A couple from Derby have been using their knowledge of treating diabetes to help capuchin monkeys at a sanctuary in Florida, USA. Andrew and Carol West are the owners of a health retreat in Spain, where they work to try and reverse the effects of type 2 diabetes in humans through a special diet.

The couple were called in to rescue pet monkeys from the city of Gainesville, Florida who had become obese after being fed junk food by their previous owners after a relative of one of the staff had been treated at their centre.

Mr West said: “We were moved to tears when we arrived at Jungle Friends. The onset of diabetes is horrible to see. Monkeys react very quickly to diabetes so the symptoms are accelerated. In humans, neuropathy and blindness can take 15-20 years, in monkeys it can be months.”

Thanks to hard work and dedication from the couple, many of the monkeys have now had their medication dependency reduced or have been taken off it completely.

A senior keeper at a monkey sanctuary in the UK said diabetes in primates was a growing problem. In some cases, signs of type 2 diabetes were reversed in newly rescued monkeys after they had been fed a specialised diet for a short time after their arrival.

Mr & Mrs West have now adopted two of the monkeys and are planning further trips.

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