Cancer tops list of causes of death for Taiwan dogs: study

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Cancer topped the 10 most common causes of death for dogs in Taiwan, according to a study released by a senior veterinarian yesterday.

Among cancers, skin and soft-tissue cancer are at the top of the list, followed by breast, reproductive system and digestive system cancers, according to the study released by National Taiwan University (NTU) Veterinary Hospital head Liu Chen-hsuan (劉振軒).

The top causes of death after cancer are heart disease, kidney failure, neurological disease, trauma, digestive system disease, multiple organ failure, natural causes, respiratory diseases and liver-related diseases, the study determined.

Liu said the study shows that the top 10 causes of death for canines are very similar to the same list for humans in Taiwan, where cancer has been the number one cause of death for more than 30 years straight.

He noted that the life span for dogs has lengthened in the last few decades. Before, the average life expectancy for dogs stood around eight to nine years, but now more and more dogs are getting older than 15 or 16.

A longer life span for dogs means they are more inclined to develop chronic illnesses such as cancer, Liu said.

For the health of their dogs, veterinarians suggest that pet owners should have their dogs exercise at least 30 minutes a day, drink more water, eat less salty food and undergo a health check every year.

The study tracks the cause of death of 1,362 dogs in Taipei, New Taipei, Hsinchu, Keelung, Yilan and Taoyuan.