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Cats Beat Dogs in Longevity Race, Banfield Finds

Posted: May 9, 2013, 12:45 p.m. EDT

Dogs in Mississippi and Alabama don’t live as long as their cousins from other states, Banfield Pet Hospital reported Wednesday in its 2013 State of Pet Health Report.

The annual survey, which also looked at the most common diagnoses and other statistical trends, was based on data compiled from visits by 2.2 million dogs and 460,000 cats to Banfield hospitals in 2012.

The researchers try to add a new wrinkle each year.

"This year’s report is focused on the overall life span of pets … state by state … as well as factors that may influence life span,” stated Marta Monetti, senior vice president of corporate affairs at Portland, Ore.-based Banfield.

 Dog and Cat
Dogs and cats age much faster than humans. One year for a human is roughly five to seven years for a dog or cat.
The company found that U.S. cats lived an average of 12.1 years, compared with 11.0 years for dogs. Regional life span differences may be linked to sterilization rates, Banfield reported.

Neutered male cats lived, on average, 62 percent longer than their intact brethren, the Banfield data revealed. Spayed cats survived 39 percent longer than unaltered females. For dogs, neutered males lived 18 percent longer and spayed females enjoyed a 23 percent advantage.

Here are other highlights from the 2013 report:

Average Life Span
• Dogs in Mississippi and Alabama lived 10.1 and 10.2 years, respectively--the lowest of any states.
• Cats had the shortest life spans in Delaware and Ohio, at 10.7 and 10.9 years, respectively.
• Dogs lived the longest in Montana and South Dakota (12.4 years).
• Feline longevity was highest in Montana (14.3 years).

Health Trends
• Most common canine diagnoses: dental tartar, ear infections, excess weight, skin infections and flea infestations.
• Top-five feline diagnoses: dental calculus, excess weight, flea infestations, gingivitis and ear infections.
• Almost one in four dogs and cats was overweight or obese.
• Arthritis diagnoses came at an average age of 9 for dogs and 12 for cats.
• Kidney disease was almost seven times more common in cats than dogs.
• Dental disease afflicted 91 percent of dogs and 85 percent of cats over age 3.
• The prevalence of diabetes in dogs doubled over the last five years.

Where They Live
While the medical diagnoses were remarkably uniform across the United States, a few geographic anomalies jumped out:
• Southern states such as Alabama, South Carolina and Arkansas recorded the highest prevalence of fleas on dogs.
• Fleas on cats were most common in Oregon, South Carolina and Florida.
• Dogs in Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Hampshire were most likely to have ticks.
• Cats in Eastern states such as Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Virginia were more prone to ticks.
Heartworms were most common in dogs living in the Southeast.
• Dogs and cats in Alabama and Mississippi had the most trouble with tapeworms.

"This report isn’t just an important tool for Banfield,” Monetti said. "The State of Pet Health Report is a valuable resource for the profession as a whole as it raises awareness for the need for regular preventative care and early disease diagnosis.”

The full report is available at

Banfield does not operate hospitals in Maine, North Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming. Those states were not part of the report.


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