Data Mining Strikes Pay Dirt on Causes of Pet Illness

By Susan Aiello • Published: November 1st, 2011
Category: Animal Airwaves

Big research studies in human medicine have linked human illness to many preventable risks, from cancer and smoking, to diabetes and obesity. Similar studies in veterinary medicine are now doing the same for pets.

By mining statistics from two large data banks that covered more than 2 million pets and 70,000 causes of death, researchers were able to identify previously unknown risks. In addition, they found some close parallels to human illness.

For example, the risk of heart disease was increased among fox terriers, and the risk of cancer higher among Bouviers (pronounce BOO-V-AYS). Results also showed that three-quarters of pet dogs and cats have dental disease.

This kind of large-scale research can pinpoint genetic links to pet illness, and help veterinarians tailor care to individual breeds. And it may just help prevent a health problem in your pooch.