Did you have a pet when diagnosed with Type 1?

During a checkup of our 1 year old daughter my wife noticed several red bumps on her abdomen. The pediatrician said they looked like flea bites. (We had a dog and a cat ). Several months later our daughter began acting very moody, like a teenage girl. She continued to often have these mood swings which could be quite strong and hurtful when she rejected attention. One morning when she was 7 we could see from her gaunt appearance that something was obviously wrong. We rushed he to the pediatrician who immediately said she was suffering from ketosis. We then rushed her to Rady Children’s Hospital where they diagnosed Type 1 Diabetes.
My wife, who has a PHENOMENAL memory, noticed several red spots with white specs in the middle which were in the exact same location as the “flea bites” our daughter had as a baby. The nurse told my wife that could be the spot where the virus first entered the body. When my wife asked if Diabetes could be spread by flea bites the nurse just responded that nobody yet knows the cause.
Of course we don’t know either but wonder if there has ever been a study about the correlation of pet ownership and type 1 diabetes.
We have scoured the internet and can find no mention of a study or the possibility that fleas spread a virus that causes type 1 but it certainly seems plausible.Fleas, after all, were responsible for spreading the plague. The warmer the client the higher percentage of people with Type 1 and the warmer the climate the more active fleas are. Some fleas have built up resistance to some flea treatments for pets. It would explain the explosion of the number of cases of type 1.
Of course you don’t need a pet or to work with animals to get a flea bite but it’s a LOT more likely.
This seems a common sense question for anyone doing research into the cause of Type 1 but we don’t see or hear of it EVER being addressed. Doctors and nurses dismiss the question out of hand with thier stock “nobody knows” response.
Does anyone know of ANY survey of children diagnosed with type 1 that asks about pet ownership?
If so, please let us know at prv8eye@gmail.com

Thank you,
Gus and Erin Morrow
Valley Center, CA

Nope, no pets, no flea bites. Disney caused my diabetes.




Until someone disproves it, I suppose it’s a theoretical possibility that the immune system could overreact to a virus and go rogue and start destroying useful things (like beta cells). I don’t recall ever seeing the tiniest reference or scrap of data about it anywhere in the literature, however, so I will treat it as hypothetical until someone produces some actual empirical evidence.

I would assume most T1’s had a pet when diagnosed.

That would be based on a stat that 68% of American households have at least one pet.


Upon diagnosis, our Endo was quite good at redirecting our focus from “how did this happen” to “how do we manage this”.

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The introductory lecture to a dermatology class usually warns the students that the body has a limited repertoire of responses, so it has to double up, showing the same type of signs for many different diseases. So even if the ‘red dots’ on the abdomen were similar, that is not a very clear indication that the condition producing them was the same, or even similar.

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I was 5 when diagnosed T1, and we never had a pet until I was in HS. Before diagnosis, I don’t recall any neighbors or relatives that had pets either. How sad!!! I now have several to make up for all those years.

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Yes, our focus was also quickly redirected to managing the disease.
That we must learn to manage the disease is a no brainer.
It just seems like most everyone affiliated with Type 1 treatment is MUCH
more concerned with selling us obscenely EXPENSIVE supplies to manage
diabetes while showing very little desire to find a cause and a CURE for a
rapidly growing disease that affects mostly people in their childhood years.
Seems like those who specialize in the treatment of AIDS, cancer and other
diseases are much more concerned with finding the cause, prevention and
cure, even when some of these diseases are caused by known BEHAVIOR of the
person who got sick.
Look at the many million$ spent to research other diseases compared,
percentage wise, to diabetes. Tons of money spent to cure those who drink,
smoke or have unprotected sex versus innocent children.
I am NOT a conspiracy nut but I feel like all involved seem much more
interested in selling us $7,000 insulin pumps and tiny $50 containers of
test strips. Can’t see ANY justification for the prices of pump supplies
that pretty consist of just a plastic tube and a needle.
The few trying to find a cure for Type 1 have to BEG for funds and receive
little to nothing from Universities or the government.
I hope I’m wrong on this.

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Hopefully you are exaggerating the prices. If not, there are cheaper options.

There are many people working on a cure for diabetes. I am neither holding my breath nor waiting on such. When it happens then it happens. I am not interested in yet another diabetes study of mice being cured.

What I am interested in is how we can manage this condition NOW. I am also interested in better technology that is real. By that, I mean I don’t want to hear about the greatest thing in the world that is really vaporware and rounds of funding after rounds of funding and no product. I like incremental improvements on technology, real clinical trials, FDA approval and actual product launches.

But I think it is great for some people to think big and push for the long term projects like the cure.

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i grew up with a dog it got killed and never had a nother dog after that one and we had cats and a bird befor i was dex

It might shock you to know that I like cats.


Well, I can’t speak to the pump, but the part about test strips isn’t exaggerated. My last employer medical plan had me ponying up a $50 copay for test strips.

For one container ?

As discussed on other threads, the Contour Next test strips (which are often ranked in reviews as the best) are available on Amazon without even bothering with insurance at about 21 cents per strip. Assuming 50 strips in a vial, why would anybody pay $1 per strip whether they have insurance or not?


I’d put my money on this treatment, in the long run…but, I probably wouldn’t want to take anti rejection drugs. I’d rather keep my 'betes.

I understand your frustration. If you aren’t a conspiracy theorist, you may be within the decade. Almost everybody with a medical condition struggles with healthcare system costs/failures. There’s going to be a painful and expensive learning curve while you get adjusted to healthcare. I’m sorry about that. Its something that I still struggle with after 25 years as a diabetic. The cheapest strips can be purchased, over the counter, at Walmart. Always have a secret stockpile of insulin and supplies for when the system fails. It will. Maybe soon (I had a very difficult time accessing insulin once this year, so far). Disability isn’t all fun and front row parking, LOL.

If you have any questions about a particular device or treatment, feel free to post it. There are lots of us here and, between us, we have tried/used almost everything. We sill tell you everything we know - good and bad.

I had pets all through childhood (hamsters, birds, dogs, cats) but the time I was diagnosed with T1 we had none (well, maybe fish). Weirdly, as an adult I’ve developed severe allergies to dogs and cats (among many things, in addition to allergies I grew up with). Some research has shown that being raised with pets is supposed to reduce the risk of allergies, but it certainly didn’t help me.

I’ve read quite a few books on this subject and the immune system in general, and it’s incredibly complicated. I suspect that there are probably hundreds of combinations of genes and environmental factors that trigger Type 1 diabetes. Heck, when certain genes and environmental triggers are combined, there may even be a third variable: the specific autoimmune condition that develops. Maybe with the same predisposing genes and exposure to the same environmental trigger(s) one kid develops Type 1 diabetes, another kid develops juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, another kid develops celiac disease, and another kid develops Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

I’d be surprised if we can ever prevent autoimmune conditions from being triggered. There are just too many genes, triggers, and immune factors involved. What we will hopefully be able to do at some point is catch the autoimmune attack early enough and have a treatment available so that we can stop the progression before someone develops symptoms.

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I’ve had pets all my life… but that’s got nothing to do with my T1 dx’s (diagnosis).

T1 is CAUSED by one of several genetic anomalies in the Human Leukocyte Antigen complex of our DNA (on chromosome 6) AND a “trigger” - a viral infection that “triggers” an immune system attack on BOTH the invading virus, and the endocrine beta cells of the pancreas (the cells that produce insulin and amylin, two of the glucose-regulatory hormones). Here’s an article that addresses this:


While the exact nature of how this works is not yet understood, what IS understood is that without the genetic anomaly, you don’t get the disease - and the potential triggers are numerous, but the ones that have been positively identified so far are mumps and rubella, and all the enteroviruses. Enteroviruses are extremely common, and most are virtually harmless - leading to very minor “cold” symptoms - but can trigger the immune response that destroys insulin production.

Personally - while we had two dogs when I was dx’d, I had just “gotten over” the mumps when my symptoms began… and even back then (1966), the doc 'splained to us that my “juvenile” diabetes (which is what T1 was known as in the olden days) was triggered by the mumps. Since then - all the research I’ve read supports this causative process.


Yes. I found I could get them for not much more than half that on the internet, without a scrip. That’s how lame the insurance was.

This is a matter of opinion. If it weren’t, different reviewers wouldn’t give different answers, and they do. Regardless, I didn’t know about Contour Next at the time. This is history, not now. Nowadays I pay $3 for a vial.

I would be interested in more information on this.

If this is accurate, then when a person is being tested for T1, why would they not be tested for these genetic markers? If not present than T1 as a possible diagnosis could be emphatically and positively ruled out. No need to waste time considering it and move on to other things.

Similar to how Celiac can be positively ruled out if somebody has neither the HLA DQ2 nor the DQ8 gene. Having these does NOT mean you WILL get Celiac as approximately 25% ~ 30% of the entire population have these genes whereas maybe only 1% of the population has Celiac (although the 1% actually sounds high to me but what do I know) point being obviously 30% of the population that has these genes clearly does not have Celiac.

So if the genes for the POTENTIAL to have T1 have now been positively identified then why would it not be possible to test for them just as I know can be done for Celiac (as a way to rule out the possibility).

I would disagree. I consider it a fact that the Contour Next test strips are often ranked in reviews as the best.

But I think we may be mincing words.

Perhaps to some degree, but I do think there is a real issue. My experience with products has been sufficiently at variance with the results reported in reviews that I treat them the way I do movie or book reviews: one person’s opinion, which may or may not agree with mine—or, in this case, whose results may or may not agree with mine.

Reviewers often don’t divulge the details of how they arrived at their results, and even when they do, they often leave out a key detail or two, so it sounds like you’re getting the complete story when in fact you aren’t.

In any case, the strips I use now are recommended by an authority I trust, and their results and mine seem to correlate very strongly indeed. Also, my numbers are always within 4 points or so of what the lab reports, so I’m satisfied.

Bear in mind that I am not saying it is a fact that the Contour Next strips are the best.

I am only saying that I could trivially pull up a handful of generally well regarded reviews where these strips are listed in that review as being at the top.

That was all.