Veterinary Endocrine and Metabolic Disease Laboratory

The Veterinary Endocrine and Metabolic Disease Laboratory focuses on the evaluation of treatments and preventative strategies for obesity and type II diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in cats, with a specific emphasis on preclinical evaluation of novel and alternative treatment strategies that have potential application in people. The mission of the laboratory encompasses two main objectives:

  • to improve the health and well-being of the pet population
  • to utilize the cat model to investigate treatments for human obesity and T2DM

In search of a preventative intervention or an alternative treatment for diabetes, we recently investigated the ability of experimental infection with human adenovirus 36 (Ad36) to improve glycemic control in cats. The intravenous glucose tolerance test was used to assess insulin sensitivity and computed tomography (CT) was used to evaluate fat volume, both of which are altered when other species are infected with Ad36.

Currently, the laboratory is in the process of evaluating the ability of an avocado extract enriched in mannoheptulose to prevent and treat obesity in cats. The effects of this nutraceutical on insulin sensitivity, fat volume, lipid metabolism, and body weight are being evaluated during this two-year study.

The laboratory has expertise in performing a number of techniques (including the glucose tolerance test and isoglycemic clamp) that are technically challenging in cats, but are essential when evaluating treatments targeting T2DM and obesity.  Additional techniques performed in the laboratory include fat volume measurements, hormone analyses, and assessment of gastric emptying time in cats. 

A recent project utilized the isoglycemic clamp method to evaluate the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of a rapid-acting insulin analog (insulin aspart) in cats.  As part of a follow-up clinical study, we are currently recruiting cats with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) to further evaluate the clinical benefits of rapid-acting insulin analogs.

Specific current investigations include:

  • Evaluation of the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of rapidly-acting insulin analogs in cats, and use of these analogs to treat DKA in cats
  • Use of human adenovirus 36 (Ad36) to improve glycemic control and potentially prevent type II diabetes in cat
  • Evaluation of the ability of a mannoheptulose-enriched avocado extract to prevent and treat obesity and improve glycemic control in cats
  • Evaluation of the effect of feeding on the urinary cortisol to creatinine ratio in dogs
  • Evaluation of the effects of prokinetic drugs and GLP-1 analogs on antral motility and gastric emptying in cats
  • Evaluation of the effects of obesity and feeding an avocado extract on fecal microbiota in healthy cats


The Veterinary Endocrinology Laboratory now recommends using only serum (NOT EDTA plasma) for the measurement of cortisol (resting/baseline, ACTH Stimulation Tests, Dexamethasone Suppression Tests). This recommendation is based on recent work performed in the laboratory that discovered issues with underfilled EDTA Vacutainers (Lavender top). Please contact Dr. Jon Fletcher with questions or concerns. 

Current Clinical Trials

Recent Publications & PresentationsVEMD logo

Lab Personnel

For further information about the lab or its current projects contact Dr. Jon Fletcher at 225.578.9540 or