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Evaluation of routine hematology profile results and fructosamine, thyroxine, insulin, and proinsulin concentrations in lean, overweight, obese, and diabetic cats

Margarethe Hoenig Dr med vet, PhD1, Anne M. Traas DVM, DACT2, and David J. Schaeffer PhD3
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  • 1 Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.
  • | 2 Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc, 2621 N Belt Hwy, St Joseph, MO 64506.
  • | 3 Department of Comparative Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.

Abstract

Objective—To compare results of hematologic testing in nondiabetic and diabetic cats to identify possible indicators of alterations in long-term glucose control.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—117 client-owned cats (76 nondiabetic cats [25 with normal body condition, 27 overweight, and 24 obese] and 41 naïve [n = 21] and treated [20] diabetic cats).

Procedures—Signalment and medical history, including data on feeding practices, were collected. A body condition score was assigned, and feline body mass index was calculated. Complete blood counts and serum biochemical analyses, including determination of fructosamine, thyroxine, insulin, and proinsulin concentrations, were performed. Urine samples were obtained and analyzed.

Results—Glucose and fructosamine concentrations were significantly higher in the naïve and treated diabetic cats than in the nondiabetic cats. Insulin and proinsulin concentrations were highest in the obese cats but had great individual variation. Few other variables were significantly different among cat groups. Most cats, even when obese or diabetic, had unlimited access to food.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that cats at risk of developing diabetes (ie, overweight and obese cats) could not be distinguished from cats with a normal body condition on the basis of results of isolated hematologic testing. A longitudinal study is indicated to follow nondiabetic cats over a period of several years to identify those that eventually develop diabetes. Findings also suggested that dietary education of cat owners might be inadequate.

Abstract

Objective—To compare results of hematologic testing in nondiabetic and diabetic cats to identify possible indicators of alterations in long-term glucose control.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—117 client-owned cats (76 nondiabetic cats [25 with normal body condition, 27 overweight, and 24 obese] and 41 naïve [n = 21] and treated [20] diabetic cats).

Procedures—Signalment and medical history, including data on feeding practices, were collected. A body condition score was assigned, and feline body mass index was calculated. Complete blood counts and serum biochemical analyses, including determination of fructosamine, thyroxine, insulin, and proinsulin concentrations, were performed. Urine samples were obtained and analyzed.

Results—Glucose and fructosamine concentrations were significantly higher in the naïve and treated diabetic cats than in the nondiabetic cats. Insulin and proinsulin concentrations were highest in the obese cats but had great individual variation. Few other variables were significantly different among cat groups. Most cats, even when obese or diabetic, had unlimited access to food.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that cats at risk of developing diabetes (ie, overweight and obese cats) could not be distinguished from cats with a normal body condition on the basis of results of isolated hematologic testing. A longitudinal study is indicated to follow nondiabetic cats over a period of several years to identify those that eventually develop diabetes. Findings also suggested that dietary education of cat owners might be inadequate.

Contributor Notes

Supported by Boehringer-Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc.

The authors thank Drs. Carrie Burhenn, Colleen Currigan, Deborah Edwards, Diane Eigner, M. Lynn Gulledge, Marcia Levine, Ilona Rodan, Eliza Sundahl, Pam Willis, and Cynthia Bowlin for assistance in patient selection.

Address correspondence to Dr. Hoenig (mhoenig@illinois.edu).