Chronic Disease Grows with Dogs’ and Cats’ Weight

Overweight cats are more likely to have other cat diseases, according to a new poll on dog and cat health.

Chronic disease is on the rise in cats and dogs, but owners are hesitant to visit the veterinarian to treat existing conditions, according to the State of Pet Health 2012 Report, published today by Banfield Pet Hospital.

From 2007 to 2011, the overweight or obese dog incidences increased 37% and overweight or obese cat incidences increased 90% in cats. Overall, 1 in 5 dogs and cats were classified as obese or overweight in 2011.

Obesity or overweight was diagnosed in dogs and cats diagnosed with other chronic diseases, including:
•    40% of dogs and 37% of cats with arthritis,
•    40% of dogs and 40% of cats with diabetes,
•    40% of dogs with high blood pressure,
•    60% of dogs with hypothyroidism.

Dog and cat arthritis and chronic kidney disease are also on the rise. The rate of arthritis diagnoses in cats and dogs rose 28% and 67%, respectively, from 2007 to 2011. At the same time, chronic kidney disease increased 15% in cats, which are seven times more likely to be diagnosed with the disease than are dogs. Most cats diagnosed in the early stages of chronic kidney disease live about two to three years, whereas most cats diagnosed in later stages live less than six months after diagnosis, according to Banfield.

Meanwhile, 36% of dog owners and 28% of cat owners said they would take their dog or cat to see a veterinarian to manage an existing condition, according to a survey of 2,000 pet owners conducted by Banfield and market research firm Kelton.

“The key to successful early disease diagnosis involves a partnership between pet owners and their veterinarian to identify changes in a pet’s overall health and behavior,” said Jeffrey Kausner, DVM, senior vice president and chief medical officer for Banfield. “In partnership with pet owners, we hope to reduce the number of pets living with undiagnosed or unmanaged chronic diseases.”

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