I have borrowed these stats from a blog by Dr. Nancy Kay “Spot Speaks” and her wonderful blog.  But these numbers are surely worth consideration and come from a study by the biggest veterinary hospital out there, Banfield.  They have access to the largest concentration of pets throughout the United States and are able to make some statistics of their clients- Some things that they found include…..

-Dental disease was the most common medical condition reported. In fact, 78 percent of dogs and 68 percent of cats over three years of age had some form of dental disease. The top five dog breeds most likely to develop periodontal disease included the Toy Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier, Maltese, Pomeranian, and Shetland Sheepdog (it’s a given that small breed dogs have a higher incidence of dental disease than medium and large breed dogs).

-Otitis externa (infection or inflammation of the external ear canal) was the second most common disease, found in 15.8 percent of dogs and 7.4 percent of cats.

-There has been a 32 percent increase in canine diabetes and a 16 percent increase in feline diabetes compared to data collected in 2006.

-Obesity ranked in the top five diagnoses for dogs and in the top three diagnoses for cats. This may, in part, explain why the prevalence of diabetes is increasing.

-The incidence of flea infestation has increased 16 percent in dogs and 12 percent in cats; rather surprising given the fact that flea control products have been steadily evolving.

-One of the top three diseases found in dogs examined in Banfield hospitals located within the Southern United States was heartworm disease (detected in 6.7 percent of dogs examined).

-Cats in 2010 more frequently test positive for roundworms, hookworms and whipworms (all intestinal parasites) compared to cats evaluated in 2006. Canine hookworms and whipworms have also increased during this same time period.

-Small breed dogs are gaining in popularity. Chihuahuas represented a whopping 8 percent of Banfield’s patient population. This represents a 116 percent increase when comparing data between 2000 and 2010. Labrador Retrievers remained the most common dog breed among Banfield patients, but their numbers decreased by 20 percent between 2000 and 2010.

-The number of feline vet clinic visits is declining. In 2006 Banfield veterinarians examined 5.3 dogs for every feline visit. The current ratio is 6.6 dogs for every one kitty.

Many of these issues we address on a daily basis here at Woodlake Animal Hospital.  We strive to make our feline-friends comfortable and to make their visits here as easy and stress-free as possible.

Allergies and obesity are major issues with both our dogs and our cats, and the staff at Woodlake Animal Hospital are well versed in discussing diets and how the right food can get your pet on the right track- those itchy ears and flaky skin and the extra poundage can all be correlated with the wrong food and too much of it!  We carry an assortment of prescription diets, but we also stock premium brands of dehydrated raw diets that are not found anywhere else in Midlothian, and only in a handful of places in Richmond.  You might ask what “dehydrated raw” means, but it is simply human-grade, high quality, grain-free food that you add some water to prior to feeding it to your pet.  It looks a bit like a stew when you serve it, but it’s palatability is excellent, and you are feeding your pets some of the best food you can.

Gone are the days that feeding the same shaped kibble out of some “nameless” 40 lb bag for the life of your pet is the appropriate approach towards feeding our pets.  Dogs are omnivores, like we are, and cats are obligate carnivores (they have no grain/carbohydrate requirements) and their diets need to reflect how they SHOULD be eating, not how we WANT to feed them.  Our kitties are fat because they sleep all day and wake up to eat some carbs….our dogs are fat because for the most part, they do the same thing.  The fact that their ears are red and itchy, or they chew their feet, or loose hair on their bellies or shed a lot, or have flaky, dry, itchy skin….it is ALL related to what they are eating.

So come by and talk to us- we are confident we can get you and your pet on the path to wellness, simply by addressing what they are eating!