PLoS One. 2022 Aug 5;17(8):e0272297. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0272297. eCollection 2022.
The diagnosis of type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM) in humans is associated with high altitude, few sunshine hours, cold climate, and winter. The goals of this study were to investigate seasonal and geographic patterns of DM diagnosis in United States of America (USA) dogs with juvenile and mature onset DM. Data were collected by means of an online survey widely distributed in the USA through breed clubs, academic veterinary institutions, private veterinary referral practices, social media outlets, and the American Kennel Club. Juvenile DM (JDM) and mature onset DM were defined as DM with an age of onset <365 days and DM with an age of onset ≥365 days, respectively. Meteorological seasons were defined as: winter from December through February, spring from March through May, summer from June through August, and fall from September through November. Four geographic regions were also defined as the West, North, South, and Central regions of the USA. Nonoverlapping 95% confidence intervals (CI) for season, geographic region, and breed specific proportions of dogs with JDM were considered statistically significantly different. The study included 933 dogs with mature onset DM and 27 dogs with JDM. Dogs were diagnosed with DM significantly more in the winter and northern USA compared to all other seasons and all other geographic regions, respectively. The prevalence of JDM among dogs with DM was 2.8%. The proportion of dogs with JDM among pure breeds was not significantly different than the proportion of JDM in mixed breed dogs. It is concluded that winter and cold climate could be shared environmental factors influencing DM expression in dogs and humans. Additionally, pure breed dogs do not appear to be at increased risk for JDM compared to mixed breed dogs, indicating that factors other than genetics could influence spontaneous JDM development in dogs.