Data on over 222,000 Swedish dogs enrolled in life insurance in 1992 and 1993 were analysed. There were approximately 260 deaths per 10,000 dog-years at risk. Breed-specific mortality rates and causes of death are presented for breeds with more than 500 dogs at risk that had consistently high or low rates. Breed-specific mortality ranged from less than 1 per cent to more than 11 per cent. True rates and proportional statistics for the cause of death were calculated for the entire insured population (250 breeds) and cause-specific mortality rates were calculated for the breeds with the highest risk of dying of the most common causes. Trauma, tumours and problems related to the locomotor system together accounted for more than 40 per cent of all deaths or euthanasias. Although limited to insured dogs, these data cover approximately one-third of all Swedish dogs and provide baseline mortality data for further population-based studies on health and disease.
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