Feline Diabetes Is On The Rise
Yet another report shows that feline diabetes is on the rise in the USA. I think it is safe to assume that it is also on the rise in other Western European countries. According to a nationwide study of clinics it appears that the increase has been correlated with a rise in obesity. In my mind there is no question that weight control is a big factor in preventing the onset of diabetes mellitus, not only in cats but humans too!
Dr. Mahony, a specialist in small animal endocrinology at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, is a little cautious and says:-
“I have concerns about over interpreting the results of any survey without having sufficient data to explore. We don’t know that the incidence [of diabetes mellitus] has actually increased, or if there is simply better recording and monitoring, or more testing. There’s no question that you want to prevent your cat from getting fat to avoid the disease.”
“by the time most cats are diagnosed, the disease is fairly far advanced, which means that they are likely to be insulin dependent for the rest of their lives.”
“We warn owners of any cat that we have on long-term steroids that diabetes is a risk, and we try to test carefully to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Chronic pancreatitis and other endocrine diseases such as hyperthyroidism and Cushing’s disease are considered to be contributing factors to diabetes too.
But it’s difficult to know which came first, the other endocrine disorders or the diabetes, and obesity is still primarily responsible. I tell clients, the moment they neuter their animal, the diet begins right there.”
Dr. Mahoney also mentions a recent study in England that shows that there may be a genetic link to diabetes in humans.
“But just as recent research points to the possibility of a genetic basis for a predisposition towards obesity and diabetes in humans, a small-scale study in the United Kingdom suggested that this may also be the case for cats.
According to Dr. Mahoney, the researchers identified a genetic mutation that was more likely to turn up in domestic short-haired cats with diabetes than in those that didn’t have the disease. “Up until now, we were more interested in a cat’s lifestyle issues, that the cat was obese,” she says. “This was the first time the role of genetics was studied.”
Interesting to learn that a genetic mutation may be responsible for cats being more prone to getting diabetes. I will need to do further research in that area but until the information is more conclusive I would still say that the feline diabetes is on the rise due to poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle.