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Owner Crowned Pet Carer of the Year for Dedication to Diabetic Cat

30 March 2015

UK - Audrey Cowley, from Swindon, has been voted Diabetic Pet Carer of the Year, winning the award for her exceptional dedication to managing her cat Symba’s diabetes.

Supported by MSD Animal Health, the awards aim to celebrate the unique commitment and remarkable devotion that it takes for owners to successfully manage the condition in pets, which was launched as part of Pet Diabetes Month which takes place in November.

Nominations of deserving carers of diabetic pets from all over the country were submitted by friends, family and colleagues who recognised their nominee’s outstanding dedication.

However, it was Audrey’s story that particularly warmed the hearts of the panel of judges, winning her the first place prize of a professional photo shoot for her and Symba.

Despite suffering from motor neurone disease (MND) for 28 years which leaves her with various functional difficulties including being unable to walk or talk without difficulty; Audrey has successfully managed Symba’s diabetes for nearly five years.

Management of diabetes in pets usually requires regular insulin injections to be given to control blood sugar levels – typically twice daily for all cats and for most dogs with the condition. Diabetes is one of the most common hormonal diseases of cats and dogs which, like in humans, may be on the increase. Around a third of UK vets say that they believe they are already seeing more cases of diabetes in cats.

It was Audrey’s vet who recognised her extraordinary endeavours and nominated her for the awards: “Audrey is, in short, remarkable - if there is a more deserving recipient of this award I will be surprised.”

Pet Carer Award Judge, Chloe Hukin from Your Cat magazine, agrees and feels that Audrey’s incredible commitment and bond with her cat really stands out: “Despite suffering with MND, Audrey is absolutely dedicated to Symba which must be very difficult. Symba also sounds like a very brave boy – recognising his owner's struggle and making it easier to administer the injections by jumping onto Audrey's lap.”

Despite the challenge of managing diabetes in pets, 90 per cent of cat owners and 70 per cent of dog owners say that having treated their own pet they would ‘without a doubt’ recommend that others in the same position do the same.

For Audrey, this couldn’t be more true: “Despite our difficulties, treating Symba gives him the quality of life he deserves which I wouldn’t change for the world. I’m thrilled to have won this award and will cherish the professional photos of Symba forever.”

Many of the same things that help human diabetics are also available to the owners of diabetic pets. For instance, 95 per cent of human diabetics use medical delivery devices to administer their insulin. A similar device called VetPen®, specifically engineered for dosing pets, makes it easier for owners that are fearful of injections to treat their pet safely and accurately.

Zorica Agbaba, the Product Manager responsible for the MSD’s insulin brand and diabetic support services says: “We are delighted to be able to celebrate the love and commitment that the many owners cross the nation show their diabetic pets. Audrey’s dedication to treating and monitoring Symba’s diabetes is truly inspirational and she certainly deserves the Pet Carer of the Year award – well done Audrey.”

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