Pet obesity on rise for fourth straight year

New data released by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), a US provider of pet health insurance, shows that pet obesity is on the rise for the fourth straight year.

New data released by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), a US provider of pet health insurance, shows that pet obesity is on the rise for the fourth straight year. In 2013, VPI policyholders filed for more than US$52 million in claims for conditions and diseases that can be related to pet obesity, a 7.3% growth from 2012, according to the company.

Table scraps and excessive treats are major contributors associated with disproportionate weight gain in pets, said VPI. Similar to their human counterparts, excessive body fat increases the risk of preventable health problems and shortens the life expectancy of pets. According to VPI's database of more than 525,000 insured pets, the top 10 dog and cat obesity-related conditions are:


1) Arthritis

2) Bladder/urinary tract disease

3) Low thyroid hormone

4) Liver disease

5) Torn knee ligaments

6) Diabetes

7) Diseased disc in the spine

8) Fatty growth

9) Chronic kidney disease

10) Heart failure


1) Bladder/urinary tract disease

2) Chronic kidney disease

3) Diabetes

4) Liver disease

5) Asthma

6) Arthritis

7) High blood pressure

8) Heart failure

9) Gall bladder disorder

10) Immobility of spine

In 2013, VPI received more than 39,000 canine claims for arthritis, the most common joint disease aggravated by excessive weight. The average claim fee was US$300 per pet. For cats, bladder or urinary tract disease was the most common condition that can be aggravated by obesity. VPI received 4,700 medical claims for this ailment, with an average claim amount of US$420 per pet.

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