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How many dogs and cats receive therapeutic diets or dietary supplements?
And how is the disease prevalence among dogs and cats in the United States and Australia? These two questions were followed used nearly 20.000 phone calls. The results regarding the most common diseases and the diet fed are very surprising and interesting!

A telephone survey was administered to dog and cat owners located in 5 geographic areas.

Of 18,194 telephone calls that were made, 1,104 (6%) were to individuals who owned at least 1 dog or cat and agreed to participate. Information was collected for 635 dogs and 469 cats.

Only 14 (1%) respondents indicated that their pet was unhealthy, but 176 (16%) indicated that their pets had 1 or more diseases.

The most common diseases were musculo-skeletal, dental, and gastrointestinal tract or hepatic disease.

Many owners (n = 356) reported their pets were overweight or obese, but only 3 reported obesity as a health problem in their pets.

Owners of 28 (2.5%) animals reported that they were feeding a therapeutic diet, with the most common being diets for animals with renal disease (n = 5), reduced-calorie diets (5), and reduced-fat diets (4).

Owners of 107 of 1,076 (9.9%) animals reported administering dietary supplements to their pets. Multivitamins (n = 53 animals), chondroprotective agents (22), and fatty acids (13) were the most common dietary supplements used.

Results suggest that most dogs and cats reported by their owners to have a health problem were not being fed a therapeutic diet. In addition, the rate of dietary supplement use was lower than that reported for people.


Source: Freeman LM, et al (2006): Disease prevalence among dogs and cats in the United States and Australia and proportions of dogs and cats that receive therapeutic diets or dietary supplements. In: J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2006 Aug 15;229(4):531-4.


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SMALL ANIMAL PRACTICE

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