Merck rolls out smartphone app for pet diabetes tracking

Merck diabetes app for pets

Pet health management apps are picking up steam and Merck is getting in on the trend. The company is rolling out a free app that lets pet owners monitor their animal’s diabetes through a smartphone or tablet.

The app, called Pet Diabetes Tracker, allows owners to enter information about a pet’s blood glucose levels, food and water consumption, body condition and weight. The system then gives the owners reports about their pet’s condition. It also can send information to the animal’s vet.

Merck’s app also has insulin management features. Pet owners can use the technology to track the amount of insulin they give to pets and set reminders for when their animals need another dose.

“To help ensure the long-term health and well-being of a pet, successfully managing the various facets of the disease and treatment is critical,” Merck Animal Health’s DVM and Associate Director of Science Marketing Affairs Madeleine Stahl said in a statement. “I think pet owners--especially those with a newly diagnosed pet--will find this app an incredibly useful tool because it puts all the pertinent diabetic health information at their fingertips.” 

Merck’s app comes at a critical moment. Diabetes mellitus in dogs and cats ranges from at least one in 100 to one in 500, the company said in a statement. And the number of dogs diagnosed with the condition has tripled during the past 30 years.

A rise in pet obesity could be feeding into the problem. More animals are getting fat and owners remain ignorant about their pet’s condition. In 2014, more than 90% of pet owners incorrectly labeled their pets as normal weight even though more than half of cats and dogs were obese, according to study results released last year from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.

Another contributing factor is the “humanization” of the pets’ lifestyle and environment, global animal medicines association HealthforAnimals said in a recent report. More owners are overindulging their pets by feeding them too much or not giving them enough exercise. This could lead to obesity and other chronic conditions such as diabetes and arthritis.

"Pet obesity is a serious problem with significant health and welfare implications for animals. Fortunately, there are many ways in which the animal health industry is tackling pet health problems, through education and promoting responsible pet ownership," Carel du Marchie Sarvaas, executive director of HealthforAnimals, said in a statement.

- read the release

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