September 15, 2014

 

 Assessments turn up more health risks in cats, dogs

​Posted Sept. 3, 2014

Many apparently healthy cats had laboratory panel abnormalities consistent with a range of medical conditions, according to new findings from Zoetis’ Pet Wellness Report service. Zoetis previously found the same to be true for dogs.

In other findings, the Pet Wellness Report revealed “new health risks” during re-examinations of apparently healthy dogs and cats that had been seen in the past 90 days for a routine annual wellness visit.

The Pet Wellness Report service involves laboratory screening tests and a health risk assessment. The pet owner completes the health risk assessment via an online questionnaire.

During a 5.5-year period, Zoetis identified 26 percent of 1,197 apparently healthy cats as having abnormal laboratory test results that could be indicative of underlying renal disease, hepatic disease, inflammation or infection, hyperthyroidism, or thrombocytopenia or other morbidities.

Sixty-eight percent of cat owners provided one or more responses on the health risk assessment that identified an area of lifestyle concern. Responses include these:

  • Nine percent of cat owners indicated their cat had difficulty breathing or was wheezing, sneezing, coughing.
  • Eleven percent thought their cat had stiffness, lameness, or pain associated with movement.
  • Twenty-two percent thought their cat was overweight or obese.
  • Twenty-seven percent said their cat had chronic vomiting or hairballs.

An analysis of 449 dogs and 114 cats compared standard wellness visits—encompassing a history, physical examination, and limited laboratory screening—and the same type of visits with the addition of the Pet Wellness Report.

Among apparently healthy dogs and cats that had been seen in the past 90 days, veterinarians identified “new health risks” in 36 percent of dogs and 28 percent of cats. Top new health risks for dogs included hypothyroidism, urinary tract infection, proteinuria, and dental disease. Top new health risks for cats included renal disease, dental disease, hyperthyroidism, eosinophilia, and proteinuria.

Related JAVMA content: