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MU Researchers adapt Human Diabetes Treatment for Dogs

Studies show the incidence of diabetes in dogs has increased 200 percent over the past 30 years. Now, University of Missouri veterinarians have changed the way veterinarians treat diabetes in animals by adapting a device used to monitor glucose in humans.

Dogs are susceptible to type 1, insulin-dependent diabetes. Affected animals are unable to utilize sugar in their bloodstream because their bodies do not produce enough insulin, a hormone that helps cells turn sugar into energy. Veterinarians treat animals with this type of diabetes similarly to the way humans are treated, with insulin injections and a low-carbohydrate diet.

Amy DeClue, assistant professor of veterinary internal medicine, and Charles Wiedmeyer, assistant professor of veterinary clinical pathology, have been studying the use of a “continuous glucose monitor” (CGM) on animals since 2003. A CGM is a small flexible device that is inserted about an inch into the skin, to constantly monitor glucose concentrations.

“Continuous glucose monitoring is much more effective and accurate than previous glucose monitoring techniques and has revolutionized how veterinarians manage diabetes in dogs,” said DeClue. “The CGM gives us a complete view of what is happening in the animal in their natural setting. For example, it can show us if a pet’s blood glucose changes when an owner gives treats, when the animal exercises or in response to insulin therapy.”

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