Shorthair, Maine Coon and Abyssinian.

Whether this is to do with genetics or the lifestyles of these breeds and their owners is unknown.

In 2015, the PDSA released an Animal Welfare report which estimated that by 2020 obese animals would be more common than healthy ones.

The report also estimated that a quarter of a million UK dogs don’t get walked at all.

Last week a cat owned by the daughter of a Coronation Street legend, Johnny Briggs had to be put on a strict diet after it became overweight by snacking on Doritos and biscuits.

Another cat made the news in March after owner, Sean Ryan, fitted the animal with a collar that read “For medical reasons I am on a diet, please don’t feed me.”

How to recognise and deal with diabetes in your pet

The most common symptoms of diabetes in animals are increases in drinking and urinating. Weight loss is an often overlooked symptom, because the pet will usually be overweight in the months leading up to a diagnosis, and so owners don’t usually recognise weight loss as a problem when their pet finally starts losing the additional weight.

Other symptoms can include lethargy, extreme dehydration and a change in appetite, which can be particularly dangerous in older dogs as again owners tend to overlook them and dismiss them as signs of old age.

Once a diagnosis of diabetes has been given, it’s important to consult your vet for treatment options. The goal here is to keep your pet’s blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible. You can do this through insulin injections, which your vet will prescribe in a suitable dose.

In terms of what owners can do at home, diet and exercise is extremely beneficial in treating diabetes. Keep track of your pet’s food and water levels, including how often they’re eating and urinating. Also, make sure your pet is getting enough exercise, without over exerting them.

If your pet is unwell, make sure to check their glucose levels throughout the day and adjust the insulin dosage as needed. If you have questions on the amount of insulin you should be administering, always consult with your vet first.