Cancer top killer for dogs, renal failure for cats: survey

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Cancer was the top cause of death for domestic dogs in 2012, while renal failure remained the number one killer of cats, according to findings of a survey released yesterday.

The survey was jointly carried out by the Animal Protection Office under the Taipei City Government and the School of Veterinary Medicine of the National Taiwan University (NTU), aiming to finding out the top 10 causes of death for local dogs and cats.

Statistics compiled by the Veterinary Hospital under NTU showed that there are around 120,000 domesticated dogs and 80,000 house cats in Taipei. Backed by the School of Veterinary Medicine of NTU, the hospital cooperated with 108 private veterinary hospitals under the jurisdiction of the Animal Protection Office to check the causes of registered deaths of domestic dogs and cats in Taipei last year. The survey showed that the top three causes of death for domestic cats in 2012 were, in declining order, renal failure, contagious diseases and multiple organ failure; and those for house dogs were cancer, cardiovascular diseases and multiple organ failure.

Yang Ching-yu, chairman of the Taipei Veterinary Medical Association, said that since cats eat meat as their main staple and seldom drink water, they are more susceptible to renal failure.

Yang advised owners to install facilities that can stimulate cats to drink water while playing games with the facilities, so that their cats can stay hydrated.

Meanwhile, Lee Chi-chung, a doctor at NTU Veterinary Hospital, said owners of house cats should provide their cats with diverse food items to ease the burdens on cats’ kidneys.

As for domestic dogs, cancers, mainly of the skin and breast, leapt to the number one cause of death in 2012 from third place in 2011, according to the survey.

Liu Chen-hsuan, president of NTU Veterinary Hospital, advised owners to sterilize their dogs as early as possible to effectively reduce the possibility of acquiring breast cancer.

He also suggested that owners have their dogs undergo regular physical examinations, so that they can receive necessary medical treatment as soon as possible.