Banfield Pet Hospital has released “The State of Pet Health 2016,” a comprehensive report comprised of medical data from 2.5 million dogs and nearly 500,000 cats.
Created by Banfield’s research team, Banfield Applied Research and Knowledge (BARK), the report analyzes data from 3 million total pets cared for in 2015 in Banfield’s 925 hospitals spanning 43 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. It documents trends from the past 10 years and highlights the most common diagnoses affecting cats and dogs.
The data are broken down into distinct health sections, covering diabetes mellitus, heartworm disease, dental disease, otitis externa, fleas and ticks and internal parasites.
“Now in its sixth year, this report was created because we wanted to use our knowledge and research to help educate pet owners and raise profession-wide awareness for some of the most common and important diagnoses affecting the health of pets in the United States,” said Daniel Aja, DVM, senior vice president and chief medical officer for Banfield Pet Hospital. “It is our hope that the information in this report continues to serve as a catalyst for pet owners to partner with veterinary teams to help pets live better lives through preventive care.”
The report suggests that just as in humans, diseases such as diabetes are rising in pets. Canine diabetes has increased by 79.9 percent since 2006, while the prevalence of diabetes in cats has increased by 18.1 percent over the same time frame.
Heartworm disease has been diagnosed in each of the 43 states Banfield practices in, but there is a distinct geographical trend with the highest prevalence of heartworm infection in the Southeastern states. While the infection can occur year-round, it peaks sharply during the summer months due to the weather being more favorable for mosquitoes, which transmit the disease.
Dental disease is the most common disorder among cats and dogs, affecting 68 percent of cats and 76 percent of dogs. Dental disease has increased by 8 percent in dogs and 9.7 percent of cats since Banfield’s 2011 report.
Since 2011, otitis externa has decreased 6.4 percent in dogs, with the prevalence of cats remaining unchanged. Still, it remains very common in certain breeds; one in four golden retrievers and one in five Labrador retrievers are diagnosed with this condition.
Flea infestations in dogs have decreased in prevalence by 8.3 percent since 2011 and have remained unchanged in cats. Ticks have decreased over the past 10 years for dogs by 11.3 percent.
A reduction of roundworms, whipworms and tapeworms in dogs has been seen since 2011, though the prevalence of hookworms has remained relatively unchanged. In cats, there has been a reduction of roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms.
For the full State of Pet Health 2016 Report, please visit www.stateofpethealth.com.