|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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