Diabetes used to be a death sentence. Until 1922 when insulin was discovered, extracted from pancreas of dogs. With insulin, diabetes became manageable. Dogs and other animals have been and are still being used in biomedical research for developing and testing new drugs for humans. Animal rights activists are of course not happy with this state of affairs. A recent report from the University of Missouri (MU) however indicates that it is not only human beings who benefit from the fruit of biomedical research but man’s best friend and other animals as well.
MU researchers have tested a continuous glucose monitoring device commonly used in humans with diabetes in animals and found the device to be helpful in treating dogs and other animals. The device is implanted under the skin between the shoulder blades of the animal.
According to Charles Wiedmeyer, assistant professor of clinical pathology in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine.
“Our research has found that continuous glucose monitoring devices can be used in dogs, cats, cows and horses. Use of this system alleviated the need for multiple blood samples. It also reduces the stress associated with obtaining those samples. This system may provide greater monitoring capabilities in animals with diabetes and promote the diagnostic and research potential of glucose monitoring in veterinary patients.”
The device records blood glucose data every five minutes and provides a detailed blood glucose profile of an animal for several days. The data obtained with the device are invaluable in managing diabetes in pets especially in determining the proper dosage of insulin and in controlling sugar levels through proper diet.
These all sound very familiar to those who are suffering from diabetes because the disease manifestations in humans and in animals are very similar.
“Many of the symptoms of diabetes in dogs are similar to the symptoms in humans, including excessive water consumption, increased urination, or unexplained weight loss. For dogs, treatment typically involves insulin shots twice a day. Dogs get complications from diabetes, but they are not as severe as human complications. Older, female dogs and some breeds, such as schnauzers and poodles, are more prone to diabetes.”
Dogs, however, are more like little children rather than adults with diabetes because they have little control over their insulin and diet. They need to rely on their owners/caregivers on glycemic control, thus making easy and convenient glucose monitoring invaluable.
The glucose monitoring device specially designed for animals is manufactured by Medtronics.