The 10 Most Common Pet Ailments

An ear infection, stomach ache or cough can prompt a visit to your doctor and the same holds true for our pets. While the majority of these conditions are curable, they can become chronic and expensive to treat.

Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI) policyholders spent more than $46 million in 2011 treating the 10 most common medical conditions afflicting their pets.

VPI, the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, recently sorted its database of more than 485,000 insured pets to determine the top 10 dog and cat medical conditions in 2011. Below are the results:

        Dogs                           Cats
        1.   Ear Infection             1.    Bladder Infection
        2.   Skin Allergies            2.    Chronic Kidney Disease
        3.   Skin Infection            3.    Overactive Thyroid
        4.   Non-cancerous Skin Growth 4.    Upset Stomach
        5.   Upset Stomach             5.    Periodontitis/Dental Disease
        6.   Intestinal Upset/Diarrhea 6.    Diabetes
        7.   Arthritis                 7.    Intestinal Upset/Diarrhea
        8.   Bladder Infection         8.    Ear Infection
        9.   Bruise or Contusion       9.    Skin Allergies
        10.  Underactive Thyroid       10.   Lymphosarcoma (Cancer of Lymph Node)

“The large number of claims received for these medical conditions attests to their common, often repetitive, and sometimes chronic nature,” said Dr. Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice
president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “While many pet owners fear major accidents and illnesses, which can cost thousands of dollars to treat for a single incident, repetitive and chronic conditions can be just as detrimental to a pet’s quality of life and financially burdensome to the pet owner.”

In 2011, VPI received more than 62,000 canine claims for ear infections, the most common cause for taking a dog to see a veterinarian. The average claim fee was $98 per office visit. For cats, a bladder infection was the most common reason to take your kitty to the veterinarian. VPI received more than 3,800 medical claims for this ailment – with an average claim amount of $233 per office visit.

The most expensive canine condition on the list (non-cancerous skin growth) cost an average of $220 per visit, while, for cats, the most expensive condition (lymphosarcoma) cost an average of $426 per visit

Pet owners should familiarize themselves with their pets’ daily routine in order to identify abnormal behaviors that might indicate an injury or illness. In addition, regular semiannual physical examinations by a veterinarian can help prevent and identify certain conditions before they become serious or costly.


  1. Georgine says on  08/13/2013 at 9:15 am

    I have a shihTzu and she hops around on her butt and barks. Can you tell me what causes her to do this? I keep thinking she is either getting bit by fleas which we have sandy soil so she does get them on her or she is having a spasms in her hind quarter.

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