Vet survey reveals dogs’ top three fatal illnesses

CANINE TRUTHS::A study by veterinarians showed cardiovascular disease kills the most dogs. Many live to be between 12 and 16 years old, the vets said

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff Reporter

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 - Page 2

Veterinarians from the school of veterinary medicine at National Taiwan University yesterday said cardiovascular disease, renal failure and cancer were the three top causes of death for pet dogs in Taipei this year.

The findings came from a survey authorized by the Taipei City Animal Protection Office on the causes of pet dogs’ deaths.

By yesterday, data had been gathered from 82 veterinary hospitals on a total of 587 cases.

Taipei City Animal Protection Office director Yen I-feng (嚴一峰) said Taipei had the highest population of pets in the country, with about 160,000 dogs and 80,000 cats.

Liu Chen-hsuan (劉振軒), dean of the school, said the survey showed the top three causes of death were cardiovascular disease (20.5 percent), renal failure (12.9 percent) and cancer (10.6 percent), which is similar to study results from the UK and the US.

Death from infectious diseases only accounted for 6 percent of deaths among dogs and the age range when most deaths occurred was between 12 and 16 years old, Liu said.

Liu added that the results showed that dog owners in Taipei took good care of their pets.

Taipei Veterinary Medical Association president Simon Yang (楊靜宇) said the top three causes of death were chronic diseases usually associated with aging, which showed that the quality of medical services provided at veterinary hospitals was of a high level.

He said owners should look out for early symptoms.

Low activity, asthma or swelling of the belly can signal cardiovascular diseases; drinking excessive amounts of water or an unusual clear urine color might suggest renal failure; and tumors on the body may be symptoms of cancer, Yang said.

Yen urged pet owners to take their dogs for a physical checkup once a year after they have reached seven years old to facilitate the prevention and early treatment of these diseases.