Koala with Diabetes at San Diego Zoo Receives Help from Dexcom G6
A group of San Diego based experts came together June 1, 2018 to help a koala with diabetes at the San Diego Zoo. The koala, a male named Quincy, has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Media release from the San Diego Zoo, Dexcom and Scripps Health
The experts, representing veterinarians, endocrinologists from Scripps Health, biotechnology professionals from Dexcom and San Diego Zoo animal care specialists took a course of action designed to better manage Quincy’s blood sugar levels through the application of a glucose monitor.
The Dexcom G6 Continuous Glucose Monitoring System that Quincy is wearing is the latest innovation in diabetes management technology, which started shipping to people with diabetes earlier this month. The sensor and transmitter placed on Quincy sends his blood glucose levels in real time to a smart device monitored by his caretakers. With the new G6 technology, his veterinarians will no longer need to prick his skin multiple times per day to test his blood glucose levels. The Dexcom CGM also has built in alerts and alarms that will proactively notify Quincy’s caretakers before his blood glucose reaches dangerous levels.
Koalas normally sleep during the day and are solitary animals. Animal care staff at the San Diego Zoo hope the new sensor will allow them to get more detail about Quincy’s glucose levels while also reducing the number of times they need to disturb him. "Quincy has an insulin deficiency type of diabetes, and needs insulin to control his blood sugar levels and ensure he gets the energy needed to help him build muscle, gain weight and stay healthy much like our human patients," said Athena Philis Tsimikas, M.D., corporate vice president of the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute. "Hypoglycemia abnormally low blood sugar is a safety concern, and the limiting factor to using the right doses of insulin, especially in an animal that can’t tell us their symptoms. The continuous glucose monitoring now allows optimal dosing to best manage Quincy’s diabetes." The application of the monitor went smoothly, and animal care staff said they look forward to having information that will help them develop a treatment plan to improve Quincy’s condition. Quincy’s diabetic condition was initially diagnosed by veterinarians at the Los Angeles Zoo, where Quincy was living at the time. He was transferred to the San Diego Zoo for continued advanced diagnosis and treatment. Diabetes has rarely been documented in koalas, and animal care experts do not know what may have triggered this condition in Quincy.