Background Cardiovascular and renal complications are the predominant causes of morbidity and mortality amongst patients with diabetes. Development of novel treatments have been hampered by the lack of available animal models recapitulating the human disease. We hypothesized that experimental diabetes in rats combined with a cardiac or renal stressor, would mimic diabetic cardiomyopathy and nephropathy, respectively. Methods Diabetes was surgically induced in male Sprague Dawley rats by 90% pancreatectomy (Px). Isoprenaline (Iso, 1 mg/kg, sc., 10 days) was administered five weeks after Px with the aim of inducing cardiomyopathy, and cardiac function and remodeling was assessed by echocardiography ten weeks after surgery. Left ventricular (LV) fibrosis was quantified by Picro Sirius Red and gene expression analysis. Nephropathy was induced by Px combined with uninephrectomy (Px-UNx). Kidney function was assessed by measurement of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and urine albumin excretion, and kidney injury was evaluated by histopathology and gene expression analysis. Results Px resulted in stable hyperglycemia, hypoinsulinemia, decreased C-peptide, and increased glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) compared with sham-operated controls. Moreover, Px increased LV mass and dimensions, and caused a shift from α-myosin heavy chain (MHC) to β-MHC gene expression. Isoprenaline treatment, but not Px, decreased ejection fraction and induced LV fibrosis. There was no apparent interaction between Px and Iso treatment. The superimposition of Px and UNx increased GFR, indicating hyperfiltration. Compared with sham-operated controls, Px-UNx induced albuminuria and increased urine markers of kidney injury, including neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) and podocalyxin, concomitant with upregulated renal gene expression of NGAL and kidney injury molecule 1 (KIM-1). Conclusion Whereas Px and isoprenaline separately produced clinical endpoints related to diabetic cardiomyopathy, the combination of the two did not accentuate disease development. Conversely, Px in combination with UNx resulted in several clinical hallmarks of diabetic nephropathy indicative of early disease development.