Epizootiologic patterns of diabetes mellitus in cats: 333 cases (1980-1986)

David L. Panciera From the Departments of Medical Sciences (Panciera), Pathobiological Sciences (Thomas) and Surgical Sciences (Eicker) School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, 2015 Linden Dr W, Madison, WI 53706, and Department of Companion Animal and Special Species Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, 4700 Hillsborough St, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606 (Atkins).

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Chester B. Thomas From the Departments of Medical Sciences (Panciera), Pathobiological Sciences (Thomas) and Surgical Sciences (Eicker) School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, 2015 Linden Dr W, Madison, WI 53706, and Department of Companion Animal and Special Species Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, 4700 Hillsborough St, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606 (Atkins).

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Steven W. Eicker From the Departments of Medical Sciences (Panciera), Pathobiological Sciences (Thomas) and Surgical Sciences (Eicker) School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, 2015 Linden Dr W, Madison, WI 53706, and Department of Companion Animal and Special Species Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, 4700 Hillsborough St, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606 (Atkins).

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Clarke E. Atkins From the Departments of Medical Sciences (Panciera), Pathobiological Sciences (Thomas) and Surgical Sciences (Eicker) School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, 2015 Linden Dr W, Madison, WI 53706, and Department of Companion Animal and Special Species Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, 4700 Hillsborough St, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606 (Atkins).

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Summary

Medical records from 333 cats with diabetes mellitus were studied retrospectively, using epidemiologic methods to determine the incidence of and risk factors for diabetes mellitus in this species. Abstracts were derived, using the Veterinary Medical Data Program with its 17 participating academic institutions in the United States and Canada. A reference population of 135,651 cats was derived from the same hospital population and time span (july 1980 to June 1986).

The incidence of diabetes mellitus in cats was determined to be 2.45 cases/1,000 cat-years-of-risk during the 6-year study period. Breed had no detectable effect on risk for diabetes mellitus. In contrast, body weight, age, gender, and neutering had a significant (P ≤ 0.01) effect. Body weight of cats was categorized as being < or ≥ 6.8 kg. The higher body weight, probably indicating obesity, contributed a 2.2-fold increase in risk, even after adjustment for age and gender (adjusted odds ratio). The etiologic fraction for high body weight was 3.8%, suggesting that an estimated 3.8% of cases of diabetes mellitus was attributable to this factor alone. Over 50% of diabetic cats were > 10 years old, and the etiologic fraction for age > 7 years alone was 73.5%. Age was a significant (P < 0.001) and the most important single risk factor for development of the disease in cats, with adjusted odds ratios of 8.3 and 14.4 for age 7 to 10 years and > 10 years, respectively. Unlike human beings and dogs, male cats were at 1.5 times greater risk for developing diabetes mellitus than were females, and neutered cats were at nearly twice the risk as sexually intact cats. The adjusted odds-risk ratio for neutered males, sexually intact males, spayed females, and sexually intact females was 2.8, 2.1, 1.9, and 1, respectively.

Summary

Medical records from 333 cats with diabetes mellitus were studied retrospectively, using epidemiologic methods to determine the incidence of and risk factors for diabetes mellitus in this species. Abstracts were derived, using the Veterinary Medical Data Program with its 17 participating academic institutions in the United States and Canada. A reference population of 135,651 cats was derived from the same hospital population and time span (july 1980 to June 1986).

The incidence of diabetes mellitus in cats was determined to be 2.45 cases/1,000 cat-years-of-risk during the 6-year study period. Breed had no detectable effect on risk for diabetes mellitus. In contrast, body weight, age, gender, and neutering had a significant (P ≤ 0.01) effect. Body weight of cats was categorized as being < or ≥ 6.8 kg. The higher body weight, probably indicating obesity, contributed a 2.2-fold increase in risk, even after adjustment for age and gender (adjusted odds ratio). The etiologic fraction for high body weight was 3.8%, suggesting that an estimated 3.8% of cases of diabetes mellitus was attributable to this factor alone. Over 50% of diabetic cats were > 10 years old, and the etiologic fraction for age > 7 years alone was 73.5%. Age was a significant (P < 0.001) and the most important single risk factor for development of the disease in cats, with adjusted odds ratios of 8.3 and 14.4 for age 7 to 10 years and > 10 years, respectively. Unlike human beings and dogs, male cats were at 1.5 times greater risk for developing diabetes mellitus than were females, and neutered cats were at nearly twice the risk as sexually intact cats. The adjusted odds-risk ratio for neutered males, sexually intact males, spayed females, and sexually intact females was 2.8, 2.1, 1.9, and 1, respectively.

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