Top 5 Ailments for Dogs and Cats

January 2, 2018
Amanda Carrozza

Amanda Carrozza is a freelance writer and editor in New Jersey.

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation outlined the most predominant ailments dogs and cats experience.

Few things are as heartbreaking to a pet owner as their cat or dog suddenly becoming lethargic, ill, or injured. Veterinarians know better than anyone that diagnosing and treating ailments as swiftly as possible are vital to ensuring quick and complete recoveries. While no 2 cases are exactly the same, there are predominant conditions that present themselves more frequently than others.

Prepared by Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation, the 63-page Cost of Pet Health Care Report 2017 used data from more than 200,000 insurance claims filed between June 2016 and June 2017 to outline the most common ailments for cats and dogs, as well as their associated symptoms, treatment costs, new diagnostics, and survivor success stories.


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The Top 5 Canine Conditions

  • Stomach issues comprised 29% of veterinary visits for dogs, thanks in large part to man's best friend's reputation for eating everything in their path. As a result, gastric distress cases, parasitic infections, accidental poisonings, and flu cases are frequently diagnosed.
  • Skin conditions, which are relatively common and easy to treat, can escalate if ignored. This is especially true for contagious infections such as ringworm, which can overtake an animal shelter or spread to all pets within a shared home.
  • Ear infections accounted for 11% of illnesses in dogs. Noticeable symptoms, which include excessive ear scratching, head shaking, discharge, and odor, should be diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
  • Eye conditions describe a wide range of problems a dog may experience. From conjunctivitis and mild irritations to glaucoma and corneal ulcers, some breeds (like Pugs and Boston Terriers) are more susceptible.
  • Pain is more of a symptom than an illness, but it is still a major reason for veterinary visits. With a wide assortment of causes, finding the source of pain and deciding the proper treatment could include a range of diagnostic tools at varied price points.

The Top 5 Feline Conditions

  • Stomach issues are the top illnesses for cats. Just like their canine counterparts, cats commonly digest household items that can cause blockages and infections. In addition to foreign objects, hairballs, food intolerance, and ulcers are the main culprits for stomach-related veterinary visits.
  • Urinary tract infections and bladder stones comprised 15% of trips to the veterinarian for cats, especially for cats between 1 and 4 years of age. Depending on severity and treatment plan, caring for urinary tract infections could require antibiotics, dietary changes, or even surgery.
  • Skin conditions are also common for felines. The most frequently reported issues include abscesses, sores, allergies, hair loss, parasites, and compulsive grooming.
  • Kidney disease, which accounted for 9% of the most common conditions in cats, is generally broken into 2 categories. Acute kidney failure is a severe condition with sudden onset that can be caused by toxic substances or physical blockages. Chronic kidney disease, on the other hand, develops over a period of time, may have no cure, and must be managed daily.
  • Cancers are the heartbreaking diagnoses that rounded out the top 5 ailments in felines. One of the most common cancers is lymphoma, followed by squamous cell carcinoma and soft tissue sarcoma.