VPI recently listed the top 10 causes of broken bones in pets based on the insurance claims they receive from pet owners whose pets are insured by VPI. As suspected, and as I alluded to in my last post, many of these causes are preventable.
One of VPI's veterinarians, Dr. Carol McConnell states, “Injury prevention includes careful management of a pet’s environment by removing possible threats and eliminating situations that might put a pet at risk. Broken bones are painful for pets and costly for pet owners."
One of the most common predisposing factors (40%) that led to broken bones was being hit by a car. Sometimes a pet owner will take every reasonable precaution to keep this from happening, but the pet accidently gets out and goes into the street. However, you'd be amazed at how many pet owners let their dog out the front door unattended and/or not on a leash. That's just asking for trouble. I hear all the time, "But Doc, he never goes into the street" or "I keep a close eye on him." I've seen those words come back to haunt many a pet owner. What's amazing is that not uncommonly those same pet owners have fenced back yards!
Other potential things that can happen to pets when they are allowed to run free are getting into a poison, being shot with a gun, getting into garbage, being attacked by other dogs, etc. It's not unusual for a veterinarian to be presented with a sick pet that is allowed to run free and the owner has no idea where the pet has been and/or what he may have gotten into (since our patients can't tell us). This makes it tougher for the veterinarian to diagnose the problem and may lead to more tests and more expense than would otherwise be necessary to try and narrow down the cause of the problem.
One of the lessons to be learned is to keep your pet in the house, in a fenced yard, or on a leash to prevent accidents from happening that can lead to pain and suffering for your pet and an unnecessary drain on your pocketbook.