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Top 10 reasons you take your dogs and cats to the vet

By Gary Bogue
Friday, June 20th, 2008 at 7:22 am in Uncategorized.

Veterinary Pet Insurance reveals top 10 reasons your pets were taken to the veterinarian in 2007.

There’s no way around it. Sometimes Fluffy gets stuffy and even cats can end up sick as a dog. Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) the nation’s largest provider of pet health insurance, recently analyzed its medical claims received in 2007 to determine the top 10 most commonly claimed conditions for dogs and cats.

For both canines and felines, the top 10 conditions accounted for about 25 percent of all medical claims received last year.

CANINE:
1. Ear Infections.
2. Skin Allergies.
3. Pyoderma/Hot Spot.
4. Gastritis/Vomiting.
5. Enteritis/Diarrhea.
6. Urinary Tract Infections.
7. Benign Skin Tumors.
8. Eye Inflammation.
9. Osteoarthritis.
10. Hypothyroidism.

FELINE:
1. Urinary Tract infections.
2. Gastritis/vomiting.
3. Chronic renal failure.
4. Enteritis/diarrhea.
5. Diabetes Mellitus.
6. Skin allergies.
7. Colitis/constipation.
8. Ear infections.
9. Respiratory infections.
10. Hyperthyroidism.

A FEW COMMENTS FROM VPI ON THE ABOVE LISTS:

** Of the most common canine maladies, the only condition not on last year’s list, hypothyroidism, rose from No. 11 in 2006 to No. 10 in 2007, bumping sprains to No. 13. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone, which is responsible for regulating the metabolism. Dogs with hypothyroidism may appear lethargic and gain weight despite a strict diet and exercise.

** The most dramatic change on either list was the rise of feline enteritis from No. 16 in 2006 to No. 4 in 2007. Feline enteritis, which is characterized by dark, watery diarrhea, can be triggered by anything from stress, a change in diet, infection, or intestinal blockage.

** Nearly a third of all the common conditions could be related to or exacerbated by diet, diet changes, or dietary indiscretions. These gastrointestinal problems typically result in vomiting or diarrhea. The most effective way to reduce common dietary conditions is to ask your veterinarian to recommend a quality pet food tailored to your pet’s dietary needs and to feed that food consistently.

** “Gastrointestinal claims are common each year we publish our top 10 list, but our 2007 numbers indicate that pet owners took their pets’ gastrointestinal and dietary difficulties more seriously this past year, perhaps due to the pet food recall,” said Dr. Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI.

** Allergies were another influencing factor for several of VPI’s top conditions in 2007. Pet allergies usually manifest in continual itching or chewing of the skin, especially the skin around paws, ears and eyes. The top three conditions for dogs each involve inflammation or infection of the skin, commonly resulting from an allergic condition.

** Some of the top 10 conditions can be associated with age-related changes in a pet, such as osteoarthritis and renal failure. However, most of the top 10 conditions can occur at any age to any pet — purebred or mixed, those kept inside or outside.

GARY RESPONDS:

No matter what kind of pet you have or how old it is, you should familiarize yourself with its daily routine so you can spot any abnormal behaviors that might indicate an illness. A couple of examples: Some cats tend to hide and keep out of sight when they don’t feel good and some dogs might stop eating.

Regular semiannual physical exams by your veterinarian can also help prevent and identify certain conditions before they become chronic and costly.

Interesting thoughts buried in the above VPI comments: Many common conditions on the above top 10 lists are linked to pet diets or allergies. What do they think they are, humans? /Gary

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One Response to “Top 10 reasons you take your dogs and cats to the vet”

  1. Deborah Says:

    I keep hearing that corn used in commercially prepared pet foods is the primary allergen. I believe my Keeshond suffered from mild allergies for years (lots of paw licking), and I never realized until after she’d passed (old age).

    My beloved, psychotic li’l feline currently has no allergies, but just out of curiosity . . . what would be an acceptable homemade food for cats that is allergen-free? I’ve heard that straight meats and fish contain too much protein, which is surprising. How varied were cats’ diets before they were domesticated?

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