Milton Keynes, UK, November 30, 2018 – Recent findings from the Big Pet Diabetes Survey (Stijn Neissen et al, 2017) have revealed more than 10 per cent of diabetic cats and dogs are euthanised at diagnosis, despite the fact that they can live normal, healthy lives – and some diabetic cats can even achieve remission.
With World Diabetes Day having taken place on 14 November to raise awareness of human diabetes, MSD Animal Health is promoting Pet Diabetes Month to support vets and educate pet owners about the same condition in animals.
And just like human diabetes, pet diabetes is on the rise, with 1 out of 200 cats and 1 out of 300 dogs diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime. This is due to many factors, including the growing prevalence of obesity and changing dietary habits.
The dropout rate for treatment however is still high, due to pet owners feeling overwhelmed by their pet’s condition. With more animals being diagnosed annually, ongoing support from vets is needed to ensure owners feel confident in managing their pet’s diabetes.
To help pet owners better manage the condition, MSD Animal Health has recently launched a Pet Diabetes Tracker app, which enables owners to use a smartphone or tablet to track water and food consumption, exercise levels, glucose levels and insulin injections. It also allows reminders to be set for vet appointments and medication timings, providing charts and trends that owners can share with their vet.
This makes tracking far easier and allows the pet owner to be fully involved and committed to managing their pet’s diabetes.
Alongside the app, an insulin pen device is also available, featuring innovative technology that makes giving insulin injections easier and dosing more accurate. It is similar to the insulin pens used in the management of human diabetes, which have been reported as more convenient and less painful than traditional syringes.
According to Blaise Scott-Morris, MSD Animal Health’s vet advisor for diabetes, further education is needed among pet owners to raise awareness of diabetes in pets and the way the disease can be effectively managed.
She said: “To help ensure the long-term health and well-being of our diabetic pets, successfully managing the various facets of the disease and treatments is critical.
“While 90 per cent of humans use an insulin pen to facilitate insulin injection, less than 20 per cent of diabetic pets are treated in the same way, which indicates an opportunity to improve pet diabetes management.
“With proper monitoring, a dog or cat with diabetes can lead a healthy, happy and active life, and the Pet Diabetes Tracker can make it far easier. It’s an incredibly useful tool that links the pet owner with the vet and puts all the diabetic health information at their fingertips. It’s all about adopting habits that save lives!”
To coincide with Pet Diabetes Month, Blaise is urging pet owners to check in with their vet if they spot any signs of diabetes, including weight loss despite increased appetite, excessive thirst, vomiting or lethargy.
Free DIY glucose urine tests are also available from most participating vet surgeries, allowing owners to test their pets for the disease.
Blaise added: “Recognising the signs early is crucial to ensuring the disease can be managed in a way that allows the pet to live a normal, happy life.
“If we can succeed in educating pet owners about pet diabetes management, we will hopefully see an increase in the number of owners opting for treatment and a drop in the number of unnecessary euthanasia cases.”
To find out more about Pet Diabetes Month, visit www.petdiabetesmonth.co.uk
About MSD Animal Health
For more than a century, MSD, a leading global biopharmaceutical company, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases. MSD Animal Health, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA, is the global animal health business unit of MSD. Through its commitment to the Science of Healthier Animals®, MSD Animal Health offers veterinarians, farmers, pet owners and governments one of the widest range of veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and services. MSD Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being and performance of animals. It invests extensively in dynamic and comprehensive R&D resources and a modern, global supply chain. MSD Animal Health is present in more than 50 countries, while its products are available in some 150 markets. For more information, visit www.msd-animal-health.com or connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.