Top 10 Medical Reasons People Take Their Dog or Cat to the Vet

No one likes going to the doctor. Not only because it usually means you’re sick or injured, but also because well, doctor’s visits are not cheap if you’re in the United States.

Same thing goes for pet owners in the United States — there are many ailments, injuries and diseases that prompt responsible dog and cat owners to seek advice and treatment from their veterinarian. Veterinary Pet Insurance, a nationwide insurance company that insures more than 485,000 pets released their 2012 list of the top reasons pets visit the veterinarian — for both dogs and cats. Some ailments are likely a result of older age and some are more serious than others.

Click through the list of top 10 medical reasons for cats and dogs visit the vet and some warning signs your pet could have an ailment.

  • Top Medical Reasons That Prompt People to Take Their Pet to the Vet 1 of 23
    Top Medical Reasons That Prompt People to Take Their Pet to the Vet
    According to Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI) policyholders in the United States, spent more than $58 million in 2012 treating the 10 most common medical conditions affecting their pets.What are they & what are some warning signs? Find out:
  • Top Reasons for Cats 2 of 23
    Top Reasons for Cats
    Ranging from ailments due to infection to a complication of an aging cat, these are the top reasons pet owners bring their cats to the vet, plus signs to watch for in your cat.
  • Bladder Infection 3 of 23
    Bladder Infection
    The most common reason cat owners brought their cat to the vet was due to bladder infections. According to VPI, the average spent per visit was $251 for this ailment.
    How do I know if my pet has this? Some warning signs include frequent urination, urinating outside the litter box and a foul smell, according to Cat World.
  • Periodontitis/Dental Disease 4 of 23
    Periodontitis/Dental Disease
    Dental care is important for your pets too, and can be something we often forget. Signs of dental disease in a cat includes irritated, bleeding gums, bad breath and is relatively the same in people as in pets according to Veterinary Oral Health Counsel
  • Overactive Thyroid 5 of 23
    Overactive Thyroid
    A common disorder in aging cats, an overactive thyroid is the 3rd top reason cat owners bring their cat to the vet.
    How do I know if my cat has this? According to, signs of overactive thyroid include weight loss, increased thirst and irritability.
  • Chronic Kidney Disease 6 of 23
    Chronic Kidney Disease
    This is another ailment that is often seen in older cats. It could happen in younger cats, but more often than not it's seen in older cats. The most common sign of chronic kidney disease include an increase of water consumption and typically it's not curable according to Cats of Australia.
  • Upset Stomach/Vomiting 7 of 23
    Upset Stomach/Vomiting
    No one likes to see their cat sick and that's why an upset stomach or vomiting is a main reason cats are seen at the vet. Their sad meow, gagging and retching are all signs your cat's stomach is not feeling well. According to Eukanuba Cat, the cause of the stomach ailment can range from eating too much or too fast to eating something they shouldn't have. It's important to watch for signs of dehydration and not ignore repeated vomiting.
  • Diabetes 8 of 23
    Diabetes is something that can strike humans and cats and a common reason for a vet visit. The signs your cat may have diabetes include being overweight, overly thirsty and frequent urination according to Animal Planet. Treatment includes diet change, exercise and medications.
  • Intestinal Upset/Diarrhea 9 of 23
    Intestinal Upset/Diarrhea
    This reason is similar to the upset stomach and vomiting, but no one want to deal with their cat who has intestinal upset. Your cat could also have a fever along with diarrhea and you need to watch closely for signs of dehydration, as advised by Our Happy Cat.
  • Skin Allergies 10 of 23
    Skin Allergies
    If you deal with allergies yourself, you'll know how uncomfortable it is. Cats too can have allergies and skin allergies is a common reason vets see cats. Symptoms of an allergy for your cat includes crusts that usually form on the head and paws while the nose loses pigment, according to Pets WebMD.
  • Lymphosarcoma (Cancer of Lymph Node) 11 of 23
    Lymphosarcoma (Cancer of Lymph Node)
    This is the most expensive condition on the list with an average price of $415 per visit. The signs and symptoms of lymphosarcoma vary depending on where the tumor is located according to
  • Upper Respiratory Infection 12 of 23
    Upper Respiratory Infection
    Cats can get colds too and upper respiratory infections as well. According to How Stuff Works, signs are similar to ones we have, including sneezing, watery eyes and a fever.
  • Top Reasons for Dogs 13 of 23
    Top Reasons for Dogs
    Many of these ailments are associated with older dogs, but they can happen even in the younger ones.
  • Skin Allergies 14 of 23
    Skin Allergies
    This reason overtook the typical running reason dogs see the vet. The can be caused by seasonal allergies, food allergies or even fleas according to My Itchy Dog.
  • Ear Infection 15 of 23
    Ear Infection
    If you've had an ear infection yourself, you will know how painful they are. Ear infections, historically has been the main reason dogs are seen at the vet, but it's not the 2nd most common reason. According to Cesar Millan, symptoms can include scratching and rubbing of the ears and shaking of the head.
  • Skin Infection 16 of 23
    Skin Infection
    It's usually the result of a bacterial infection and the most common places for a skin infection on a dog are the mouth, groin and ears. Also, pressure points like the elbows and toes and tail, noted by National Pet Pharmacy.
  • Non-cancerous Skin Growth 17 of 23
    Non-cancerous Skin Growth
    Skin growths are very common in dogs stated by PetWave and typically they are found to be benign. They can be a result of an infection or just an accumulation of fat in one spot.
  • Upset Stomach/Vomiting 18 of 23
    Upset Stomach/Vomiting
    Similar to the ailment in cats and humans, upset stomach and vomiting often prompts a visit to the vet. There are a few ways you can help manage your dogs upset stomach at home according to the Vet Guru including feeding your dog a bland diet herbal remedies like ginger. They also suggest that if it's accompanied by behavioral changes or lasts more that 2 days to visit your vet.
  • Arthritis 19 of 23
    The most expensive reason for a visit for dogs with an average cost of $258 per visit, arthritis doesn't discriminate against dogs either. Signs your dog may be dealing with arthritis include favoring a limb, difficulty walking or standing, weight gain and decrease in activity according to
  • Intestinal Upset/Diarrhea 20 of 23
    Intestinal Upset/Diarrhea
    Another common reason that brings both cats and dogs to the vet is intestinal upset. Not only is it distressing to watch our dogs in pain, but well, it's messy. According to Yahoo, calling the vet should be done if the symptoms persist or last for more than a day or when they have multiple symptoms at once, including behavioral changes.
  • Bladder Infection 21 of 23
    Bladder Infection
    There are many reasons your dog could have a bladder infection outlined by WebMD and they include stones, trauma, stress and bacteria entering the urinary tract. Symptoms are similar to that in cats with increased urination and loss of bladder control
  • Periodontitis/Dental Disease 22 of 23
    Periodontitis/Dental Disease
    It's quite similar to that in cats and humans outlined by bad breath, bleeding and, sore gums. Proper and frequent dental hygiene is important for your dog's health. As PetMD suggests, it usually starts just around one tooth, so earlier detection can make a big difference.
  • Bruise or Contusion 23 of 23
    Bruise or Contusion
    Yes, dogs can bruise just like we can and it's the 10th most common reason dogs are seen at the vet. It's no wonder since they're so energetic.

Photo credits: photostock 

Article Posted 3 years Ago

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