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BANFIELD Pet Health By The Numbers

Focus on Diabetes Mellitus and Seizures

Focus on Diabetes Mellitus and Seizures


In each issue of Today’s Veterinary Practice, Pet Health by the Numbers correlates specific article topics with statistics provided by Banfield Pet Hospital (banfield.com). These statistical data are extracted from the medical records of nearly 2.2 million dogs and 460,000 cats presented to more than 800 Banfield Pet Hospitals in 2012 (seizure data) and almost 2.3 million dogs and 470,00 cats presented to more than 850 Banfield Pet Hospitals in 2013 (diabetes data).

These data are based on clinical diagnoses made by the patients’ veterinarians. It is important to note that the total number of dogs in each category (reproductive, body size) may not be identical because some of the parameters were unavailable in the database. Learn more about Banfield’s data collection process by reading Welcome to Pet Health by the Numbers (January/February 2014 issue).



Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 3.58.03 PM

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 3.58.14 PMPath to Pet Wellness: This vast dataset confirms that diabetes mellitus is a common disease of middle aged to older dogs and cats, and is more prevalent in the feline population. The data may support the commonly held belief that the prevalence of feline diabetes is increasing, as the prevalence in this dataset (0.94%) is higher than that reported in some older studies of primary care populations (0.43% to 0.74%).1-3 Data from U.S. veterinary schools, likely from referral populations of patients, documented an increase in the prevalence of feline diabetes from 1970 (0.08%) to 1999 (1.2%).4 In this dataset, diabetes in cats is more prevalent in males, which supports prior data. However, in dogs the prevalence in males and females is very similar, contradicting the previously cited strong female predilection.5,6 Data regarding body condition score would be interesting, as obesity is a known risk factor for diabetes in humans and is likely a risk factor in dogs and cats as well.—Mark P. Rondeau, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM (Small Animal Internal Medicine)



Considering all pets presented to Banfield Pet Hospitals in 2012:

  • The prevalence of seizures in dogs was 1.11% (24,330 of 2.19 million) and, in cats, 0.25% (1141 of 456,728).
  • Seizures were diagnosed in 1.30% (10,459 of 802,097) of neutered male dogs and 0.86% (2861 of 334,444) of intact male dogs.
  • Seizures were diagnosed in 1.09% (8757 of 799,977) of spayed female dogs and 0.62% (1558 of 252,839) of intact female dogs.

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 3.57.47 PMPath to Pet Wellness: This prevalence data from a large number of animals provides an updated picture of seizures in primary care small animal practice. It is in agreement with previous estimations, which have suggested an incidence of 1% to 2% in dogs and 0.5% to 2% in cats.7,8 This data emphasizes the importance of understanding seizures in small animals, and being familiar with the differential diagnosis and treatment options for controlling acute events and long-term management. Interestingly, the data points out that there appears to be a higher prevalence of seizures in smaller sized animals, neutered animals, and those with overweight body condition. Based on these data, cause and effect are difficult to determine; for example, polyphagia is reported by owners as an important side effect of first-line anticonvulsant medications. This underscores the importance of understanding the risks and side effects of anti-epileptic drugs, as well as maintaining pets in good body condition.—Evelyn Galban, MS, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM (Neurology)


  1. Baral RM, Rand JS, Catt MJ, et al. Prevalence of feline diabetes mellitus in a feline private practice. J Vet Intern Med 2003; 17:433-434 (abstract).
  2. McCann TM, Simpson KE, Shaw DJ, et al. Feline diabetes mellitus in the UK: The prevalence within an insured cat population and a questionnaire-based putative risk factor analysis. J Feline Med Surg 2007; 9:289-299.
  3. Lederer R, Rand JS, Jonsson NN, et al. Frequency of feline diabetes mellitus and breed predisposition in domestic cats in Australia. Vet J 2009; 179:254-258.
  4. Prahl A, Glickman L, Guptil L, et al. Time trends and risk factors for diabetes mellitus in cats. J Vet Intern Med 2003; 17:434 (abstract).
  5. Marmor M, Willeberg P, Glickman LT, et al. Epizootiologic patterns of diabetes mellitus in dogs. Am J Vet Res 1982; 43:465-470.
  6. Fall T, Hamlin HH, Hedhammar A, et al. Diabetes mellitus in a population of 180,000 insured dogs: Incidence, survival and breed distribution. J Vet Intern Med 2007; 21:1209-1216.
  7. Schriefl S, Steinberg TA, Matiasek K, et al. Etiologic classification of seizures, signalment, clinical signs and outcome in cats with seizure disorders: 91 cases (2000-2004). JAVMA 2008; 233:1591-1597.
  8. LeCouteur RA. Seizures and epilepsy. Manual of Small Animal Neurology, 2nd ed. Gloucestershire, UK: BSAVA, 1995.