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Your cat is fat
By Insure.com staff

People aren't the only ones putting on extra pounds -- their pets are getting chubby, too, and the extra weight is just as bad for them as it is for their human companions.

Obesity-related pet insurance claims have steadily risen in the last three years, according to Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI). Last year VPI policyholders filed more than $34 million in claims for conditions and diseases that can be caused or exacerbated by excess weight.

The pet insurance company received more than 34,000 canine claims for arthritis, the most common joint disease aggravated by obesity. The average claim cost was $300 per pet.

For cats, bladder or urinary tract disease was the most common obesity-related condition. VPI received more than 4,200 medical claims for the ailment, with an average claim amount of $415 per pet.

"Taking your pet to the veterinarian for regular wellness visits is the most effective way to monitor your pet's weight," Dr. Carol McConnell, VPI's vice president and chief veterinary medical officer, said in a press statement. "Routine exercise, a regulated diet and watching for signs of excessive weight gain are important steps in avoiding pet obesity and the additional health concerns that are associated with it."

A person should be able to feel a pet's ribs without pressing and should see a noticeable waist on a pet between the back of the ribs and the hips.

According to the company's database of 485,000 insured pets, the top 10 dog obesity-related conditions last year were:

  1. Arthritis
  2. Bladder/urinary tract disease
  3. Undiagnosed limp
  4. Low thyroid hormone
  5. Liver disease
  6. Torn knee ligaments
  7. Diseased disc in the spine
  8. Diabetes
  9. Heart failure
  10. Chronic kidney disease

The top 10 cat obesity-related conditions last year:

  1. Bladder/urinary tract disease
  2. Chronic kidney disease
  3. Diabetes
  4. Asthma
  5. Liver disease
  6. High blood pressure
  7. Arthritis
  8. Undiagnosed limp
  9. Heart failure
  10. Gall bladder disorder
VPI is part of the Nationwide Insurance family of companies.
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