Study of 253 dogs in the United Kingdom with diabetes mellitus

Prevalence and treatment of canine diabetes in the UK

source: L.J. Davison, M.E. Herrtage, and B. Catchpole Veterinary Record
vol 156 no 15, April 9 2005 starts p467, 5 pages long

Diabetes is common in dogs, and is linked to both genetic and environmental factors, like infections and diet. The study sample used information on 253 diabetic dogs, supplied by vets after an appeal in a vet journal. The dogs were from 37 breeds, with over 50% of them being labradors, collies and Yorkshire terriers. Diagnosis was more common in winter, especially January.

Large numbers of some breeds, like labradors, may simply be because they are popular. There is no compulsory registration of dogs in the UK, so it is difficult to work out the percentages of different dog breeds in the population as a whole. However, some idea can be obtained from a database of 46,593 insured dogs, of which 151, or 0.32%, had been diagnosed with diabetes. Some breeds, like Cavalier King Charles spaniels, samoyeds, Tibetan terriers and Cairn terriers, appear to be at higher risk for diabetes, whereas golden retrievers, boxers and German shepherds appear to be at lower risk.

Most dogs in the sample of 253 were between five and twelve years old when diagnosed. Few entire females were found compared to previous studies, and this may explain why diagnosis was more common in winter, because certain hormonal factors are less important once bitches are spayed. Most of the dogs received insultin once daily, though there appeared to be better glycaemic control for dogs receiving insulin twice daily.