Dogs share risk of type 2 diabetes with their owners
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Dogs share risk of type 2 diabetes with their owners

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A Swedish study has shown that people with type 2 diabetes are much more likely to have a dog with type 2 diabetes when compared with pet owners with healthy companions.

A team at Uppsala University compared data from 208,980 dog and 123,566 cat "families" and discovered that people with type 2 diabetes are 38 more likely to have a dog suffering from the same condition.

No shared risk of diabetes was found between cat owners and their pets.

Interestingly, the study shows that personal and socioeconomic circumstances of the dog owners could not explain the link.

This means that the unhealthy behaviour traits – such as inactivity and bad diet – of the owner could be the cause for both their and the dog's diabetes. It has been previously shown that diet and obesity can influence the risk of type 2 diabetes in both animals and humans.

"In this large cohort study, we found that ownership of a dog with diabetes was associated with type 2 diabetes in the dog owner," the report reads.

"Potential underlying mechanisms for our findings on diabetes in owner-dog pairs possibly include shared health behaviours such as level of physical activity.

"Dietary habits of the dog owners might influence their pets’ diet and risk of adiposity — for example through portion control, frequency of feedings, and whether owners provide table scraps in addition to dog food.

"The use and timing of dog treats has been associated with the weight of owners, suggesting an interplay between the weight of a dog owner and energy intake in the pet.

"Although it has been assumed that diabetes in Dogs has an autoimmune origin because of the insulinopenic presentation, other studies emphasise the heterogeneity of the pathogenesis of diabetes in dogs and have identified obesity as a risk factor for the development of diabetes."

To read the full study, published in the British Medical Journal, click here.

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A Swedish study has shown that people with type 2 diabetes are much more likely to have a dog with type 2 diabetes when compared with pet owners with healthy companions.
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