Diabetes mellitus in elkhounds is associated with diestrus and pregnancy

J Vet Intern Med. Nov-Dec 2010;24(6):1322-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-1676.2010.0630.x.


Background: Female Elkhounds are shown to be at increased risk for diabetes mellitus, and occurrence of diabetes during pregnancy has been described in several cases.

Hypothesis: Onset of diabetes mellitus in Elkhounds is associated with diestrus.

Animals: Sixty-three Elkhounds with diabetes mellitus and 26 healthy controls.

Methods: Medical records from 63 Elkhounds with diabetes were reviewed and owners were contacted for follow-up information. Blood samples from the day of diagnosis were available for 26 dogs. Glucose, fructosamine, C-peptide, growth hormone (GH), insulin-like growth factor-1, progesterone, and glutamate decarboxylase isoform 65-autoantibodies were analyzed and compared with 26 healthy dogs. Logistic models were used to evaluate the association of clinical variables with the probability of diabetes and with permanent diabetes mellitus after ovariohysterectomy (OHE).

Results: All dogs in the study were intact females and 7 dogs (11%) were pregnant at diagnosis. The 1st clinical signs of diabetes mellitus occurred at a median of 30 days (interquartile range [IQR], 3-45) after estrus, and diagnosis was made at a median of 46 days (IQR, 27-62) after estrus. Diabetes was associated with higher concentrations of GH and lower concentrations of progesterone compared with controls matched for time after estrus. Forty-six percent of dogs that underwent OHE recovered from diabetes with a lower probability of remission in dogs with higher glucose concentrations (odds ratio [OR], 1.2; P=.03) at diagnosis and longer time (weeks) from diagnosis to surgery (OR, 1.5; P=.05).

Conclusions: Diabetes mellitus in Elkhounds develops mainly during diestrus and pregnancy. Immediate OHE improves the prognosis for remission of diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diabetes, Gestational / etiology
  • Diabetes, Gestational / veterinary*
  • Diestrus / metabolism*
  • Dog Diseases / etiology*
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Logistic Models
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors