Top health issues for dogs and cats

Pet owners spent more than $15 billion dollars on veterinary care last year, and much of that cost was used to treat minor ailments. Pets require routine medical attention just like their human counterparts, and while common issues such as ear infections and skin allergies are rarely life-threatening, they can be unexpected and expensive. Nationwide, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance, recently sorted through its database of more than 550,000 insured pets to determine the top medical conditions that prompted veterinary visits for dogs and cats in 2015.

The top problems for dogs were skin allergies, ear infections, non-cancerous skin masses, skin infections, arthritis, periodontitis/dental disease, vomiting/upset stomach, diarrhea/intestinal upset, bladder or urinary tract infections and soft tissue traumas. For cats, they were bladder or urinary tract disease, periodontitis/dental disease, chronic kidney disease, vomiting/upset stomach, excessive thyroid hormones, diarrhea/intestinal upset, diabetes, upper respiratory infections, skin allergies and inflammatory bowel disease.  

“We encourage pet owners to schedule regular medical checkups as recommended by their veterinarians to prevent many common, yet problematic medical conditions,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for Nationwide. “It’s also important for pet owners to get familiar with their pet’s daily habits to help identify oddities in their routine. The majority of top 10 conditions can be managed with the help of a veterinarian, and early detection can prevent many of these issues from becoming severe, limiting the cost of treatment.”

Last year, Nationwide members spent more than $77 million to treat the 10 most common medical conditions affecting their pets. Last year, skin allergies were the most common health issue among Nationwide insured canines with more than 80,000 individual claims at an average cost of $210 per dog. Bladder or urinary tract diseases accounted for the most common medical condition amongst Nationwide insured felines with more than 4,700 claims received at an average cost of $441 per cat.

Non-cancerous skin masses accounted for the most costly canine medical condition on the list with an average cost of $347 per dog. The most expensive feline medical condition on the list was diabetes, which carries a significantly higher cost of $862 per cat.

Flagler Humane Society offers wellness clinics for local residents that need help with some of these issues and not might be able to afford a full-service veterinary clinic. Wellness clinics are held every Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments are required and your pet can receive an examination by for as low as $17.

“Many of the issues on this list are preventable and treatable if pet owners seek help quickly,” said Amy Carotenuto, Flagler Humane Society Executive Director. “Patients receive a 15 minute appointment to help keep costs low and we encourage anyone having a health issue with their pet to come in when they first see a problem and not let it become something serious.”

Nationwide

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