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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

October 13, 2011

Austrian Advances in Treating Diabetic Dogs

By David Alderton

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Diabetes affects not only humans but also animals. While people are generally willing to cooperate with physicians in their treatment, the situation is very different with animals, as they can obviously be far from cooperative, in spite of their owners’ best intentions. Treatment plans need to be based on an understanding of natural fluctuations in blood glucose levels but unfortunately, these are very hard to determine.
 
Now, however, Nadja Affenzeller and colleagues at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, have shown that a commercially available system for continuous glucose monitoring can be applied to dogs without requiring the animals to be kept in a clinic. The resulting information can give valuable guidance to veterinarians in terms of improving their patients’ treatment.

Diabetes has many severe consequences that can only be prevented by maintaining blood glucose levels at values that are extremely close to those of non-diabetics. There have recently been considerable advances in insulin treatment, but accurate blood glucose readings are essential as well.
 
Traditionally, measurements are generally taken while patients are in clinics, but then the results may be misleading as a result of differences in food intake and exercise, as well as the associated stress, all of which may lead to changes in the normal patterns. Monitoring blood glucose levels while affected dogs are leading their normal lives would give far more meaningful information.

Menarini Diagnostics has developed a system for the continuous monitoring of blood glucose levels in human patients. Known as GlucoDay, this can measure glucose concentrations over a very wide range, which makes it potentially suitable for use in animals.
 
The team at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, tested the system in 10 diabetic dogs, all of which were believed to be receiving appropriate insulin treatment. The system was well-tolerated and worked well under the test conditions, although one of the dogs lost the apparatus in the course of a fight and the system stopped working before the end of the monitoring period in two other cases.

Despite these problems, the obtained results were extremely revealing. Based on the detailed records of blood glucose levels, it was clear that none of the 10 dogs were ideally treated. The scientists were able to make recommendations for improved treatment, varying from reducing or increasing the insulin dose, or even changing the type of insulin, to carrying out dietary changes.

Thanks to the application of continuous glucose monitoring systems such as GlucoDay, it may be possible to give diabetic pets the highest quality of treatment that to date has been possible only for humans.

*The paper "Home-Based Subcutaneous Continuous Glucose Monitoring in Ten Diabetic —A Case Series Study" by Nadja Affenzeller, Johann G. Thalhammer and Michael Willmann was published in the UK veterinary journal, The Veterinary Record (169(8):206).

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