The popular press reported last week how an accidental head butt from Martha Stewart’s French Bulldog Francesca resulted in an injury requiring nine stitches to repair the damage to Ms. Stewart’s lip. The accident occurred when the sleeping Francesca was startled by Ms. Stewart saying goodbye. Francesca jumped up — crashed into Ms. Stewart and illustrated the consequences of not letting sleeping dogs lie.
Ms. Stewart was not likely the only one seen in the ER last week with a pet related injury. A national sample of ER visits from 60 hospitals over a six year period reported 7,456 visits were related to falls caused by pets. On a national level, this would translate to nearly 90,000 fall injuries associated with cats and dogs per year. Researchers also found dogs were over seven times more likely to cause falls than cats were.
Women were twice as likely as men to be injured by pet related falls. The elderly had a highest rate of fractured bones, but children 0-14 years of age were frequently injured as well.
In addition to being injured in animal related falls, children are also the most frequent victims of dog bite injuries. A boy, aged 5-9 years is the typical dog bite victim and children are commonly bitten in the face and neck. Bites often occur when children try to take food away from the family dog or unknowingly approach an unfriendly dog.
Awareness of these types of injuries is just the first step in prevention. The Animal Medical Center’s veterinarians recommend teaching your pet manners through obedience training — one method of minimizing behaviors which might precipitate a fall, such as pulling on a leash or jumping up on people. Unneutered male dogs are more commonly involved in bite injuries than female dogs. Preventing bite injuries is just one reason The AMC’s veterinarians recommend neutering male dogs at 6 months of age. Children should be educated regarding appropriate behavior around dogs and should always ask permission of the dog owner if they want to pet a dog they meet on the street.
This blog may also be found in the “Tales from the Pet Clinic” blog from WebMD.
For over a century, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit www.amcny.org. To make an appointment, please call 212.838.7053.