Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. recently sorted its database of more than 485,000 insured pets to determine the top 10 dog and cat obesity-related health conditions in 2012. With the epidemic of pet obesity rising, the company says its policyholders filed more than US$34 million in claims in 2012 for conditions and diseases that can be caused or made worse by excess weight.
The most common obesity-related condition for dogs was arthritis, for which more than 34,000 claims were filed at an average fee of US$300 per pet. For cats, bladder/urinary tract disease was the most common condition, for which the company received more than 4,200 medical claims at an average cost of US$415 per pet.
Other top obesity-related conditions, in order, in dogs were: bladder/urinary tract disease, undiagnosed limp, low-thyroid hormone, liver disease, torn knee ligaments, diseased disc in the spine, diabetes, heart failure and chronic kidney disease. For cats, these were: chronic kidney disease, diabetes, asthma, liver disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, undiagnosed limp, heart failure and gall bladder disorder.
"Taking your pet to the veterinarian for regular wellness visits is the most effective way to monitor your pet's weight," said Dr. Carol McConnell, DVM, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. "Routine exercise, a regulated diet and watching for signs of excessive weight gain are important steps in avoiding pet obesity and the additional health concerns that are associated with it."