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Report: Chronic Disease Grows with Pets’ Waists

Posted: May 1, 2012, 4:30 p.m. EDT


pet obesity
Chronic disease is on the rise in pets, 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 incidence of obesity and prevalence of excess body weight in dogs increased 37 percent and increased 90 percent in cats. Overall, 1 in 5 cats and dogs were classified as obese or overweight in 2011.

Obesity or prevalence of excess body weight was diagnosed in pets diagnosed with other chronic diseases, including:

• 40 percent of dogs and 37 percent of cats with arthritis;
• 40 percent of dogs and 40 percent of cats with diabetes;
• 40 percent of dogs with high blood pressure; and
• 60 percent of dogs with hypothyroidism.

Arthritis and chronic kidney disease are also on the rise. The rate of arthritis diagnoses in dogs and cats rose 28 percent and 67 percent, respectively, from 2007 to 2011. At the same time, chronic kidney disease increased 15 percent 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 percent of dog owners and 28 percent of cat owners said they would take their pet 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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