ANIMAL MODELS OF DISEASE: Classification and etiology of diabetes in dogs and cats

    1. Claudia E Reusch1
    1. Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA
      1Clinic for Small Animal Internal Medicine, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
    1. Correspondence should be addressed to R W Nelson; Email: rwnelson{at}UCDAVIS.EDU


    Diabetes mellitus is a common disease in dogs and cats. The most common form of diabetes in dogs resembles type 1 diabetes in humans. Studies suggest that genetics, an immune-mediated component, and environmental factors are involved in the development of diabetes in dogs. A variant of gestational diabetes also occurs in dogs. The most common form of diabetes in cats resembles type 2 diabetes in humans. A major risk factor in cats is obesity. Obese cats have altered expression of several insulin signaling genes and glucose transporters and are leptin resistant. Cats also form amyloid deposits within the islets of the pancreas and develop glucotoxicity when exposed to prolonged hyperglycemia. This review will briefly summarize our current knowledge about the etiology of diabetes in dogs and cats and illustrate the similarities among dogs, cats, and humans.

    • Received in final form 9 June 2014
    • Accepted 25 June 2014
    • Made available online as an Accepted Preprint 30 June 2014
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