The UK’s first diabetic giant anteater has been fitted with a monitor to check its blood glucose levels – which is normally used on humans.
Keepers at Edinburgh Zoo are managing the first reported case of diabetes in a giant anteater with a device used by people with the condition.
Nala, aged 17, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes after exhibiting the same symptoms as humans do.
Staff first discovered something was wrong when she began losing weight despite eating the same amount.
While the condition is known to occur in domestic cats, dogs and in tamandua in the wild, no other cases have been reported in giant anteaters.
Keepers said taking bloods from Nala daily to monitor her blood glucose levels was not an option.
Initially they monitored the levels through urine samples – but they decided to contact companies who produced human glucose monitors to try and find a solution.
Dexcom, a leading provider of the technology, have now donated a monitor to the zoo which allows staff to check Nala’s levels remotely through an app.
Dr Stephanie Mota, resident veterinary surgeon at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland said: “Keepers first discovered something was wrong when Nala was losing weight despite eating the same amount, or sometimes even more, than usual.
“We carried out a full health check under general anaesthetic, running lots of tests and found that Nala has type 1 diabetes.
“Our keepers did an amazing job quickly training Nala to take an insulin injection every day but the challenge for us was how to continuously monitor her blood glucose levels to ensure she was receiving the perfect dose.
“Taking bloods daily was not an option, and we did initially start monitoring the levels through urine samples but we decided to contact some companies who produced human glucose monitors to try and streamline the process, and find a way which would be the least invasive for Nala.
“Dexcom, leading providers of this technology, kindly donated the monitor to our charity and we were able to apply it during one of her training sessions, which now allows us to check her blood glucose levels through an app remotely.
“Due to her lovely personality, Nala is the ideal candidate for this technology which helps us, and her amazing team of keepers, manage her condition in the best possible way.”