Age and breed are considered the greatest risk factors for disease prevalence and mortality in companion dogs. Understanding the prevalence of diseases, in relation to age and breed, would support appropriate guidance for future health care strategies and provide useful information for the early diagnosis of diseases. The purpose of this study was to investigate the major medical causes for dogs visiting primary-care veterinary clinics in the Republic of Korea, stratified by age and breed.
A total of 15,531 medical records of canine patients were analyzed from 11 veterinary clinics who shared data from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016. An electronic medical record (EMR) system was used for data collection, which included the animal identification number, age, breed, gender, neuter status, clinical information, and diagnosis. EMR data were classified using the International Classification of Disease system from the World Health Organization; presenting signs or diagnoses were identified according to breed and life stage.
Within the age groups, preventive medicine (16.7% confidence intervals (CI) [15.9–17.5]) was the most common cause for clinic visits for the <1 year and 1–3 year groups. Additionally, neutering surgery (6.6% CI [6.0–7.1]) and patella luxation (1.4% CI [1.8–2.7]) were frequently performed in these age groups. In the 4–6 year group, otitis externa (8.8% CI [7.8–10.0]) and dermatitis or eczema (8.5% CI [7.5–9.6]) were common medical problems. In older dogs (>10 year), the prevalences of heart disease, kidney disease, Cushing’s disease, and mammary tumors were higher than in the other age groups. Small and toy breed dogs comprised 67.7% of all dogs in this analysis. For all breeds, otitis externa, dermatitis or eczema, vomiting, and diarrhea were common medical problems.
This study identified the most common medical disorders and differences in prevalences of diseases, according to age and breeds. The information from EMRs for dogs visiting primary-care veterinary clinics can provide background knowledge that is required to enable a better understanding of disease patterns and occurrence by age and breeds. The information from this study could enable the creation of strategies for preventing diseases and enable the identification of health problems for more effective disease management in companion dogs.