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COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

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

Lisa M Freeman, Sarah K Abood, Andrea J Fascetti, Linda M Fleeman, Kathryn E Michel, Dorothy P Laflamme, Cassandra Bauer, Brona L E Kemp, Janine R Van Doren, Kristina N Willoughby
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 2006 August 15, 229 (4): 531-4
16910851

OBJECTIVE: To estimate 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.

DESIGN: Telephone survey. Sample Population-Dog and cat owners located in 5 geographic areas.

PROCEDURES: A telephone survey was administered to dog and cat owners.

RESULTS: 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.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: 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.

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