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Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of canine diabetes mellitus (DM) in primarycare clinics in England, to identify risk factors associated with DM and to describe the survival of affected dogs.

Methods: Cases of DM were identified within the electronic patient records of 89 small-animal practices. A nested case-control study identified risk factors for the diagnosis of DM using logistic regression models. Cox proportional hazards models were used to analyse variables associated with survival.

Results: Four-hundred and thirty-nine canine DM cases were identified, giving an apparent prevalence of 0.34% (95% confidence interval 0.31 - 0.37%). Neutered males were at an increased risk of diabetes compared to entire males, whereas neutering was not associated with DM in females. Compared with crossbred dogs, Yorkshire terriers had increased odds, whereas German shepherd dogs and golden retrievers had lower odds of DM. Being classified as overweight and having a diagnosis of pancreatitis, hyperadrenocorticism or a urinary tract infection were positively associated with DM. Older dogs and those diagnosed with pancreatitis had a higher hazard of death, whereas insured and neutered dogs had a lower hazard.

Clinical significance: This study provides an objective assessment of canine DM using primary-care veterinary practice data and is a valuable benchmark against which future epidemiological trends in DM can be assessed and improvements in the management of DM in primary-care practice can be judged.


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