Merck launches consumer education campaign to call attention to the problem
11/12/2013 | ConsumerAffairs | Diabetes in Dogs
By Truman Lewis
November is not only American Diabetes Month, it’s also Pet Diabetes Month, intended to remind pet owners that their dogs and cats can develop diabetes just as humans can.
“Pet owners should be aware of the possible warning signs of pet diabetes and see their veterinarians for a definitive diagnosis,” said Dr. Madeleine Stahl, a veterinarian speaking on behalf of Merck, which makes Vetsulin, an insuline product for dogs and cats. “Considering the fact that pet diabetes can be effectively managed, lack of owner awareness may be the biggest risk factor associated with this condition.”
Lethargy, excessive thirst and frequent urination are some of the most common signs of diabetes mellitus in dogs and cats. Pets may also exhibit increased hunger while losing weight, cloudy eyes (due to cataracts) in dogs and weakness of the back legs in cats.
Though any dog or cat can have diabetes, it is most commonly found in miniature schnauzers, German shepherds, golden retrievers and poodles. It strikes females more than males and it usually appears in a dog’s middle years – age six to nine.
The causes of diabetes in dogs are similar to those in people. The islet cells in the pancreas slow down, failing to produce enough insulin. Without the proper amount of insulin, glucose can’t pass into cells and produce energy for metabolism.
The result is high blood sugar as well as too much sugar in the urine.
To call attention to the problem, Merck Animal Health is launching a global awareness campaign during November. It has created three videos to help pet owners learn more about the condition and its signs. Those videos can be found at www.petdiabetesmonth.com along with a variety of pet owner educational materials.