The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
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Proactive cat healthcare can prevent common conditions

Dental care, weight management and parasite prevention shown as priority conditions for cat owners to be aware of, to improve their pet's quality of life.

Danielle gun moore cats

Many common disorders affecting pet cats could be better prevented with care from informed owners, according to the outcomes of a study of almost 20,000 cats in the UK.

Gum disease, obesity, and fleas were the most common conditions diagnosed by vets, the research found.

Heart murmur, general dental disease, and overgrown nails were also regularly seen in cats, the study shows.

The research team suggests these findings can help cat owners take a more informed role in caring for their cats and help veterinary teams to focus more on targeted preventative healthcare.

Researchers from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies collaborated with scientists from the Royal Veterinary College’s VetCompass programme to investigate the health patterns of a sample of 18,249 cats, drawn randomly from records of more than 1 million cats.

Helping owners and vets

Male cats were diagnosed with more conditions than female cats, and older cats were diagnosed with more conditions than younger cats, the study found.

The findings also suggest male and female cats were at different levels of risk of suffering from certain conditions. For example, female cats were found to be at a higher risk for over-grooming, and overgrown nails, while males face a higher risk than females for heart murmur, lameness, obesity, and cat bite injuries.

Knowing what to look out for depending on their cat’s gender and age may enable owners to take a proactive role in the health of cats, which are known to hide signs of pain, throughout their lives.

The research, published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, was funded by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust and Agria Pet Insurance.

This study gives the evidence base for us to give our cats the best quality of life that we can. Showing cats our love by playing with them instead of giving treats, feeding them the right diets and seeking routine veterinary care can help prevent common illnesses, such as obesity and dental conditions.

Danièlle Gunn-MooreProfessor of Feline Medicine, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

This study allows owners to care for their cats in a new way that is based on good evidence on the most likely conditions to affect their cat. By knowing that dental, weight and parasite care are the key health issues of cats in general, owners can focus their care and finances on giving their cats a better life

Dr Dan O’NeillAssociate Professor in Companion Animal Epidemiology at the RVC

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About the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies 

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies is a one-of-a-kind centre of excellence in clinical activity, teaching and research. Our purpose-built campus, set against the backdrop of the beautiful Pentland Hills Regional Park, is home to more than 800 staff and almost 1400 students, all of whom contribute to our exceptional community ethos. 

The School comprises: 

The Roslin Institute 

The Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems 

The Roslin Innovation Centre 

The Hospital for Small Animals 

Equine Veterinary Services 

Farm Animal Services 

Easter Bush Pathology 

The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education 

We represent the largest concentration of animal science-related expertise in Europe, impacting local, regional, national and international communities in terms of economic growth, the provision of clinical services and the advancement of scientific knowledge.