Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Pill shows promise for shortening diabetes treatment in cats

When Mark Winterenheimer’s 12-year-old tabby cat was diagnosed with diabetes last year, the treatment was grueling: twice-daily insulin injections, an implanted monitor and frequent visits to the vet.

Despite his objections, Winterheimer and his wife, Courtney, of New Albany, Indiana, learned to give Oliver his injections.

“To us, they are part of the family,” Winterheimer said of Oliver and his two other cats, Ella and Theo. “You shall not deny medical care to another family member if it is available.”

Now, a once-daily pill promises to make it easier to treat feline diabetes in newly diagnosed animals without the need for injections.

A cat veterinarian at Texas A&M University, Dr. Audrey Cook said, “A bullet is a bigger step than a needle.”

But there’s a caveat: The pill, called Bexacat, can’t be used in cats, like Oliver, who were previously on insulin.

The biggest advantage, according to experts, may be the ease of use. While many cat owners successfully treat their cats with insulin twice a day, sometimes for years, others struggle. Studies show that one in 10 cats are euthanized by their owners after being diagnosed with diabetes. Another 10% of cats are euthanized within a year, partly because of the difficulties of treatment.

“Some people are afraid to let them inject insulin. Some just don’t have the time to care for their cats,” said Dr. Catherine Scott-Moncrieff, a veterinarian at Purdue University who spoke to Bexacat’s makers about testing the product. was consulted.

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The Associated Press is supported by the Department of Health and Science’s Science and Education Media Group at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Associated Press is solely responsible for all content.

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