The Banfield Pet Hospital annual State of Pet Health Report for 2014 focuses on what it calls a “staggering” increase in infectious diseases in dogs and cats. Data from patients at Banfield’s 850 hospitals—470,000 cats and 2.3 million dogs in 2013—showed a 48 percent increase in the prevalence of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) in cats and a 21 percent increase in the prevalence of infection with the bacterium that causes Lyme disease in dogs. The hospitals’ internal research team, Banfield Applied Research and Knowledge (BARK), also studied trends involving parvovirus, Giardia infection and kennel cough in dogs and feline leukemia virus (FeLV), upper respiratory infection and ear mites in cats.
The report suggests that pet owners may not realize the threat of infectious disease exists in seemingly innocent and regular activities for pets. Cats can come into contact with the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis from eating the meat of infected animals such as mice. Dogs can contract leptospirosis by licking contaminated urine—easily achieved at a dog park. Banfield believes the trends uncovered in the 2014 report illustrate the value of preventive pet health care to reduce the risk of disease in pets.
Here’s what veterinarians and their clients should know about the current risk of infection in cats and dogs.
> Approximately one in every 300 cats seen in Banfield hospitals in 2013 was infected with FIV.
> The highest prevalence of FIV infection was found in Oklahoma, Iowa and Arkansas.
> Male cats are three times as likely to be infected with FIV as females. > Intact cats older than 1 year were 3.5 times as likely to be infected with FIV as same-aged spayed or neutered cats. > In 2013, approximately one in every 250 cats was infected with FeLV. > Cats in Idaho, Alabama, South Carolina and Louisiana had the highest rate of FeLV infection.
> Eighteen percent of juvenile cats had an upper respiratory infection—making this age group three times as likely to be diagnosed with the disease as were older cats.
> About one in every seven cats seen in Kentucky had an upper respiratory infection.
> Overall, 10 percent of cats seen had upper respiratory infections in 2013. > Approximately one of every 45 cats seen in 2013 was infested with ear mites.
> Juvenile cats were more than eight times more likely to have ear mites than cats older than 1 year of age.
> Approximately one in every 130 dogs was infected with the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.
> Northeastern states are a hot spot of Lyme disease, specifically New Hampshire, where one in every 15 dogs seen was infected.
> Lyme disease was twice as common in large breed dogs as in toy or small breed dogs.
> About one in every 290 dogs tested positive for canine parvovirus in 2013. > Dogs in New Mexico, Texas and Nevada had the highest rate of parvovirus infection.
> Puppies are at greatest risk of parvovirus infection—one in every 74 puppies was infected.
> Intact dogs 1 year and older were almost 23 times as likely to be infected with parvovirus as spayed or neutered dogs of the same age.
> Approximately one in every 230 dogs had a Giardia infection in 2013. > Giardia was most common in dogs living in the central and northeastern United States.
> Kennel cough remains a significant threat despite the availability of effective vaccines; the disease affected almost 2 percent of dogs seen in 2013.
> Kennel cough was most often diagnosed in Kentucky, Utah and Florida.
To view the entire State of Pet Health 2014 Report, go to stateofpethealth.com.
Everything I bolded is either preventable via vaccine or by topical monthly flea treatment. These vaccines/ monthly preventions are affordable and can save you a fortune in veterinary bills in the future if your pet contracts the illness. Preventable care is where you will save money, don’t wait for your pet to become ill.