Obese cats facing diabetes crisis with HALF in UK overweight – vet warning

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The Royal Veterinary College is calling on owners to sign up their overweight felines to a study trying to reverse diabetes. The pilot programme puts cats with the condition on a calorie-restricted diet.

And the trial has so far been successful since it began last March with three-quarters of diabetic felines going into remission.

Dr Ruth Gostelow, a lecturer in small animal internal medicine at the RVC, said: “Although some cats will remain diabetic for the duration of their life, a proportion can achieve diabetic remission and stop insulin treatment.

“Achieving diabetic remission significantly increases their life expectancy, and owner and pet wellbeing.

“The study has already proved incredibly successful; since it began, recruited cats have recorded a diabetic remission rate of approximately 75 percent; an outstanding result compared to what is typically reported for diabetic cats.

“The early success of the trial means we want to expand it, and now we need more vets and their cat owners to sign up.”

Cat obesity in Britain has risen alongside a trend to keep pets indoors.

A study by Nottingham Trent University found that owners were worried about the risk of traffic, people and other wildlife despite the potential impacts of an indoor lifestyle on their physical and mental health.

Experts fear the Covid pandemic has fuelled the problem of chubby pets as people have been at home more to give them extra treats during the day.

There are an estimated five million obese cats in the UK, with 54,500 suffering from diabetes.

Diabetes in cats is so serious many are put down upon diagnosis.

Rachel Fortescue, of Frating, Essex, enrolled Lester, her prize-winning Burmese cat, in the scheme last October after he was diagnosed with diabetes and required insulin injections twice a day.

After just a week, Lester stopped needing injections and he has been in remission since.

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Ms Fortescue said: “I have watched Lester turn back into a happy, affectionate, playful cat again as the symptoms of his diabetes have disappeared and for that I am eternally grateful.

“I have no doubt that Lester’s early remission would not have happened if he had not been on the trial.

“As soon as Lester was diagnosed with diabetes, I knew I had to do everything for him.”

Dr Amrita Mohanty, at the RVC, said: “As a veterinarian, I am very grateful to be part of a trial that has such an effective dietary therapy and have truly enjoyed working with our trial patients, sharing in the success of the owners who achieve stability or remission.

“I am hopeful that I can help many more cats with this diet and look forward to the beneficial impact this newly developed dietary treatment will have on diabetic cat populations in the future.”

Vets and owners can apply for the trial by emailing [email protected] or calling 01707 666605.

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