A new report by Banfield Pet Hospital shows that our pets are living longer, and there may be a connection between increased longevity and spaying and neutering.
The third annual “State of Pet Health Report,” compiled by Banfield’s internal research team, analyzed data from 2.2 million dogs and 460,000 cats treated at Banfield hospitals last year.
The survey found some encouraging news: The average lifespan for cats increased to 12 years, up a full year since 2002. Dogs are also living longer; the average canine lifespan was 11 years, up by half a year since 2002.
“We’re really making great strides in helping pets live longer and more comfortably,” says Dr. Sandi Lefebvre, a veterinary research associate for Banfield who led the study, interpreted the data and determined the areas of focus.
In addition to improved veterinary care, pets might be living longer because pet owners are more informed and have stronger bonds with their pets.
Pets in Oregon faring well
The report found that Oregon had the highest number of geriatric dogs at 13 percent and tied with Montana for the highest percentage of geriatric cats (24 percent).
Our state also boasts the third-longest lifespan for dogs.
The prevailing attitude toward pet ownership here is very warm,” Lefebvre says. “In Portland, a lot of businesses are pet-friendly, and we have a lot of off-leash parks, so I think compared with other states, we might be a little more advanced.
Another factor for pet longevity could be our relatively low prevalence of heartworm infection, compared to warmer states such as Mississippi and Louisiana, which had among the shortest lifespans for dogs.
The report also suggests there may be a link to spaying and neutering and increased longevity.
According to the report findings, neutered male cats live an average of 62 percent longer than unneutered cats, and fixed females live an average of 39 percent longer. There was a similarly high correlation among spayed and neutered dogs.