Disease Burden of Dalmatians Compared to Crossbreds and Dogs of Unknown Breeds
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OBJECTIVES: Disease burden of purebred dogs is an increasingly hot topic in veterinary medicine. Many breeds have been studied on this subject, however to this day little is known about the disease burden in Dalmatians. The aim of this study was to compare Dalmatians with a control group of mixed-breed dogs. All data was derived from three datasets: a veterinary practice software system and two different pet insurance companies. METHODS: Breed health and disease burden were determined by comparing the frequency of visits to the veterinarian, frequency of expense claims to the insurance companies, determining which organ systems said claims were mostly attributed to by means of an organ code and the survival time respectively. A Quasi-Poisson regression model was used to compare the frequency of visits and claims per breed group, a Logistic regression model was used to compare the most commonly claimed for organ systems and a Kaplan-Meier graph and a multivariable Cox proportional hazard model was used to compare the survival time between the breed groups. RESULTS: Compared to dogs of an unknown breed or mixed-breed, Dalmatians were found to have more visits (RR 1.4, 95% confidence interval: 1.1-1.8, p-value = 0.01) and claims (RR 1.2 (0.8-1.8, p-value = 0.3) and RR 9.4 (8.0-11.1, p-value <0.001) respectively for both insurance companies). All organ systems for which a significant association with breed was found, were in favour of mixed-breed dogs. Dalmatians had expense claims for all of these organ systems more often than mixed-breed dogs, with the lowest odds ratio (OR) for neurological conditions (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.0-5.6) and the highest OR for pancreas (OR 11.6, (5.6-24)). CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: The disease burden appears to be significantly higher for Dalmatians based on the frequency of visits or claims and the organ systems that were claimed for. However, the outcomes might be subjected to selection bias. It is therefore important to perform further research with more carefully selected and complete data.