Fri, Jun 27, 2014 - Page 3 News List

NTU, Taoyuan County track causes of pet deaths

By Hsieh Wu-hsiung and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A joint research effort from 24 Taoyuan County veterinary clinics and National Taiwan University’s (NTU) school of Veterinary Medicine recently found that the primary causes of death for pet dogs were cardiovascular diseases, and that housecats in the data set usually died from complications following kidney failure.

The research results are based on death records for 128 pet cats and dogs over the past three years, the Taoyuan County Government said.

County government Animal Disease Control Center Director Chen Jen-hsin (陳仁信) said that the most common cause found among the 87 recorded deaths of pet dogs was a set of cardiovascular diseases, followed by “natural or unknown” causes, with multiple organ failure, infectious diseases and cancer, in that order, rounding out the five most common causes of death.

Among the 41 cat deaths, top causes were kidney failure, multiple organ failure, external wounds, “natural or unknown causes” of death and cancer.

What leads to death among household pets has a large part to do with their daily habits and what they eat, Chen said.

That cardiovascular diseases are the main killer of pet dogs suggests that their diets might include too much oily food, Chen said.

If a dog has been diagnosed with a cardiovascular disease, it must not be fed regular dog food or table scraps, but needs to eat prescribed dog food, Chen said.

Chen said that household pets should also be immunized on a regular basis, citing gastroenteritis as an example of preventable illness and death for pets.

If pets are not immunized against gastroenteritis, the mortality rate is almost 100 percent, Chen said.

Chen said that cats dying from kidney failure probably did not drink enough water.

Cat owners can try adding fresh drinking water more often to increase their pet’s inclination to drink, Chen said.

Chen also said that as house pets age — just like their owners — they grow more susceptible to illness, such as cardiovascular diseases, endocrine problems, aches in joints or other bone problems and cancer.

Pet lovers must ensure their pets get regular health checkups, Chen said.

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