Posts Tagged ‘canine health’

Trends in Veterinary Medicine

June 26, 2011

Just as human docs are seeing more patients with diabetes, so too are veterinarians.  A first-of-its-kind study conducted by Banfield Pet Hospital (a corporation with more than 770 veterinary hospitals) documents rises in the incidence of diabetes, dental disease, flea infestations, ear infections, and intestinal parasites.  Banfield collected their data from a whopping 2.1 million dogs and 450,000 cats seen during 2010, and then released it as a document called “State of Pet Health 2011 Report.” The entirety of this report is available via the Banfield website.

 

Here are some highlights from this study:

-Dental disease was the most common medical condition reported. In fact, 78 percent of dogs and 68 percent of cats over three years of age had some form of dental disease.  The top five dog breeds most likely to develop periodontal disease included the Toy Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier, Maltese, Pomeranian, and Shetland Sheepdog (it’s a given that small breed dogs have a higher incidence of dental disease than medium and large breed dogs).

-Otitis externa (infection or inflammation of the external ear canal) was the second most common disease, found in 15.8 percent of dogs and 7.4 percent of cats.

-There has been a 32 percent increase in canine diabetes and a 16 percent increase in feline diabetes compared to data collected in 2006.

-Obesity ranked in the top five diagnoses for dogs and in the top three diagnoses for cats.  This may, in part, explain why the prevalence of diabetes is increasing.

-The incidence of flea infestation has increased 16 percent in dogs and 12 percent in cats; rather surprising given the fact that flea control products have been steadily evolving.

-One of the top three diseases found in dogs examined in Banfield hospitals located within the Southern United States was heartworm disease (detected in 6.7 percent of dogs examined).

-Cats in 2010 more frequently test positive for roundworms, hookworms and whipworms (all intestinal parasites) compared to cats evaluated in 2006. Canine hookworms and whipworms have also increased during this same time period.

-Small breed dogs are gaining in popularity.  Chihuahuas represented a whopping 8 percent of Banfield’s patient population.  This represents a 116 percent increase when comparing data between 2000 and 2010.  Labrador Retrievers remained the most common dog breed among Banfield patients, but their numbers decreased by 20 percent between 2000 and 2010.

-The number of feline vet clinic visits is declining.  In 2006 Banfield veterinarians examined 5.3 dogs for every feline visit.  The current ratio is 6.6 dogs for every one kitty.

Dr. Jeffrey Klausner is the chief medical officer for Banfield.  He expresses concern about the rise in some of the preventable diseases mentioned above and he states, “I just can’t help but wonder if there is a correlation between the increase and prevalence of these diseases and the decreasing visits to veterinarians.”

The stated purpose of the Banfield study is to help the veterinary profession gain a better understanding of the state of pet health in the United States, especially in light of many recent reports indicating a decline in veterinary visits.  Dr. Klausner hopes that the Banfield analysis will help veterinarians develop strategies to improve patient care.  The decline in vet clinic visits may correlate with the relatively newer knowledge that core vaccinations (rabies, distemper, parvovirus) need not be given annually.  It appears that some folks view vaccines to be the primary reason for vet clinic visits and ignore the importance of an annual physical examination. Several studies are currently underway to try to understand why feline veterinary clinic visits have declined so dramatically.

Kudos to Banfield Pet Hospital for orchestrating this monumental study.  What a great way to give back to the profession.  The Banfield data underscores the importance of annual visits to the vet (whether or not vaccinations are due) and discussion of preventive health care.  When did you and your pet last visit your vet for an annual physical examination?  Did you discuss dental disease, flea control, or weight management for your pet?

Best wishes for good health,

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of  Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

Advertisements

Speaking for Spot (the book and the blog) named winners in the 2009 Dog Writer’s Association Annual Competition

February 15, 2010

Dr. Nancy Kay’s book, Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life and her Speaking for Spot Blog were honored at the Dog Writers Association of America Annual Writing Competition Awards ceremony on February 14, 2010 hosted in New York City in conjunction with the Westminster Dog Show. 

The DWAA Annual Writing Competition honors a broad range of authors who have written books and/or published their work in newspaper, website, blog, magazine, newsletter or broadcast media.  In addition to these regular awards, a dozen special awards are given by Eukanuba, Merial, Morris Animal Foundation, North Shore Animal League, AKC, Westminster Kennel Club, PSI, DWAA and Planet Dog Foundation. 

Dr. Kay’s Speaking for Spot Blog (www.speakingforspot.com/blog) received The Best Blog Award. 

Dr. Kay and her book, Speaking for Spot, received the highly coveted Eukanuba Canine Health Award. The is presented for the article or book that best promotes the health and well being of dogs with accuracy, clear writing and the representation of a fresh view of canine health

Dr. Kay is passionate in her desire to equip people to b the best possible medical advocates for their pets and in Speaking for Spot she has provided an invaluable tool for achieving that wish.  Speaking for Spot has been widely acclaimed by fellow veterinarians, pet industry publications and the pet-loving public. Dr. Kay is the recipient of the American Animal Hospital Association Hills 2009 American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award.  Dr. Kay was featured on the National Public Radio Show, Fresh Air with Terry Gross on March 19, 2009.

Dr. Nancy Kay is a board certified specialist in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.  She is a staff internist at VCA Animal Care Center, a 24-hour emergency/specialty care center in Rohnert Park, California.

Speaking for Spot (the book and the blog) named winners in the 2009 Dog Writer's Association Annual Competition

February 15, 2010

Dr. Nancy Kay’s book, Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life and her Speaking for Spot Blog were honored at the Dog Writers Association of America Annual Writing Competition Awards ceremony on February 14, 2010 hosted in New York City in conjunction with the Westminster Dog Show. 

The DWAA Annual Writing Competition honors a broad range of authors who have written books and/or published their work in newspaper, website, blog, magazine, newsletter or broadcast media.  In addition to these regular awards, a dozen special awards are given by Eukanuba, Merial, Morris Animal Foundation, North Shore Animal League, AKC, Westminster Kennel Club, PSI, DWAA and Planet Dog Foundation. 

Dr. Kay’s Speaking for Spot Blog (www.speakingforspot.com/blog) received The Best Blog Award. 

Dr. Kay and her book, Speaking for Spot, received the highly coveted Eukanuba Canine Health Award. The is presented for the article or book that best promotes the health and well being of dogs with accuracy, clear writing and the representation of a fresh view of canine health

Dr. Kay is passionate in her desire to equip people to b the best possible medical advocates for their pets and in Speaking for Spot she has provided an invaluable tool for achieving that wish.  Speaking for Spot has been widely acclaimed by fellow veterinarians, pet industry publications and the pet-loving public. Dr. Kay is the recipient of the American Animal Hospital Association Hills 2009 American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award.  Dr. Kay was featured on the National Public Radio Show, Fresh Air with Terry Gross on March 19, 2009.

Dr. Nancy Kay is a board certified specialist in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.  She is a staff internist at VCA Animal Care Center, a 24-hour emergency/specialty care center in Rohnert Park, California.

Pain Management 101

September 4, 2009

My husband and I just returned from a wonderful stay at a dog-friendly campground. We encountered just about as many dogs as we did people! We made some new friends including Buddy, Sierra, Milo, Otis, Judd, Lexie, and Homer (please don’t ask me to recall the names of their humans). Our next-door neighbors were Milo and Otis, two middle-aged black Labradors. When these goofy brothers weren’t off on family hikes they spent their time meandering about with sticks in their mouths and checking our campsite in case we managed to “misplace” any food items. By day three, I observed them to be exploring less and lying around more. I also noticed that Milo was favoring a front leg and Otis was showing discomfort in his hind end. When I mentioned my observations to our neighbors (I cannot seem to keep my mouth shut in such situations), they told me that Milo and Otis both have arthritis and their stiffness and soreness was predictable in response to their increased activity level. They routinely gave them pain medication (the equivalent of aspirin or ibuprofen for us) as soon as arthritis symptoms became apparent. In fact, they had administered their first dosage that morning. These poor folks had no idea that such innocent comments would prompt a mini-lecture from the likes of me! Here is what I explained:

Whether for ourselves or for our pets, the ideal time to treat predictable pain is before it begins. Investigational studies have documented that pain can induce a “kindling effect”. In other words, low-grade pain has the potential to self-ignite into a flare-up of pain that is more severe, therefore more difficult to control with medication. Far better to take proactive measures (medication, acupuncture, rehabilitation therapy, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, etc.) before the onset of predictable or anticipated pain than it is to attempt to douse the discomfort once it has already “caught fire”. It’s also important to keep in mind that many dogs, particularly those with stoic demeanors, may not demonstrate any overt symptoms until their pain has progressed well beyond what would be considered mild.

I suspect that my new friends Milo and Otis will be far more comfortable on their future camping trips! I must confess here- I also counseled their humans on the benefits of weight loss (both dogs were chubby) as a means of benefiting their arthritis pain. Those poor people certainly got more than they bargained for! Does your dog predictably become stiff or sore following increased activity? If so, please share what you do to prevent the discomfort.

Now, here’s wishing you and your four-legged best friend good health! 

Dr. Nancy Kay
Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine 

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller. 

Join our email list – http://speakingforspot.com/joinemaillist.html

Look for us on Twitter – http://twitter.com/speakingforspot

Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Listen to Dr. Kay’s interview – A Veterinarian Advises “How to Speak for Spot” on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross