Diabetes is on the rise among pets, according to a national analysis of pet health recently released.
The 2011 "State of Pet Health" report is based on data from more than 2.5 million dogs and cats that visited Banfield Pet Hospital facilities in 43 states. The study found that diabetes and other "human" diseases are on the rise in animals, with rates of diabetes in cats and dogs rising faster than for humans.
"We have increasing obesity in dogs and cats, just like in humans. It's no mystery how that occurs: overfeeding and lack of exercise," said Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, veterinarian and chief medical officer for the Banfield Pet Hospital chain.
The survey found that over the last four years, diabetes rates in the US rose by nearly one-third among dogs and by 16% among cats. By comparison, human diagnoses of diabetes rose 10% over the same period.
The most common signs of diabetes in pets include: excessive urination, excessive thirst and weight loss, despite a good appetite, according to veterinarians. Once diagnosed, managing the disease can be time-consuming, and usually includes twice-daily insulin injections, a change in diet and regular monitoring by a vet.
Overall, the most common problem among pets was dental disease, according to the report. Other common pet problems the report found were internal parasites, inflamation of the outer ear canal, and fleas and ticks.