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Pet Diabetes Numbers Growing

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV
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(credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

(credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

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CBS Boston (con't)

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BOSTON (CBS) — It’s a well known medical fact the number of cases in diabetes is soaring, but it’s not just among people. Pets are also developing this disease more often.

After having Ashes for 14 years, Christie Castellano knew something wasn’t right. “Ashes was starting to drink a lot of water from every place, his bowl, the sink, the tub, the puddles outside,” she said.

A trip to the vet revealed Ashes was diabetic.

Excessive thirst isn’t the only clue a pet is suffering from diabetes. Other symptoms include increased urination, weight loss, hair loss, and unusual hunger.

Just like with people, there are different types of diabetes in pets.

WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports.

Dr. Allison Flynn Lurrie explained, “Type 1 diabetes is just a problem where they don’t have enough insulin in their systems or their cells are not responsive to it so you need more insulin.”

“Type 2 is more related to diet and exercise,” added the veterinarian.

Flynn Lurrie said Type 1 diabetes is more common in dogs, and Type 2 is more likely to present itself in cats.

“It seems to be more and more of a problem, especially Type 2 in indoor cats because they don’t get out very much and their lifestyles are much more sedentary than outdoor cats,” said Flynn Lurrie.

For Treating Type 2 in cats, diet is the first approach. That, however, doesn’t always work.

Ashes needed more aggressive treatment, according to Castellano. “We tried an oral medication and that didn’t do well enough. Ultimately we went to insulin and that did the trick.”

Ashes now gets injections twice a day. Flynn Lurrie said, “It makes things a little more expensive and a little more challenging, but it’s by no means a death sentence.”

These are measures Castellan is happy to take. “It’s absolutely worth it. This is a wonderful cat. He’s a wonderful companion for me.”

It’s estimated one in every 200 cats and one out of every 500 dogs now has diabetes. And just like with people, those numbers are growing each year.

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