Dog and cat owners are confusing clinical signs of OA for the normal ageing of their pets, according to a Europe-wide survey.
While 89% of dog owners and 80% of cat owners were aware OA was an issue in pets, many in both camps were mistaking clinical signs for their pets growing old normally.
YouGov, on behalf of Zoetis, carried out a survey of 6,048 pet owners from the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland – 39% of them cat owners, 39% dog owners and 22% owners of both.
Most dog owners (89%) and cat owners (80%) are aware OA is an issue, but 34% of the former and 43% of the latter confuse OA signs with ageing or other health issues.
Of the dog owners, 27% would not take their pet to the vet if it had common OA signs, with the figure for cat keepers slightly higher at 28%.
Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed said their pet’s health was equally important to their own, with 10% of cat owners and 12% of dog owners saying a pet’s health was more important.
Commenting on the findings, Matt Gurney, vet and president of the European College of Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia, said: “Just like in humans, OA is a very common problem in dogs and cats – around 30% to 50% will be affected at some point in their lives.
“OA can be very painful for your pet, negatively impacting their physical health and their emotional well-being. But there is hope, as there are ways your vet can help reduce the pain and improve their well-being. The first step is identifying the condition using the checklists we’re sharing today.”
Jamie Brannan, executive vice-president for Zoetis’ international operations, said: “The power of the human-animal bond is at the heart of what we do at Zoetis.
“We know how much pets mean to their owners and understand the strong connection between the health of people and animals. This is why we are committed to advancing pet care to improve the lives of dogs and cats who might be living in pain.
“Like people, pets can also suffer from OA, and we are proud to offer solutions that can improve the lives of dogs and cats suffering from the condition.”
Credit to: Owners mistake OA for ageing pets – survey (Vet Times)
Vet Times. (2023). Owners mistake OA for ageing pets – survey [online]