If you have a dog with diabetes, you better have a review because according to a study published in « BMJ»Owners of a dog with diabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those whose dog does not have this disease. But nevertheless, the same does not happen with cats.
Previous studies had seen a possible association between excess fat in dog owners and their pets. But could there also be a shared risk of diabetes for pet owners and their dogs and cats?
In this study, coordinated by researchers from the Uppsala University (Sweden), information on pet owners residing in Sweden was analyzed. More than 175,000 dog owners and almost 90,000 cat owners and their pets were included.
The dog and cat owners were all middle-aged or older at the beginning of the study and were followed for a maximum period of six years.. Next, the researchers looked at the incidence of type 2 diabetes in pet owners and of canine and feline diabetes in dogs and cats.
The main finding was that, compared to owning a dog without diabetes, owning a dog with diabetes was associated with a 38% higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
And this increased elevated risk for dog owners cannot be explained by the owners’ age, sex, or socioeconomic circumstances, or by the age, sex, or breed of the dogs.
‘Our results indicate that having a dog with diabetes could indicate an increased risk that the dog owner will also develop type 2 diabetes. We have not had access to information on lifestyle behaviors, but we believe that the association could be due to patterns shared physical activity and possibly shared eating habits as well as the shared risk of fat accumulation. If shared exercise habits are indeed a key factor, they could help explain why this risk of diabetes does not exist in cat owners and in their cats“Explains Beatrice Kennedy, one of the study’s authors.
Canine diabetes requires lifelong insulin therapy. It is most often diagnosed in older dogs and in females that have not been spayed (neutered).
‘Humans and dogs have lived together for at least 15,000 years and continue to share their lives. In this study, we show that there may be common environmental and lifestyle factors that influence the risk of diabetes in the home, both in dogs and their owners, ”says Tove Fall, lead author of the study.