Banfield Pet Hospitals recently reported the top five preventable pet diseases that they see in all of their veterinary practices across the United States. The records of 2.1 million dogs and 450,000 cats that were seen between 2006 and 2010 were examined and the following results were found:
- Dental disease is the most common health problem diagnosed in pets, affecting 68 percent of cats and 78 percent of dogs. Routine dental cleanings and at home care can greatly reduce its incidence and adverse effects.
- Ear infections were the second most common disease. Diagnoses increases by 34 percent in cats and 9 percent in dogs over the course of the study. In pets with a history of outer ear infections (otitis externa), routine cleaning and monitoring of the ears as well as dealing with any underlying predisposing factors like allergies is essential to preventing reoccurrences.
- Diabetes mellitus is also being diagnosed with increased frequency. In cats, the disease can usually be prevented by keeping pets slim and providing them with adequate amounts of exercise. Canine diabetes is not preventable, but can often be managed successfully.
- Heartworm disease is extremely serious and expensive to treat, but it is essentially 100% avoidable when pets are on a heartworm preventative year round.
- Flea infestations are extremely common as well, despite the presence of an increasing number of safe, effective, and convenient flea preventatives on the market.
This study drives home the point that owners play an absolutely essential and irreplaceable role in keeping pets healthy.