Rise of the diapetics... cats and dogs being fed to death by ‘caring’ owners
IT HAS been described as Britain’s biggest health threat, costing the NHS in Scotland more than a quarter of a million pounds a day.
Now the diabetes epidemic, fuelled by soaring levels of obesity, is spreading to our pets – as figures show 30,000 dogs and 55,000 cats have the life-threatening disease.
And 10 per cent of pets with diabetes have to be put down as owners fail to manage the condition.
As in human type 2 diabetes, poor diet and lack of exercise are largely to blame, with owners accused of indulging their animals with unsuitable foods, or failing to take dogs on long enough walks.
According to veterinary charity The People’s Dispensary For Sick Animals, almost half of all dogs and a third of cats seen by vets are classed as overweight or obese.
Nurse Kristina Shirley said: ‘Pets who are the right weight are less likely to develop diabetes. Many owners don’t know whether their pet is overweight.
‘We work hard to encourage owners to feed their animals a balanced, age and activity appropriate diet and weigh out their food to avoid excess weight gain.’
A Plymouth animal shelter recently took in what was described as ‘Britain’s fattest dog’.
Bopper, an 11-year-old collie, was 8st, twice the healthy weight and too big to fit into a kennel.
He is now being monitored for diabetes and has been put on a special diet and exercise regime.
RSPCA chief veterinary officer Caroline Allen said: ‘Sadly we do see a growing rise in pets with obesityrelated problems such as diabetes. This is mostly as a result of their lifestyle, including diet and exercise.’
The survey of 1,192 vets conducted by pharmaceutical company MSD Animal Health revealed that one in every 200 cats and one in 300 pet dogs has diabetes.
BIG PROBLEM: Collie Bopper is twice his ideal weight