Gestational diabetes mellitus in 13 dogs

J Vet Intern Med. 2008 Nov-Dec;22(6):1296-300. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-1676.2008.0199.x. Epub 2008 Oct 3.


Background: There are few reports on the clinical appearance, prognosis, and risk factors for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in dogs.

Objective: To describe the clinical characteristics of GDM in dogs.

Animals: Thirteen dogs with GDM.

Methods: Retrospective study. Medical records were reviewed and owners and referring veterinarians were contacted for follow-up information.

Results: Nordic Spitz breeds (11/13 dogs) were overrepresented in the case material. Diagnosis was established at a median of 50 days after mating (range, 32-64). Median glucose concentration at diagnosis was 340 mg/dL (18.9 mmol/L) (range, 203-587). One dog was euthanized at diagnosis, 5 bitches were treated with insulin until whelping, and in 7 dogs, pregnancy was terminated within 4 days of diagnosis. One dog died after surgery. Tight glycemic control was not achieved in any of the insulin-treated dogs during pregnancy. Diabetes mellitus (DM) resolved in 7 dogs at a median of 9 days after the end of their pregnancies and DM was permanent in 4 dogs. Puppy mortality was increased compared with offspring of healthy dams.

Conclusion: This report suggests that GDM affects mainly middle-aged bitches in the 2nd half of pregnancy with a breed predisposition toward Nordic Spitz breeds. GDM may resolve within days to weeks after pregnancy has ended. Further research is needed to investigate optimal treatment regimens for dogs with GDM and risk factors for unsuccessful outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes, Gestational / diagnosis
  • Diabetes, Gestational / pathology
  • Diabetes, Gestational / veterinary*
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies