Priorities on treatment and monitoring of diabetic cats from the owners’ point of view

Carolina Albuquerque, Bretta L Bauman, Sarah MA Caney, Danielle Gunn-Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Objectives: The aims of this study were to evaluate i) the owners’ perceptions and priorities on the treatment and monitoring of feline diabetes mellitus (DM), ii) the perceived effectiveness of the communication between veterinarians and clients regarding disease management, iii) the impact DM has on the owners’ everyday life and human-pet bond. Methods: An initial questionnaire, then an adapted second questionnaire, were available to owners of cats with DM on VetProfessionals.com. Results: A total of 748 questionnaires were completed. At diagnosis, less than half of veterinarians discussed how to recognise unstable diabetes (46%) or home blood glucose monitoring (HBGM) (40%). Owners were disappointed that the importance of diet on diabetic remission/stabilisation and HBGM were not discussed. Only 49% of respondents were supervised by a veterinarian/veterinary nurse while first drawing up insulin and injecting their cat. Websites/online forums that owners found themselves were most useful when learning about their cat’s diabetes (76% agreed). Over a third of cats (39%) were not fed a ‘diabetic’ diet but, impressively, 71% of owners used HBGM. Initial concerns about costs, boarding, the effect on their daily life, and potential negative impact on the human-pet bond, reduced significantly after initiating treatment (P < 0.0001). Conclusions and Relevance: Caring for a diabetic cat requires significant owner commitment, plus support by the veterinary team for the owner and their cat. It is difficult to discuss all aspects of this complex disease with the owner in a single consultation; hence, it is important to involve the entire veterinary team in owner education and provide owners with informative material (e.g., websites, printouts). Understanding owners’ priorities, fears, and which monitoring methods have helped others, is paramount to achieve owner compliance and satisfaction, and so improve the health and welfare of diabetic cats. This study provides useful information on the management of feline DM, which can be instrumental in educating future owners
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Feline Medicine and Surgery
Early online date26 Jun 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Jun 2019

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Feline diabetes mellitus
  • treatment
  • monitoring
  • owner
  • priorities
  • perceptions
  • preferences

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