Canine Diabetes Mellitus- Preliminary Evaluation of Testing Methods

Dr. Allison O'Kell examines Finn, a 4-year-old black Lab, before drawing a blood sample for a study she is involved in relating to diabetes in dogs and in people.

Dr. Allison O’Kell examines Finn, a 4-year-old, healthy black Lab, before drawing a blood sample for a canine diabetes study she is leading.

The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is currently recruiting dogs with diabetes for a clinical research study. The study will evaluate blood tests that may help determine the cause of canine diabetes and help predict which dogs may develop the disease.

  • Inclusion Criteria: Dogs with a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus that weigh at least 5 kg (11 lbs). Breed matched healthy control dogs are also needed (especially the following: Cairn Terrier, Toy Poodle, Norwich Terrier, Chihuahua, Miniature Pinscher, Miniature Schnauzer, Standard Schnauzer, English Setter, Yorkshire Terrier, Silky Terrier, Dachshund, Labrador retriever, Pomeranian, West Highland White Terrier, Maltese (or mix), small mixed breed dogs (11-20 lbs))
  • Exclusion criteria: Dogs suspect of having pregnancy associated or diestrus diabetes.
  • Procedures: Blood will be collected (up to 10 mL (2 tsp) from a vein. This blood can be collected in conjunction with a regular Small Animal Hospital appointment, or can be set up as a separate research visit.
  • Costs: The study will cover the cost of the blood collected specifically for the study. No other costs will be covered.
  • Contact:  aokell@ufl.edu
  • PI: Allison O’Kell, DVM, MS, DACVIM   (352) 294-4471

Background:

Diabetes mellitus is an important health problem in both dogs and people. Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is caused by destruction of cells in the pancreas. This leads to a lack of a hormone produced in the pancreas called insulin that is responsible for decreasing blood sugar levels. T1D in people is caused by an attack by the body’s own immune system on cells in the pancreas (aka autoimmunity). Despite years of research, the exact reason for this immune attack is not known. Canine diabetes is similar to T1D in people and may also be due to autoimmunity, however research so far has not given a clear answer. In order to determine the cause of diabetes in dogs and to determine whether these dogs can be used as a model for the disease in people, more research is needed. There are several testing methods used to predict diabetes in people that have not yet been studied fully in dogs. The purpose of this study is to investigate the use of a variety of these blood tests in the study of canine diabetes.