Groundbreaking study from Nationwide offers guidance for care of senior pets


Columbus, OH – Growing old is unavoidable for our pets, but the newest study from the Nationwide® Pet Health Analytics and Insights Team gives a transparent roadmap to what pet families can expect with senior diseases – and a few clear guidelines around prevention, intervention, and veterinary care.

With the discharge of “Aging Well: Old Dogs, Recent Data (Part 1)” on the American Veterinary Medical Association’s annual convention, Nationwide’s latest evaluation draws on data from greater than 4 million years’ value of recent policy and claims data to offer insights on which breeds are most in danger for various diseases affecting senior dogs.

As the biggest U.S. pet health insurer, Nationwide is in a position to access hundreds of thousands of health records for tons of of breeds which provide unmatched depth of risk evaluation and statistical credibility. These analyses also incorporate American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Life Stage Guidelines to permit for the creation of more dynamic studies and actionable insights that may drive key health interventions.

“Having a greater understanding of senior pet risks by breed and dog type can assist pet families and veterinary healthcare teams partner together for informed prevention, early diagnosis, and optimal disease management along a spectrum of care with targeted, personalized education throughout the lifetime of companion animals,” said Dr. Jules Benson, Nationwide’s Chief Veterinary Officer and lead creator on the study.

The study focused on the next diseases mostly present in aging pets. Below are just a few highlights from the white paper.   

  • Miniature Schnauzers and Miniature Pinschers were the highest breeds for diabetes and pancreatitis – The evaluation shows a transparent overlap between the 2 diseases, and which disease is more likely to be diagnosed first. This information can assist veterinary teams educate owners of those breeds on what symptoms to look out for, and to pay attention to the high likelihood for the opposite disease to develop into a problem.
  • Arthritis is essentially the most common condition of aging pets – A rating of breeds probably to be affected can assist minimize the consequences of the disease, and guide treatment options. Particularly, owners of Rough Collies (4 times the relative risk), Samoyeds, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Old English Sheepdogs and other high-risk breeds must be on the lookout for the early onset of arthritis as their dogs age.
  • Relative risk for cardiac disease increases greater than 10-fold once dogs enter senior life stage – Toy and small dogs equivalent to Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Cavachons, Japanese Chins, and Whippets are probably to be affected. While cardiac disease could also be an inevitability for some dogs, long-term outcomes for at-risk dogs might be vastly improved through good lifelong habits, early detection, and optimal disease management.
  • Relative risk for kidney disease increases greater than 15-fold as dogs reach the senior life stage – Toy and small breed dogs, especially purebreds, are at increased risk with Shetland Sheepdogs, Yorkshire Terriers and Silky Terriers essentially the most affected.

“That is the fourth study since we launched our concerted effort to make use of Nationwide data to offer information and assistance to pet families and veterinary healthcare teams,” said Dr. Benson. “It’s also the primary time this recent team of veterinarians, biostatisticians, and breed experts worked with outside organizations. Using the AAHA Lifestyle Guidelines for this study shows the worth to all after we work together for higher pet health.”

AAHA Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jessica Vogelsang agreed, “AAHA puts an incredible period of time and thought into our Life Stages Guidelines to assist the occupation higher understand the unique needs of our patients,” she said. “We’re so pleased that the talented team at Nationwide has been in a position to construct on this framework.  The more we all know, the higher we do.”

“Aging Well: Old Dogs, Recent Data (Part 1)” is the primary of two studies of a few of the commonest diseases in aging pets. The second a part of the study, with more canine diseases and an evaluation of the diseases of senior cats, will probably be released in the autumn.

To read more about Nationwide’s findings on senior pets, previous studies of canine cancer, or to review methodology, visit

About Nationwide pet insurance
With greater than 1.1 million insured pets, Nationwide is the primary and largest provider of pet medical insurance in america. Nationwide pet medical insurance plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions referring to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Medical plans can be found in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Products underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (CA), Columbus, OH; National Casualty Company (all other states), Columbus, OH. Agency of Record: DVM Insurance Agency. All are subsidiaries of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. Pet owners can find Nationwide pet insurance on Facebook or follow on Twitter. For more details about Nationwide pet insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit

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