Pilot study evaluating the monitoring of canine diabetes mellitus in primary care practice

24 May 2019

Cartwright, J. A., Cobb, M., Dunning, M. D.

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This study aimed to describe how canine diabetes mellitus (CDM) is monitored in primary care practice (PCP) and to report outcomes.


Retrospective case review.




40 dogs of 22 different pedigrees and five crossbreeds. Median age at diagnosis was nine years and six months (eight years six months to 10 years five months). Dogs were diagnosed with CDM between January 1, 2008 and December 30, 2012 and remained with the practice to the study end or until death.

Primary and secondary outcome measures

Stability achievement and death or euthanasia. Consultations for each dog were identified and recorded through records collected from the PCP (January 1, 2008 to December 30, 2012).


A median of three consultations per dog occurred in the first month, subsequently falling to a median of one consultation every 19 days thereafter. After the first month postdiagnosis, weight and single blood glucose concentrations were most frequently recorded at 66.8 and 42 per cent of consultations respectively and a blood glucose curve was performed infrequently (17.4 per cent). Serum biochemistry was measured at 8 per cent of consultations and urine culture at only 0.8 per cent. Median survival time (MST) for all dogs was eight months (2–21 months). Eighteen dogs stabilised within three months of diagnosis and their MST was 20.5 months, (10.25–25.75 months), significantly longer than the 22 dogs not achieving stability within three months (MST 2.5 months, 0–5.5 months) (P<0.001). Those dogs not surviving beyond the first month had significantly fewer consultations than those still alive (P<0.005).


This pilot study indicates dogs with CDM managed solely in PCP experience limited monitoring tests and have lower MST than reported in the literature. Recruitment of a larger cohort of CDM cases from a larger number of PCP will help determine whether these results accurately represent this demographic and verify if infrequent testing is associated with a poor outcome. Importantly, prospective evaluation of decision-making around monitoring CDM in PCP is required, to help determine the effectiveness and feasibility of more frequent monitoring strategies, such as those recommended by the American Animal Hospital Association, particularly to influence MST.