Diabetes mellitus is a common endocrinopathy in cats. Most cats suffer from a diabetes similar to type 2-diabetes in humans. There are indications of an increasing incidence of diabetes in cats, as in humans, due to obesity and other lifestyle factors.
The aim was to describe the incidence of diabetes in insured Swedish cats, and the association with different risk factors, such as breed, age and sex.
A cohort of 504,688 cats accounting for 1,229,699 cat-years at risk (CYAR) insured in a large Swedish insurance company from 2009 to 2013. We used reimbursed insurance claims for the diagnosis of diabetes in cats. Overall incidence rates and incidence rates stratified on year, sex, age and breed were estimated.
The overall incidence rate of diabetes was 11.6 cases (95% CI, 11.0–12.2) per 10,000 CYAR. Male cats had twice as high incidence rate (15.4 cases/10,000 CYAR; 95% CI, 14.4–16.4) compared to females (7.6; 95% CI, 6.9–8.3). A significant association with breed was seen, with Burmese (IR 48.8; 95% CI, 31.9–65.7) and Russian Blue (IR 44.1; 95% CI, 21.0–67.2) breeds being at excess risk. No sex predisposition was found among the Burmese cats. The Bengal, Siberian, Ragdoll, Birman, British Shorthair, Persian and Maine Coon breeds were at lower risk of diabetes.
Our results verify that the Burmese breed is at excess risk of developing diabetes, and we also identified the Russian Blue as a novel risk breed. Incidence rates of diabetes did not increase during the years 2009–2013.