The most commonly diagnosed diseases in pet cats are “almost completely preventable”, a new study has found.
The latest analysis from the RVC VetCompass programme, published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, randomly sampled more than 18,000 animals from the scheme’s 2019 population of 1.25 million UK cats.
The most common conditions found were gum disease (15.23%), obesity (11.58%), general dental disease (9.23%), overgrown nail(s) (5.23%), flea infestation (5.07%) and a heart murmur (4.44%).
Females were found to be at greater risk of developing hypersensitivity, hyperthyroidism and overgrown nails, among other conditions, while males were more susceptible to heart murmurs and obesity.
Quality of life
Co-author Danièlle Gunn-Moore, professor of feline medicine at The University of Edinburgh, said: “Britain is a country of animal lovers, yet this study shows that the most common illnesses cats suffer with are almost completely preventable.
“Cats cannot gain excessive weight on their own – I know myself how tough it is when your beloved cat asks for a few more kibbles. But we must remember that food is not love; it is far better to play a game with them instead.
“If we love our cats, we owe it to them to provide the best quality of life that we can. This study gives us the evidence base to do that.”
The study, which received funding from The Kennel Club Charitable Trust and Agria Pet Insurance, also found older cats, aged eight or older, were at greater risk of developing 27 out of the 30 most common feline disorders.
Cross-breed cats accounted for almost 88% of the sample, with the most common breeds in the sample being British shorthair (3.01%), ragdoll (1.82%) and Bengal (1.22%).
BVA senior vice-president Justine Shotton said: “Cats have a reputation for being easy to keep, but this new data really demonstrates how important it is for owners to ensure that they’re keeping on top of their cats’ basic welfare needs.
“Whether your cat is the laid-back type or a bundle of feline energy, regular health checks and a good relationship with your vet can ensure that you’re not missing the subtle signs that they’re unwell or in pain.”
Credit to: Most common feline diseases ‘preventable’, new RVC research says (Vet Times)
Vet Times. (2023). Most common feline diseases ‘preventable’, new RVC research says [online]