Commonly diagnosed disorders in domestic cats in the UK, and their associations with sex and age

Dan G O'Neill*, Danielle Gunn-Moore, Stephanie Sorrell, Harriet McAuslan, David B Church, Camilla Pegram, Dave C Brodbelt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this study were to generate a robust evidence base on the prevalence of common disorders in cats and develop a deeper understanding of disorder associations with sex and age that could offer important opportunities for targeted veterinary care to improve feline health and welfare. METHODS: A random sample of 18,249 cats was obtained from 1,255,130 cats under primary care during 2019 within VetCompass, an epidemiological research programme based on anonymised primary care veterinary clinical records. All disorders recorded during 2019 were extracted and reported, and associations with sex and age were examined. RESULTS: The most prevalent disorders were periodontal disease (n = 2780 [15.2%], 95% confidence interval [CI] 14.72-15.76), obesity (n = 2114 [11.6%], 95% CI 11.12-12.06) and dental disease (n = 1502 [8.2%], 95% CI 7.84-8.64). Compared with male cats, females had an increased prevalence of poor quality of life, postoperative complications and hyperthyroidism, among others. Male cats had a higher prevalence of periodontal disease, road traffic accident (RTA) and obesity. Younger cats (<8 years) had an increased prevalence of cat bite abscess, flea infestation and RTA, while older cats (⩾8 years) had increased prevalence of lameness, cystitis and dental disease, among others. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: These findings suggest that the veterinary profession needs to engage more effectively in informing owners on common preventable disorders (ie, obesity and dental disease). This new information can contribute to more targeted health surveillance and more effective veterinary interventions to promote improved health and welfare in pet cats. Large-scale collection and analysis of anonymised veterinary clinical records offer an important clinical resource for research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Feline Medicine and Surgery
Issue number2
Early online date28 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • breed
  • cat
  • electronic patient record
  • EPR
  • epidemiology
  • pedigree
  • purebred
  • primary-care
  • veterinary
  • VetCompass


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