Dog Ear Infections Top Cause of Vet Visits

Pet insurance company releases a list of the 10 most common causes of vet visits in 2009.

Posted: February 10, 2010, 2 a.m. EST

Dog with Elizabethan collarIf your dog visited the vet with an ear infection in 2009, he’s not alone. Veterinary Pet Insurance, a provider of pet health insurance based in Brea, Calif., recently revealed the top 10 most common causes of veterinary visits in 2009. Topping the list for dogs was ear infection, and topping the list for cats was lower urinary tract disease.

VPI said it receives more than a million claims annually for treatment of cats and dogs. Despite a pet owner’s best efforts to keep their animals healthy, data shows that pets are still at risk for ailments that may require repeated trips to a veterinarian’s office, according to Carol McConnell, D.V.M., vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI.

The company received nearly 68,000 canine claims for ear infections in 2009 – with an average claim fee of $100 per office visit. For cats, VPI said it received 3,700 medical claims for lower urinary tract disease. Lower urinary tract disease cost cat owners an average of $260 per office visit.

For dogs, the 10 most common conditions were:

  1. ear infection
  2. skin allergy
  3. skin infection/hot spots
  4. gastritis/vomiting
  5. enteritis/diarrhea
  6. bladder infection
  7. arthritis
  8. soft tissue trauma
  9. non-cancerous tumor
  10. eye infection

The most expensive canine condition on the list (non-cancerous tumor) cost an average of $335 per visit, while for cats, the most expensive condition (periodontitis/dental disease) cost an average of $360 per visit.

Regular physical exams can help prevent and identify certain conditions before they become serious or costly, VPI said.


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Evelyn   Houston, TX

2/14/2010 4:11:44 PM

I highly believe in client education & preventive care. Ear infections occur partly due to the anatomical structure of their ear canals/pinna (ear lobe) & humidity/weather, getting water in the canals (baths, swimming, rain). Ears should be routinely clean with ear cleaning solution containing a drying agent @ 2-3 times weekly, but specially if they get water in them. If you routinely clean ears & still have problems with the ears, then you need to consider a food allergy and follow a food trial for 8 to 12 weeks. Discuss these things with your veterinarian.

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S.M.   Mt. Vernon, NY

2/11/2010 6:54:00 PM

So Dr. Jordan, when a 12 week old puppy has no white bloods cells to fight it's own intestinal bacteria, that are now invading a ripped up bloody intestinal tract, while the dog is simultaneously seizing and having a horrific pneumonia devastate it's lungs, this moribund puppy, vomiting, pooping blood and dying, because it didn't get that distemper/parvo vaccine it should have 4 weeks ago; please let me know the web site (of your perhaps?) that I should order the secret snake oil that will save my puppy and cure the canine distemper and/or parvo virus that it is dying from. WHERE'S THE SNAKE OIL WEB SITE YOU LUNATIC?.

Wait I know, the bat juice you recommend is being surpressed by a conspiracy of the US government

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Dr. Jordan   Hot Springs, AR

2/11/2010 12:01:30 PM

I am a veterinarian, I agree that the top issues are as stated and I would note that EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE ISSUES is secondary to vaccinosis. The ears, only one portal that engages in the immune battle of trying to rid the body of antigenic invaders. Vaccines are the very reason that the immune system becomes reactive and has to react with immune response. The complexity of our immune systems were not understood, nor the fact that vaccines result in disease due to the genetic impact they have on the individuals whom receive the jab. Looks like the more veterinarians vaccinate, the more disease that will result and the more the client will have to present the animal for further "treatment", the larger the coffers grow and the more job security medicine ensures. The insurance companies should catch onto this.....vaccine induced disease is at the top of the list!

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Nick   Tipp City, OH

2/11/2010 8:11:22 AM

I can confirm this...some weeks during the summer 80% of the dogs I see have ear infections. A lost fewer now that it is freezing outside.

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