Diabetes mellitus affects an estimated one in 230 cats and one in 300 dogs1,2, with incidence on the rise. Unfortunately diabetes in pets tends to be under-diagnosed. This is especially true in cats, which—unlike dogs—suffer primarily from Type 2 diabetes, which is often related to obesity.
To bring attention and help to this issue, a new initiative has been announced: The Diabetes Pet Care Alliance™.
This Alliance has developed a program to assist veterinary practices in identifying new diabetes cases and jump-starting management of the disease… and it's rolling in alignment with November’s National Diabetes Month.
Formed in 2014 via collaboration between Merck Animal Health, Nestlé Purina PetCare and Zoetis, the Diabetes Pet Care Alliance™ is extending its mission by equipping more veterinary practices with vital tools and resources relating to diabetes awareness.
How can you help make this program available to the practices in your area?Talk about it with every practice you visit… so you can build awareness and truly make a difference.Your involvement can be HUGE!Matthew Krecic, DVM, MS, MBA, DACVIM (SA) told us, "Many veterinarians do not like managing diabetic pets. Diagnosis is easy, but successfully regulating them is extremely difficult. Similar to identifying a key technical staff member, clinics should try to identify a veterinarian or two within the practice that enjoys working with diabetic pets and their owners. Veterinarians will lose clients because of perceived lack of interest/expertise/time to help them manage their diabetic pets. Veterinary-specific diabetic tests and products are intended to help veterinarians successfully manage their patients and clients." You can open the door to a discussion about this.In addition, Dr. Krecic said, "Possibly, practices are sporadically using AlphaTRAK or a veterinary-specific insulin like Vetsulin. (When meeting with a doctor,) try to glean his/her experiences with successfully managing a diabetic pet — what products did he/she use here? Through the Diabetes Pet Care Alliance, veterinarians can take advantage of additional tools to make their clients aware of the clinical signs of diabetes so that more patients can be screened, diagnosed and treated."In essence, providing a complimentary veterinary-specific glucose meter, canine/feline-specific insulin, and an appropriate diabetic pet diet lessens the upfront financial commitment of the pet owner and importantly demonstrates your medical commitment to provide the best care for his/her diabetic pet.Once again, you're often the conduit to clinics learning about opportunities like this.
Enrollment is lImited!Tell each practice you visit, right away… since the program can only accommodate the first 500 veterinary practices that enroll.
- Three leading providers of diabetic pet treatment supplies have come together to offer no-charge starter products for pets diagnosed with diabetes.
- Right now, veterinary clinics are invited to enroll and participate in the Diabetes Pet Care Alliance™ by visiting www.usa.petdiabetesmonth.com. As part of National Diabetes Month, this special program will kick off November 1 and run through December 31, 2015.
- Participating clinics will receive client education tools from the Alliance to aid with diabetes awareness and screenings (a poster discussing pet diabetes and a tabletop tear-pad with the symptoms of diabetes). Additionally, owners whose pets are diagnosed during this program will receive a free Diabetes Pet Care Alliance disease management kit from participating clinics. These management kits include the following (you should have received brochures you can use to detail the products):
5 More tips to help improve diabetes management in your area:
- Suggest a review of 2010 AAHA Diabetes Management Guidelines (Canine/Feline) and the 2015 ISFM (International Society of Feline Medicine) Consensus Guidelines on the Practical Management of Diabetes Mellitus in Cats (published in the January 2015 issue of the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery).
- Suggest review of http://www.alphatrakmeter.com.
- Inquire about the frequency of diabetic pets they manage. Look for posters/announcements with information about diabetes. Look at the caged animals — any admitted for a blood glucose curve?
- Leverage the relationships you have with key technical staff at these clinics. Inquire about technical staff involvement with communications toward owners of diabetic pets… and help the team identify a technical staff member that could effectively and proficiently liaise between pet owner and veterinarian. This helps to ensure that the responsibility of the diabetic pet is shared between the technical staff member and veterinarian.
- Encourage the use of veterinary-specific diabetic products as medically appropriate, including a glucose meter and insulin. Note that the income is retained within the hospital — and helps bond clients to the hospital.
For more information, visit the veterinary section of PetDiabetesMonth.com.
- Feline diabetes mellitus in the UK: The prevalence within an insured cat population and a questionnaire-based putative risk factor analysis. McCann TM, Simpson KE, Shaw DJ, et al. J Feline Med Surg 9:289-299, 2007.
- Canine diabetes mellitus; can old dogs teach us new tricks? Catchpole B, Ristic JM, Fleeman LM,Davison LJ. Diabetologia 48:1948-1956, 2005.