From 1995 to the present Agria Animal Insurance, Sweden (Agria Djurförsäkring, Stockholm, Sweden) has provided data on both health care and life insurance claims for descriptive and analytical research. From these data we have published extensively on insured dogs and horses and have recently submitted a study on cat mortality. Over the periods studied most extensively (1995-2002 for dogs, 1997-2004 for horses and 1999-2006 for cats), Agria has insured approximately 200,000 dogs, 100,000 horses and up to 200,000 cats per year. Estimates based on formal research or market surveys suggest that Agria insures approximately 40% of both the Swedish dog and horse populations and 50% of the purebred cat population. Where animal insurance is so widely embraced, the Agria-insured populations are likely to be representative of the national population. This paper focuses on age patterns of disease, differences between breeds and genders, body system and disease process and changes over time. An increase in survival over the years for dogs and cats is undoubtedly affected by owner, societal and veterinary factors relative to the availability of, and willingness and ability to access, and continue, veterinary care. In addition, marked differences in survival across breeds suggest that comparisons between people and companion animals in terms of health, disease and longevity must consider these complexities.
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