Friday 25 September 2020

Most common domestic cat diseases treated under pet insurance policies in America

The most common domestic cat diseases treated under pet insurance policies in America in 2018 were reported as: undiagnosed diarrhoea and vomiting, urinary tract diseases, kidney diseases, gastrointestinal conditions, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, periodontitis and general oral health problems. This information comes from five different pet insurance companies: Trupanion, ASPCA, Pets Best, Nationwide and Embrace. 

You can see a trend there or at least I can. Urinary tract problems including kidney disease are a major issue in domestic cats and also it seems are diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. These would appear to be related to diet because what goes in has to be digested and waste is expelled. Both ends of the food processing channel are affected.

Photo: Pixabay.

I have this feeling that there is something hidden is going on in homes in the West which is affecting the health of domestic cats. The high incidents of kidney disease is unacceptable. And I don't think anything is being done about it. I'm referring to food and the chemicals in the home such as fire retardants and carpet chemicals. These are volatile chemicals which give off fumes and these fumes linger in the atmosphere inside the home. I wonder whether the air quality inside homes is sufficiently good for domestic gas. If it isn't it can't be good for people either but cats are nearer the surfaces.

Cats lie on sofas. If that sofa has a fire retardant inside it then the cat is more likely to absorb these chemicals. The same goes for carpet chemicals. These are examples. And as for cat food, I think we know now that the cheap dry cat food is simply not good enough. A lot of people rely on it because it is cheap and convenient. They allow their cat to graze at any time day or night. Arguably this is overly convenient.

You add to poor quality dry cat food the extended daytime absence of solme human caregivers and you create a slightly toxic world for the domestic cat which can result in urinary tract health problems such as cystitis, a bacterial infection of the bladder, exacerbated by stress.

If there is a high predominance of gastrointestinal diseases causing vomiting and diarrhoea then surely this points to food. Doesn't it? Shouldn't veterinarians be looking at the quality of food provided to domestic cats? Perhaps they don't want to look at it because they want a huge number of cats coming through their doors vomiting and shitting diarrhoea. I am too cynical. One pet insurance company said that they paid out US$9,650 to treat a cat with a gastrointestinal condition.

They also said that they paid out US$40,000 to treat a cat with kidney disease. Do the insurance companies investigate the cause of these diseases? Do they dig around and try and prevent the diseases happening? Do they have a vested interest in doing nothing about these diseases? Do they work together with veterinarians and pet food manufacturers to try and eliminate them? I know there are lots of questions but can you find the answers? I don't think you can. I know that the pet food manufacturers work with veterinarians and this to my mind creates a conflict of interest.

Two pet insurance companies rated diabetes as their third most common cat illness claim. Arguably, feline diabetes, which I presume refers to type II diabetes or sugar diabetes, might be caused by the high carbohydrate content in dry cat food. Dry cat food has to have a high carbohydrate content in order to make it. It is there simply as a manufacturing necessity. Domestic cats don't need this sort of carbohydrate level in their food. It is unnatural to them and it is causing, it is argued, hypoglycaemic cats and overburdening the pancreas which produces insulin. This upsets the insulin/sugar balance in domestic cats which can lead to type II diabetes. This is the argument of a well-known veterinarian in America called Elizabeth M Hodgkins DVM.

I am harping on about cat food. And I do give my cat dry cat food although it is the highest quality I can find. And I also feed him lots of high quality wet cat food. But I am dissatisfied in general with the quality of cat food. It does not reflect accurately enough the perfect domestic cat diet which is the mouse which is 40% protein, 50% fat and only 3% carbohydrates. The average dry cat food for cats contains 35-50% carbohydrate calories according to the website. Do you see the massive difference and how that could impact a cat's metabolism and ability to cope with it?

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