Top 10 Dog and Cat Medical Conditions that Prompt a Visit to the Vet

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Just like their human counterparts, when pets are afflicted with even seemingly minor ailments such as an ear infection, stomach ache or cough, it can prompt a visit to the doctor. While the majority of these conditions are rarely life threatening, they can become chronic and expensive to treat. Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI) policyholders spent more than $58 million in 2012 treating the 10 most common medical conditions affecting their pets. VPI, the nation's oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, recently sorted its database of more than 485,000 insured pets to determine the top 10 dog and cat medical conditions in 2012. Below are the results:

Dogs

Cats

1.    Skin Allergies

1.     Bladder Infection

2.    Ear Infection

2.     Periodontitis/Dental Disease

3.    Skin Infection

3.     Overactive Thyroid

4.    Non-cancerous Skin Growth

4.     Chronic Kidney Disease

5.    Upset Stomach/Vomiting

5.     Upset Stomach/Vomiting

6.    Arthritis

6.     Diabetes

7.    Intestinal Upset/Diarrhea

7.     Intestinal Upset/Diarrhea

8.    Bladder Infection

8.     Skin Allergies

9.    Periodontitis/Dental Disease

9.     Lymphosarcoma (Cancer of Lymph Node)

10.  Bruise or Contusion

10.   Upper Respiratory Infection

"Although a few of the top 10 dog and cat conditions can be associated with an animal's natural aging process, many of the conditions listed above can occur in any pet," said Dr. Carol McConnell , DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. "Regardless of the age or breed of the dog or cat, pet owners should familiarize themselves with their pets' daily routine in order to identify abnormal behaviors that might indicate an injury or illness."

In 2012, VPI received more than 68,000 canine claims for skin allergies, the most common cause for taking a dog to see a veterinarian. The average claim fee was $96 per office visit. For cats, a bladder infection was the most common reason to take your kitty to the veterinarian. VPI received more than 4,000 medical claims for this ailment – with an average claim amount of $251 per office visit. 

The most expensive canine condition on the list (arthritis) cost an average of $258 per visit, while, for cats, the most expensive condition (lymphosarcoma) cost an average of $415 per visit. In addition to familiarizing themselves with their pets' routine and behavior, pet owners should schedule their pets' semiannual veterinary examinations on a regular basis to help prevent and identify certain conditions before they become serious or costly.