WebMD Pet Health News
Louise Chang, MD
March 26, 2009 -- Tens of thousands of people trip over their dogs and cats every year, causing broken bones or other nonfatal fall injuries, the CDC says.
Fall injuries serious enough for treatment in emergency rooms averaged nearly 87,000 per year in the U.S. from 2001 to 2006, almost 88% of them caused by dogs, the CDC estimates in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The CDC says its estimates were extrapolated by using U.S. Census Bureau data on the total population and 7,456 actual pet incidents recorded by emergency departments from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance Systems All Injury Program.
It is likely that the estimated number of annual emergency room visits is vastly understated because many people don’t seek treatment after injuring themselves in accidents involving their pets, the CDC says.
The report also says that:
The CDC notes that cats and dogs were associated with about 1% of the estimated fall injuries treated in emergency departments. Most injuries involving dogs occurred while walking the dog. The top circumstances reported for dog-related injuries were "fell or tripped over the dog" (31.3%), and "pushed or pulled by the dog" (21.2%). For cats, the majority cause was "fell or tripped over the cat" (66.4%).
The CDC calls for increased awareness that pets and pet items can cause falls, that some pet activities can lead to injuries from falls, and that obedience training for dogs can help control behaviors that can lead to fall injuries.
SOURCE:Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, March 27, 2009; vol 58: pp 277-281.
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