While diabetes has been diagnosed in dogs and cats of all ages, genders and breeds, certain pets are at greater risk of the disease.

Risk factors in dogs include:

  • Age: middle-aged to older dogs are more affected
  • Neutering status: un-spayed females are at higher risk
  • Obesity: overweight pets are at higher risk
  • Breed: the following breeds have a higher risk of developing diabetes
    • Cocker Spaniels
    • Dachshunds
    • Dobermann Pinschers
    • German Shepherds
    • Golden Retrievers
    • Labrador Retrievers
    • Pomeranians
    • Terriers
    • Toy Poodles

Risk factors in cats include:

  • Age: older cats are more susceptible
  • Neutering status: neutered males are at higher risk
  • Other disorders or diseases, which can cause insulin reduction or resistance such as chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) or hyperthyroidism (overproduction of thyroid hormones)
  • Obesity: overweight pets are at higher risk
  • Physical inactivity

How can I tell if my pet has diabetes?

Some common signs of diabetes in dogs and cats include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination—your pet produces more urine per day and may have “accidents” in the house (dogs) or outside the litter box (cats)
  • Excessive hunger while losing weight
  • Lethargy (less active/sleeps more)
  • Cloudy eyes (dogs)
  • Doesn’t groom (cats)
  • Thinning, dry and dull hair

If your pet is showing any of these signs, talk to your vet about getting your pet screened for diabetes. With proper management and monitoring, a dog or cat with diabetes can lead a healthy, happy and active life. Read our blog post on diabetes diagnosis to find out what to expect if your pet does have diabetes.





Diabetes mellitus, the medical name for diabetes, is a disease caused by a lack of insulin that affects the level of glucose, or sugar in your dog or cat’s blood. The glucose comes from the food that your pet eats. The food is broken down into very small components by the digestive system so that the body can use it for energy. Glucose is one of these components, and an important source of energy. Glucose is absorbed from the intestines into the bloodstream where it travels to cells throughout the body. Insulin is required for the cells to absorb glucose. Insulin is produced by the pancreas in response to the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. Healthy pets produce insulin easily, but pets with diabetes don’t. In canine and feline diabetes, unused glucose builds up in the bloodstream.

Is diabetes in pets the same as in humans?

The two conditions are very similar. In fact, your veterinary practitioner will be using medication, equipment and monitoring systems that are similar to those used for diabetic people. How common is diabetes in dogs and cats? Diabetes is reported to affect anywhere between 1 in 100 to 1 in 500 dogs and cats. But experts believe that this disease is on the rise. Can diabetes lead to other health problems? Yes. Dogs and cats with diabetes can develop other health problems, usually after living with diabetes for a year or more. For dogs, the most common complication of diabetes is cataract formation. Persistently high blood glucose levels make the lens of the eye become opaque, causing blindness. For cats, weakness of the hind legs is a common complication. Persistently high blood glucose levels may damage nerves, causing weakness and muscle wasting. For both dogs and cats, avoiding high blood glucose levels should help prevent or delay these complications. For this reason, early diagnosis of diabetes in your dog or cat is especially important.

Will diabetes affect my dog or cat’s life expectancy?

Today, with effective treatment and monitoring, a diabetic dog or cat should have the same life expectancy as a non-diabetic dog or cat. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment help diabetic pets maintain a good quality of life.


Parasites are a health risk to both pets and people

One of the largest surveys based on parasite risks has recently been conducted by MSD Animal Health.

Of the 450 cat owners, over half of those surveyed only treated their pets twice or even less than this in the last year, while 46 percent have not treated for fleas within the last three months. Perhaps even more worrying, given the potential human health risks associated with roundworms, only 19 per cent have wormed their cat four times or more in the last year, and 17 per cent don’t use a worm treatment at all.

Worrying worms

Roundworm is the most common worm to affect cats, with a recent Irish study (The prevalence of gastrointestinal and cardio-respiratory parasites in stray dogs and cats in Ireland, 2018) showing that 32 percent of stray cats were shedding eggs. As well as causing gastrointestinal and respiratory problems in cats, roundworms can affect humans too, if eggs are accidentally ingested. Children are most at risk, as they may play in areas (sandpits, gardens etc.) where worm eggs are commonly  found. The parasite can cause a variety of problems, including damage to the liver, lungs or eyes.
Blog Post Worms

Ticked off

Owners are concerned about ticks, with 27 percent of owners in the Republic of Ireland reporting that they have found a tick on their cat. More owners were very concerned (34.2 per cent) about ticks than other parasites. It’s important to remember that some of the common spot-on products available do not kill ticks, so make sure you ask your vet for a treatment that covers this key parasite risk.

Blog Post Ticks

Advances in treatment

All owners know that cats can be difficult to treat! Applying treatments every month, or giving worming tablets, can be challenging even in well behaved cats. Recent advances mean that options are now available which can make life easier for cats and their owners, including longer lasting treatments and combination products which treat many parasites in one.

Trust your vet

The survey showed that vets continue to be the preferred source of information about parasite treatment, with 72 percent of cat owners seeking advice from their vet. Disease risks constantly evolve, and your vet is best placed to give up-to-date advice about the risks for your pet. Vet practices can also offer the latest treatments, so ask your vet about how you can best protect your cat – and your family – against parasites.Blog post 3