Fat Cats and Canines at Diabetes Risk

Fat pets may be at risk of developing diabetes, veterinary
experts say. A new obesity epidemic is rising, and it's not in
children or adults -- the epidemic is striking animal
companions. Obese and overweight pets are at greater
risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Fifty-seven percent of American pets are overweight or
obese, and they are at serious risk. Certain breeds of
dogs, including Samoyeds, Keeshonds, Schnauzers
Miniature Pinschers and Poodles, have an increased risk
of developing diabetes.

Diabetes generally develops in middle-aged to older dogs,
around seven to nine years old. About one in every 400 to
500 dogs will develop diabetes, but in felines the danger is
much higher; nearly one in 200 will develop the illness.

Ninety percent of these diabetic cats have a form similar to
Type 2 diabetes in humans -- the kind that is associated
with obesity and lack of good diet and exercise.

As with humans, pets can develop warning signs when
they are on the path to developing diabetes. Excessive
water drinking and urination are two red-flag signs, as well
as pets that develop a bony appearance even though they
have a huge appetite.

Animals with diabetes must receive insulin, as the hormone
is not created in sufficient amounts in cells of the
pancreas. Some cats can tolerate oral insulin in pill form,
but most diabetic cats and dogs must receive daily
injections.

The most important thing pet owners can do is keep their
animals' weight under control. Even though most diabetic
pets have a normal lifespan, it's much easier on the animal
not to ever develop diabetes. There are special weight
management food formulas out there now for dogs.
Animals at risk need high levels of fiber and regular
exercise.

For cats, study recommends feeding a measured amount
of food, rather than letting cats "free-feed," which can lead
to kitty gluttony. The common idea is that cats know when
to stop eating, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

Veterinarians stress that diabetes in dogs and cats is not a
death sentence. A diabetic animal can live a long life, with
proper treatment. After a blood and urine test confirming a
diagnosis of diabetes, the treatment can begin.
Caring for a diabetic animal takes a little extra time and
attention, and can be costly; treatment costs between $50
and $100 per month.

                                                                        Courtesy: ABC News
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