New oral hypoglycaemic agent for feline diabetes to be discussed at BSAVA Congress 2024

19 February 2024

The very recent release of an oral hypoglycaemic agent (SGLT2-inhibitor) for feline diabetes mellitus is widely predicted to transform the management of this condition in primary care clinical practice.

The ‘Advances in Diabetes’ module, taking place at BSAVA Congress 2024 in Manchester Central is set to explore the new SGLT2-inhibitor, and understand why they work well in many cases of feline (but not canine) diabetes. Delegates will be able to hear first-hand from the clinical researchers and specialists who have used these drugs, such as Dr Ellen Behrend, Prof Ian Ramsey, Prof Stijn Niessen, and Dr Anna Lena Kramer.

Speaking as part of the module, Professor in Internal Medicine at the Royal Veterinary College, Stijn Niessen said: “Although not suited as a sole therapeutic for dogs, the current data suggests that a majority of diabetic cats could be treated with once daily oral formulations of these drugs.

“Some of the past barriers to successful long term diabetic treatment included the owner having to inject insulin twice daily and having to watch for hypoglycaemia. These lifelong impacts on the owner’s lifestyle are now being taken away.”

Delegates will also be able to learn about advances in the monitoring of canine diabetes, such as the use of Freestyle Libre monitors and haemoglobin A1c, as well as a review of recent developments and management practices for ‘complicated’ cases. Niessen continued: “Gone are the days that we saw diabetes mellitus as a disease; instead, it is the consequence of one or many diseases.

“As such we now ought to approach diabetic cases with a much more open mind and being willing to try and determine the exact aetiology of the diabetes mellitus, doing so can pay off and prevent a diabetic case from becoming a complicated case.”

Dr Ellen Behrend, who is speaking alongside Stijn, added: “Although diabetic ketoacidosis is no more common with the use of SGLT2-inhibitors, it is more likely to be euglycemic with a blood glucose <13.9 mmol/L. The recognition of euglycemic ketoacidosis and the correct approach of treatment is crucial.”

Niessen concluded: “Each patient is an individual and therefore diagnosis, treatment and monitoring practices should be adapted to the individual pet-owner combination. Vets must adjust their approaches significantly when using these drugs, the ‘Advances in Diabetes’ module will provide an in-depth look at these adjustments.”

Delegates will also be able to get their hands on the brand new fifth edition of the BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Endocrinology, which includes a chapter on feline diabetes mellitus that discusses various treatments including the use of SGLT2-inhibitors. Jacquie Rand, author of the chapter said: “SGLT2-Inhibitors will be a game-changer for diabetic cats and their owners. However, it is important that cats are diagnosed earlier in the disease process while some insulin secretory capacity is present, for these to be used as the sole drug therapy.”

The BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Endocrinology will be available to purchase on the BSAVA Publications Stand in the Exhibition Hall. ‘Advances in Diabetes’ will take place on Thursday 21st March in the Exchange Hall.

Registration for BSAVA members starts at just £115 +VAT for a one-day event pass. To book your ticket for BSAVA Congress 2024, visit the website: