Top 10 Reasons Pets Visit Vets

Insurance Claims Reveal Most Common Aches and Pains

Veterinarian and patient

As a pet owner, you hope the only visits you’ll take to your veterinarian are for routine care.

While sitting in the lobby with your anxious pet, waiting to be seen, do you ever wonder why everyone else and their pets are there?

Ear Infections and Urinary Tract Diseases Top the List

According to VPI Pet Insurance, ear infections topped the list for reasons policyholders took their dogs to the veterinarian in 2007, while lower urinary tract diseases were the primary reason for cat visits.

Stress, bacteria or diet can cause lead to urinary tract disease and is more common in male cats because of the position and size of their urethra.

Be aware of where your cat urinates. Symptoms include urinating excessively outside the litter box on a horizontal surface such as the floor. It differs from marking in the amount of urine and the location; marking occurs in small amounts on vertical surfaces such as a wall.

Giving your cat canned food can help prevent this condition, according to Dr. Cori Gross, a field representative for VPI.

Ear infections, skin allergies, upset stomachs and intestinal inflammation are commonly reported for both dogs and cats.

German shepherd with bandaid

Skin Allergies Irritate Dogs and Cats

The second most common condition for dogs are for skin allergies, also the fifth leading diagnosis for cats. Ear infections and skin allergies can be closely, but not always, related.

Some pets who have a lot of hair in their ears are often prone to ear infections when yeast builds up in the warm and moist area. Cleaning the ears regularly and grooming excess hair can be a successful preventive measure.

Skin allergies can also lead to repetitive ear scratching. This can introduce bacteria into your pet’s ear or disturb the natural balance of his skin. Both can lead to infection.

Hyperthyroidism Threatens Cats

One potentially life-threatening condition that Gross said she is relieved to see treated is hyperthyroidism, which can be common in older cats and is covered by VPI health insurance policies.

“The cats will eat a ton of food but will be losing weight,” Gross said. “If it’s left untreated, they can die. It can cause high blood pressure and heart problems.

“You can treat hyperthyroidism with medication, but the ideal is to blast the thyroid with an injection of radioactive iodine. Clients are becoming more aware of it, which is a good thing.”

Veterinary Concerns

Gross said she was surprised there weren’t more dental claims for dogs. Bacteria from teeth can enter into the bloodstream and cause major issues.

“We go to the dentist twice a year for regular cleanings, but people don’t think about doing it for their dogs,” Gross said.

For cats, Gross expected to see arthritis in the Top 10. It is No. 8 for dogs.

“It’s common in cats, but most owners aren’t going to notice,” Gross said. “With dogs, you’re going to know it. You take them out for a walk and they’re limping around. Cats have evolved to hide discomfort and pain, so they’ll just lay around if they’re stiff or in pain.”

Top 10 Conditions for Dogs and Cats

The following data is based on claims submitted by VPI policyholders:                                                                                  

Top 10 Canine Claims

Top 10 Feline Claims

1. Ear infections

1. Lower urinary tract diseases

2. Skin allergies

2. Stomach upsets/gastritis

3. Pyoderma (hot spots)

3. Renal failure

4. Stomach upsets

4. Intestinal inflammation/diarrhea

5. Intestinal inflammation/diarrhea

5. Skin allergies

6. Bladder diseases

6. Diabetes

7. Eye infections

7. Colitis/Constipation

8. Arthritis

8. Ear infections

9. Hypothyroidism

9. Upper respiratory virus

10. Sprains

10. Hyperthyroidism

Email this article to a friend or share it via your favorite social network.

Share This page

Related Articles

Pepper and Ginger

An hour after going out for their potty breaks, Pepper and Ginger both started throwing up violently. Their parents soon realized they had ingested poison meant for a pesky gopher.
 Full Story