Research in AniCura helps pets with diabetes

AniCura, one of Europe’s leading providers of high-quality veterinary care for companion animals, highlights awareness about diabetes and treatments for pets on World Diabetes Day. While commonly associated with humans, diabetes is a health issue for pets as well.

Preventive care is essential to reduce diseases in pets, to improve animal welfare and to decrease veterinary costs for pet owners. Diabetes mellitus is a chronic hormonal disease that affects both humans and animals. 

- When a pet is suffering from diabetes, it lacks the ability to produce sufficient amounts of the hormone insulin or they respond poorly to insulin, and without insulin the cells cannot use glucose for fuel and they will start malfunctioning. However, just like in humans, diabetes can be treated with insulin injections to stabilise the blood sugar levels, says Marieke Knies, veterinarian and an expert in feline medicine at AniCura Diergeneeskundig Verwijscentrum Dordrecht in the Netherlands

The blood sugar level in pets needs to be monitored regularly to ensure the correct treatment and the right amount of insulin is injected. However, measuring the blood sugar in cats and dogs can be challenging. The procedure can increase the stress levels and affect the blood sugar values, resulting in incorrect values. Further, this can also lead to stress and discomfort for the owner of the pet.

AniCura actively work to increase awareness of the causes, the symptoms, and the treatments of diabetes in pets. In 2021, Marieke started her residency programme at Utrecht University where she investigated if the FreeStyle Libre Sensor, a device for needle-free measuring of blood glucose in humans, can be used in cats with diabetes.

The study shows that the FreeStyle Libre Sensor works for an average of 10 days for cats, compared to 14 days for humans. Owners were very satisfied, giving the device a score 9,1 out of 10. The great majority of the cats, 87%, did not react, or reacted very little to the sensor being placed. There was no need for sedation.

- Given that this reduces the stress associated with either going to the clinic or by taking several blood samples, the glucose levels measured in the cats will be more accurate. Our study shows that around 93% of the cases measured by FreeStyle Libre Sensor were accurate. This allows for more correct treatment which will improve the well-being of cats suffering from diabetes, says Marieke Knies

Signs that your pet might have diabetes:

  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Weight loss
  • Increased appetite
  • Tiredness/feeling down
  • Vomiting

Contact a veterinarian for an examination if your pet exhibits symptoms that could be compatible with diabetes. The longer a pet goes with untreated diabetes, the greater the risk of life-threatening complications.

An early diagnosis also increases the chance for the pet to respond well to the treatment. If diabetes is detected early, some cats can manage without insulin treatment in the long term.

For more information, please contact:

Ulrika Grönlund, DVM, PhD, Associate Prof.
Sustainability & Veterinary Medical Communications Manager
+46 706 38 75 62

About AniCura

AniCura is a family of animal hospitals and clinics specialised in veterinary care for companion animals. Born out of the idea that sharing resources creates opportunities for better veterinary care, the company was established in 2011 as the first merger of companion animal hospitals in the Nordic region. Today, AniCura is a leader within specialised veterinary care and a valued partner for pet owners and referring veterinarians across Europe.

AniCura offers a wide range of high-quality medical services covering preventive and basic health care as well as advanced diagnostics, internal medicine, intensive care, surgery, and orthopaedics. AniCura also provides rehabilitation, physiotherapy and dietary advice and offers selected pet food and care products.

AniCura provides modern, high-quality veterinary care for pets at over 450 European locations and creates peace of mind for pet owners through excellent access and patient safety. Every year, AniCura’s 11,000 passionate veterinary professionals attend to 3.6 million companion animal patients. AniCura is a trusted training and referral body.

Since 2018, AniCura is part of Mars Veterinary Health, a family-owned company focused on veterinary care.

For information on how AniCura is working to shape the future of veterinary care, please visit our website

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