While seemingly minor ailments in pets such as an ear infection, skin problems, stomach ache or a cough are rarely life-threatening, they can prompt a visit to the veterinarian before they become chronic and expensive to treat. Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI) policyholders spent more than $66 million in 2013 treating the 10 most common medical conditions affecting their pets. VPI, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance, recently sorted its database of more than 500,000 insured pets to determine the top 10 dog and cat medical conditions in 2013. Below are the results:
|1. Skin Allergies||1. Bladder or Urinary Tract Disease|
|2. Ear Infection||2. Periodontitis/Dental Disease|
|3. Non-cancerous Skin Mass||3. Chronic Kidney Disease|
|4. Skin Infection||4. Excessive Thyroid Hormone|
|5. Arthritis||5. Vomiting/Upset Stomach|
|6. Vomiting/Upset Stomach||6. Diabetes|
|7. Diarrhea/Intestinal Upset||7. Diarrhea/Intestinal Upset|
|8. Periodontitis/Dental Disease||8. Lymphoma|
|9. Bladder or Urinary Tract Infection||9. Upper Respiratory Infection|
|10. Soft Tissue Trauma (Bruise or Contusion)||10. Skin Allergies|
“To prevent some of the discomfort that so many pets experience from common diseases, the place to start would be by checking them regularly for developing problems,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “Many of the conditions on our Top 10 list each year can be stopped early or successfully managed in partnership with a veterinarian.”
In 2013, VPI received more than 77,000 canine claims for skin allergies, the most common cause for taking a dog to see a veterinarian. The average cost per pet was $187. For cats, urinary tract diseases were the most common reason to take your kitty to the veterinarian. VPI received more than 4,600 medical claims for this ailment – with an average cost per pet of $422.
The most expensive canine condition on the list (non-cancerous skin mass) cost an average of $342 per pet, while, for cats, the most expensive condition (lymphoma) cost an average of $2,004 per pet. In addition to familiarizing themselves with their pets’ routine and behavior, pet owners should schedule their pets’ semiannual veterinary examinations on a regular basis to help prevent and identify certain conditions before they become serious or costly.