With Cat and Dog Diabetes Rates on the Rise, UPenn Offers Canine Diabetes TrialPublished October 18, 2012
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Both pets and humans can be affected by two types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is caused by an inadequate amount of the hormone insulin produced by the pancreas. Type 2 diabetes is caused by a lack of the response to the body's cells to the hormone insulin.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 25 million people (8.3 % of the population in the United States) are affected by diabetes mellitus; a chronic endocrine disorder. Although The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) asserts that less than 1% of pets are affected with this type of cat and dog diabetes, experts in veterinary medicine believe that this condition is on the rise.
Who’s at Risk?
Several dog breeds including Cocker Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, and terriers, Dachshunds, Toy Poodles and German Shepherds carry a predisposition to develop diabetes mellitus. While certain dog breeds are more prone to developing diabetes, there is no particular predisposition to the condition in cat breeds.
Unspayed cats and dogs and neutered male cats are run a higher risk of developing diabetes, but obesity is one of the main causes of the condition.
Present and Future Treatments for Cat and Dog Diabetes
Pets affected by diabetes mellitus require a multifaceted treatment approach to keep the disorder under control.
Although insulin treatment in dogs and cats has been available for a long time to help manage the disease, it has required owners to carefully monitor their pets’ blood sugar levels, with insulin doses appropriately adjusted based on the results. But even with the most prudent blood sugar testing and insulin administration, blood sugar spikes are not always completely regulated.
According to the recent article "Keeping Canine Diabetes Under Control" published by Penn Vet, a clinical trial is underway aimed at examining the effectiveness of a treatment strategy which is commonly used in humans with diabetes, which will hopefully improve the ability to control diabetes in canines.
Dr. Rebecka Hess, an Associate Professor of Medicine in Penn Vet’s Department of Clinical Studies and chief in the Section of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, has spent her career working with cat and dog diabetes. She has been looking for ways to both identify and improve the treatment of diabetes (along with other conditions caused by hormone insulin) in both species. Dr. Hess is presently recruiting dogs with well-regulated diabetes into her most recent clinical trial.
Dogs participating in Dr. Hess's trial would receive a combination therapy blending fast-acting insulin that works almost immediately with slower-acting, longer-lasting insulin which closely mimics the insulin response of a healthy dog.
Anyone interested in enrolling a dog that meets the trial’s requirements, visit The Veterinary Clinical Investigations Center (VCIC) for further information.
What is your opinion about treatment trials geared to improving the health and well-being of our companion animals? Since Dr. Hess’s career is deeply rooted in the treatment of both diabetic dogs and cats, if this clinical trial proves effective for canines, do you think the logical next step may be the launch of a similar trial for cats? Share your opinions in a comment.