Title: The shared risk of diabetes between dog and cat owners and their pets: register based cohort study
Author: Rachel Ann Delicano, Ulf Hammar, Agneta Egenvall, Carri Westgarth, Mwenya Mubanga, Liisa Byberg, Tove Fall, Beatrice Kennedy
Objective To investigate whether dog and cat owners and their pets share a risk of developing diabetes.
Design Cohort study.
Setting Register based longitudinal study, Sweden.
Participants 208980 owner-dog pairs and 123566 owner-cat pairs identified during a baseline assessment period (1 January 2004 to 31 December 2006).
Main outcome measures Type 2 diabetes events in dog and cat owners and diabetes events in their pets, including date of diagnosis during the follow-up period (1 January 2007 to 31 December 2012). Owners with type 2 diabetes were identified by combining information from the National Patient Register, the Cause of Death Register, and the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register. Information on diabetes in the pets was extracted from veterinary care insurance data. Multi-state models were used to assess the hazard ratios with 95% confidence intervals and to adjust for possible shared risk factors, including personal and socioeconomic circumstances.
Results The incidence of type 2 diabetes during follow-up was 7.7 cases per 1000 person years at risk in dog owners and 7.9 cases per 1000 person years at risk in cat owners. The incidence of diabetes in the pets was 1.3 cases per 1000 dog years at risk and 2.2 cases per 1000 cat years at risk. The crude hazard ratio for type 2 diabetes in owners of a dog with diabetes compared with owners of a dog without diabetes was 1.38 (95% confidence interval 1.10 to 1.74), with a multivariable adjusted hazard ratio of 1.32 (1.04 to 1.68). Having an owner with type 2 diabetes was associated with an increased hazard of diabetes in the dog (crude hazard ratio 1.28, 1.01 to 1.63), which was attenuated after adjusting for owner’s age, with the confidence interval crossing the null (1.11, 0.87 to 1.42). No association was found between type 2 diabetes in cat owners and diabetes in their cats (crude hazard ratio 0.99, 0.74 to 1.34, and 1.00, 0.78 to 1.28, respectively).
Conclusions Data indicated that owners of a dog with diabetes were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes during follow-up than owners of a dog without diabetes. It is possible that dogs with diabetes could serve as a sentinel for shared diabetogenic health behaviours and environmental exposures.