Saturday, March 7, 2009

Pet Medical Conditions Ranking 2008

Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), USA's oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, recently analyzed medical claims received in 2008 to find the year's most common pet maladies, according to a VPI press release published by PR Newswire
According to this press release,
Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), USA’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, recently analyzed medical claims received during 2008 to find the year’s most common pet maladies.
The results indicate that pets visit the veterinarian for many of the same reasons humans visit the doctor, with ear infections the No. 1 condition for dogs and lower urinary tract disease No. 1 for cats. The top 10 conditions accounted for nearly 340,000, or close to 25%, of all canine and feline medical claims received in 2008.

Here is the press release in its original wording:
“BREA, Calif., Feb. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Not all the similarities between pets and people are cute and cuddly. Take ear infections, for example, or skin rashes. Not convinced? How about diarrhea? Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), the nation's oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, recently analyzed medical claims received in 2008 to find the year's most common pet maladies. The results indicate that pets visit the veterinarian for many of the same reasons humans visit the doctor, with ear infections the No. 1 condition for dogs and lower urinary tract disease No. 1 for cats. The top 10 conditions accounted for nearly 340,000, or close to 25 percent, of all canine and feline medical claims received in 2008.

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


Top Feline Claims
1. Lower Urinary Tract Disease
2. Gastritis/Stomach Upsets
3. Chronic Renal Failure
4. Enteritis/Diarrhea
5. Diabetes Mellitus
6. Skin Allergies
7. Hyperthyroidism
8. Ear Infections
9. Upper Respiratory Virus
10. Eye Inflammation

"The large number of claims received for these medical conditions attests to their often repetitive or chronic nature," said Dr. Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. "A dog with allergies, for example, will most likely require continuing care and a cat with diabetes will be no stranger to the veterinarian's office. Pet owners have a tendency to fear major accidents and illnesses - car crash injuries, or cancer - but a chronic condition can be just as detrimental to a pet's quality of life and financially burdensome to treat." Most of the top pet conditions will bring about a noticeable change in the behavior or appearance of a pet. Pet owners can ensure that they recognize an illness quickly with regular observation of a pet's daily routine and inspection of a pet's eyes, ears, and skin. Any lumps, sores, unusual odors, or drastic changes in behavior suggest that one's pet should be promptly examined by a veterinarian. Even before a problem manifests, semiannual physical exams can help diagnose problems early or in some cases prevent many illnesses. If left untreated, any of the top 10 conditions could result in serious health problems and eventually cost hundreds of dollars to treat. In 2008, the most expensive of the common canine conditions was benign skin tumors, with an average submitted claim fee of $340. For cats, the most expensive common condition was renal failure, with an average submitted claim fee of $267.About Veterinary Pet Insurance…” following here in the
original is a description of VPI’s services and products.

Looking at the top rated conditions, I wanted to know not just what the signs are telling me the animal is affected but also was interested in the causes as eliminating those should be the first step in taking care of a problem.
Ear infections: This condition, an inflammation of the outer ear canal and also known under its medical name “otitis externa” is estimated to affect about 20% of the canine population. The signs for this condition are odor, scratching or rubbing of ears and head, discharge in the ears, redness or swelling of the ear flap or canal, shaking of the head or tilting it to one side, pain around the ears and or changes in behavior such as depression or irritability. Causes can be various and include allergies such as atopy (inhalant allergies) or food allergies, parasites such as ear mites, microorganisms like bacteria and yeast, foreign bodies,, trauma, hormonal abnormalities like for example hypothyroidism, the ear environment, e.g., excess moisture and ear anatomy, hereditary or immune conditions, and tumors.
Skin Allergies show by the animal chewing on its feet, rubbing its face, scratching its body, is affected by recurring ear infections or showing of hair loss and/or mutilated skin. They can be caused by a number of allergens the pet’s body is reacting to, which can include Trees, grass, weeds, pollens, fabrics, rubber and plastic materials, foods and food additives such as individual meats, grains, or colorings, milk products, house dust and dust mites and flea bites.
Ptyoderma/Hotspots are also known as acute moist dermatitis. Dogs with long hair or those with dense undercoats are more common to suffer from this condition. Similar to skin allergies causes are often local allergic reactions to a specific antigen. Insect bites, especially from fleas, are often found to be the cause. Other causes of hot spots include allergies (inhalant or food allergies), mites. Ear infections, insuffucient grooming, hip dysplasia or arthritis and anal gland disease.
Gastritis and vomiting: Typically affected animals will vomit, have no appetite and will not eat, and be lethargic. They also may have an elevated temperature above the normal 101.5 degrees. Gastritis, if a virus or bacteria is involved, may eventually progress to the intestines and cause diarrhea. A classic example of a viral infection is infectious canine parvovirus, which occasionally begins as gastritis. This condition is caused by viruses and bacteria, but also often affects animals which have eaten spoiled food or garbage, etc..
At this point I really don’t have to go further. More information on each condition is available throughout this blogs in separate comments and article. What I wanted to point out however is the fact that many of these conditions are caused by food and diet. Which in turn, as I keep insisting, clearly shows how important it is to make sure your beloved companion gets the right and healthy food. Even if that may mean to pay a little more money, in the long run you will be better off as it will help you to avoid these special health conditions. And that is true regardless of whether you have a health insurance policy for your pet or not.

2 comments:

souljourney said...

Just like with humans much of these are food related. As in feeding your animal crappy easy junk food.
Will we ever learn???
But why would people want to change? They won't change their own diets either. Processed = easy! And in some cases yummy and cheap.
Just had a friend get put on insulin, she was just on the pills but she still eats sugar, carbs, white foods. But at least she feeds her cat better (not amazing... but better) Sigh.

lillian said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Sarah

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