Top 10 Dog and Cat Medical Conditions of 2009

Nation's Largest Pet Insurer Reveals Most Common Causes of Veterinary Visits

Feb 09, 2010, 09:00 ET from Veterinary Pet Insurance Co.

BREA, Calif., Feb. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Even the healthiest person can end up in a doctor's office with an unexpected bout of stomach trouble or an ear infection. While these conditions are rarely life threatening, they can become chronic and expensive to treat. The same is true for pets. Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation's oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, receives more than a million claims annually for treatment of cats and dogs. This data reveals that just like people, many dogs and cats in 2009 received treatment for non-emergency as well as ongoing disorders:

Top Dog Conditions

Top Cat Conditions

1.  Ear Infection

1.  Lower Urinary Tract Disease

2.  Skin Allergy

2.  Gastritis/Vomiting

3.  Skin Infection/Hot Spots

3.  Chronic Renal Failure

4.  Gastritis/Vomiting

4.  Hyperthyroidism

5.  Enteritis/Diarrhea

5.  Diabetes

6.  Bladder Infection

6.  Enteritis/Diarrhea

7.  Arthritis

7.  Skin Allergy

8.  Soft Tissue Trauma

8.  Periodontitis/Dental Disease

9.  Non-cancerous Tumor

9.  Ear Infection

10. Eye Infection

10.  Eye Infection

"What we hear from many pet owners," said Dr. Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI, "is that nothing happens to their pet because the pet is with them daily and receives the right food and plenty of exercise, etc. Those things certainly go a long way in making for a healthy, happy animal. Despite a pet owner's best efforts, however, VPI's data shows that pets are still at risk for ailments that may require repeated trips to a veterinarian's office."

VPI received nearly 68,000 canine claims for ear infections in 2009 – with an average claim fee of $100 per office visit. For cats, VPI received 3,700 medical claims for lower urinary tract disease. Lower urinary tract disease cost cat owners an average of $260 per office visit. The most expensive canine condition on the list (non-cancerous tumor) cost an average of $335 per visit, while, for cats, the most expensive condition (periodontitis/dental disease) cost an average of $360 per visit.

A few of the top 10 dog and cat conditions can be associated with an animal's natural aging process. However, many of the top 10 conditions can occur in any pet. No matter the age or breed, whether it be an indoor or an outdoor 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 addition, regular semiannual physical exams can help prevent and identify certain conditions before they become serious or costly.

About Veterinary Pet Insurance

With more than 475,000 pets insured nationwide, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co./DVM Insurance Agency is the nation's oldest and largest pet health insurance company and is a member of the Nationwide Insurance family of companies. Providing pet owners with peace of mind since 1982, the company is committed to being the trusted choice of America's pet lovers and an advocate of pet health education. VPI Pet Insurance plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Optional Pet CareGuard(SM) for routine care is also available.

Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. More than 2,000 companies nationwide offer VPI Pet Insurance as an employee benefit. Policies are underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and in all other states by National Casualty Company, an A+15 rated company in Madison, Wisconsin. Pet owners can find VPI Pet Insurance on Facebook or follow @VPI on Twitter. For more information about VPI Pet Insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit

SOURCE Veterinary Pet Insurance Co.