Pet insurer releases list of top pet accidents in 2012

Last year,Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI) policyholders spent more than $37 million treating medical conditions related to pet accidents. In addition, medical conditions associated with an accidental injury contributed to approximately 10 percent of the more than 1.1 million claims processed byVPI last year.

VPI recently sorted its database of more than 500,000 insured pets to determine the top 10 medical conditions associated with pet accidents. Below are the results:

Most Common Conditions Associated with Pet Accidents

    1. Soft Tissue Trauma (bruise or contusion)

    2. Cruciate Ligament Injury (without surgery)

    3. Lacerations or Bite Wounds

    4. Scratch or Wound on Eye

    5. Cruciate Ligament Injury - Surgical Repair

    6. Mouth Trauma or Fractured Tooth

    7. Sprain or Joint Injury

    8. Abrasion(s) or Superficial Wounds

    9. Gastric Foreign Object(s) Ingestion

    10. Torn or Injured Nail

In 2012, VPI received more than 22,000 claims for soft tissue trauma, the most common condition associated with pet accidents. The average claim fee was $169 per office visit. Causes of soft tissue trauma included injuries resulting from falling, running and jumping and are more commonly seen in large breeds or overweight pets.

The most expensive condition on the list (cruciate ligament injury) cost an average of $1,981 per leg to surgically repair. Some effective ways to minimize the risk of cruciate ligament injuries in dogs is to keep pets at a healthy weight, get plenty of regular exercise (ideally long leash walks), and take pets to the veterinarian after the first signs of lameness.

"While skin allergies, ear infections, vomiting and bladder infections are among the most common claims processed by VPI each year, conditions caused by pet accidents also contribute to a sizeable percentage of the claims we receive," said Dr. Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. "Although many pet accidents cannot be prevented, there are some steps that pet owners can take to decrease the risk of exposure or lessen the impact that their pet will have a serious medical condition as a result of an accidental injury.  Some conditions we receive can be avoided altogether by taking precaution to remove a pet's exposure to potential health hazards."

Below are simple tips for preventing pet accidents inside and outside the home:

  • Being aware of your pet's surroundings will help them avoid environmental dangers, such as poisonous plants, pesticides, ingestion of garbage and/or "people food," etc.
  • Supervise your pet's physical activity and interaction with other animals.
  • Store household and personal items out of sight and/or put them out of reach from your pet. Ingestion or other physical contact of inappropriate foods, plants, human medications, clothing, gardening or household items can result in intestinal blockage or severe toxicity.

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