Prevalence of disorders recorded in dogs attending primary-care veterinary practices in England

PLoS One. 2014 Mar 4;9(3):e90501. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0090501. eCollection 2014.

Abstract

Purebred dog health is thought to be compromised by an increasing occurence of inherited diseases but inadequate prevalence data on common disorders have hampered efforts to prioritise health reforms. Analysis of primary veterinary practice clinical data has been proposed for reliable estimation of disorder prevalence in dogs. Electronic patient record (EPR) data were collected on 148,741 dogs attending 93 clinics across central and south-eastern England. Analysis in detail of a random sample of EPRs relating to 3,884 dogs from 89 clinics identified the most frequently recorded disorders as otitis externa (prevalence 10.2%, 95% CI: 9.1-11.3), periodontal disease (9.3%, 95% CI: 8.3-10.3) and anal sac impaction (7.1%, 95% CI: 6.1-8.1). Using syndromic classification, the most prevalent body location affected was the head-and-neck (32.8%, 95% CI: 30.7-34.9), the most prevalent organ system affected was the integument (36.3%, 95% CI: 33.9-38.6) and the most prevalent pathophysiologic process diagnosed was inflammation (32.1%, 95% CI: 29.8-34.3). Among the twenty most-frequently recorded disorders, purebred dogs had a significantly higher prevalence compared with crossbreds for three: otitis externa (P = 0.001), obesity (P = 0.006) and skin mass lesion (P = 0.033), and popular breeds differed significantly from each other in their prevalence for five: periodontal disease (P = 0.002), overgrown nails (P = 0.004), degenerative joint disease (P = 0.005), obesity (P = 0.001) and lipoma (P = 0.003). These results fill a crucial data gap in disorder prevalence information and assist with disorder prioritisation. The results suggest that, for maximal impact, breeding reforms should target commonly-diagnosed complex disorders that are amenable to genetic improvement and should place special focus on at-risk breeds. Future studies evaluating disorder severity and duration will augment the usefulness of the disorder prevalence information reported herein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dog Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Dogs* / physiology
  • Electronic Health Records
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Animal
  • Male
  • Prevalence

Grant support

This study was part of a Ph.D. study that was financially supported by the RSPCA (http://www.rspca.org.uk/sciencegroup/companionanimals). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.