Diabetes in dogs and cats on the rise

April 22, 2011 at 5:01 PM

HACKENSACK, N.J., April 22 (UPI) -- Diabetes diagnoses are increasing in dogs and cats faster than in their human companions, a national analysis of pet health says.

The report is based on data from more than 2.5 million dogs and cats that visited facilities of the Banfield Pet Hospital chain in 43 states, The (Hackensack, N.J.) Record reported Friday.

Nationally, diabetes rates increased by nearly a third among dogs in the last four years and by 16 percent among cats, where it is much more common.

By comparison, human diagnoses of diabetes rose 10 percent over the same period.

"This kind of data has never been available before," Jeffrey Klausner, chief medical officer for the Portland, Ore., Banfield chain, said. "We want to share it with professionals and pet owners."

The high incidence of pet diabetes, he said, is linked to rising rates of obesity.

"We have increasing obesity in dogs and cats, just like in humans," he said. "It's no mystery how that occurs: overfeeding and lack of exercise."

The most common signs of diabetes in pets are excessive urination, excessive thirst, and weight loss despite a good appetite, veterinarians said.

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