The health status of canine populations within developed and those within developing communities was studied in a retrospective survey and compared. There were significant differences in the prevalence of disease amongst the hospitalised dogs from the 2 communities. Dogs from developing communities were mainly young cross-bred dogs which suffered from infectious diseases (44), trauma (22) and parasitic diseases (11). There was a high mortality rate (30) and 82 of these patients suffered from diseases that could have been prevented. The dogs from developed communities were mainly adult or old pure-bred dogs that suffered mainly from organ diseases (57). There was a low mortality rate (10) while only 31 suffered from diseases that could have been prevented. Based on the epidemiological findings, it was evident that owners of dogs in the developing communities required education in primary and secondary prevention of disease.