Merck Animal Health is launching a global awareness campaign to support pet diabetes month.
The "A Healthy Pet = A Happy Family" campaign highlights that just like humans, dogs and cats can also suffer from diabetes. The message is especially relevant since November is also American Diabetes Month. Merck makes a product called Vetsulin (porcine insulin zinc suspension) which is the only veterinary insulin product approved for use in both dogs and cats.
The campaign is designed to raise awareness of the signs of the condition among pet owners and to encourage them to visit their veterinarians to have their pets screened and treated.
Merck Animal Health 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.
"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 on behalf of Merck. "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.
Risk factors that may contribute to the development of diabetes mellitus include age (middle-aged to older dogs and cats are more susceptible), genetics, breed and obesity.
The prevalence of diabetes mellitus in dogs and cats ranges from at least one in 100to one in 500. The number of dogs diagnosed with the condition has tripled during the past 30 years.
Today, dogs receiving the proper treatment have the same expected lifespan as a non-diabetic dog of the same age and sex. With consistent treatment and proper diet, a diabetic cat can also live a happy, healthy life, according to Merck.