By Gary Bogue
Tuesday, July 21st, 2009 at 7:35 am in Wildlife.
Pet insurer reveals claims data on animal attacks
Sometimes our pets go looking for a fight, but other times the fight comes to them — from land, sea, and even air.
Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. recently reviewed more than 500 laceration/bite wound claims in search of animal-inspired incidents to determine which wild animals most frequently attacked and injured companion pets in 2008.
In addition to the usual suspects —snakes, coyotes and raccoons — they also received claims for pet injuries caused by a squirrel, scorpion, javelina, porcupine, ground hog, skunk, rat, goat, beaver, woodchuck, black bear, mountain lion, hawk, rabbit, sea urchin, and jellyfish.
Following are the 10 animals aside from dogs and cats that were most responsible for pet injury claims in 2008:
TOP 10 ANIMALS TO ATTACK PETS
8. Ground Hog
Wild animal attacks typically result in pet insurance claims for treatment of lacerations, bite wounds, puncture, and soft tissue trauma. Snakebites may require antivenin and scorpion stings may cause allergic reactions requiring antihistamines.
Treatment protocols vary depending on the severity of the attack and costs can range from hundreds of dollars for bandages or stitches to thousands of dollars for surgery for damaged organs or broken limbs.
Though animal attack claims came from all areas of the country, javelina and scorpion claims were exclusive to the state of Arizona. Javelinas, or peccaries, are feral pig-like omnivores native to the southwestern United States. They have been known to attack both pets and people.
“Whether in urban or rural areas, pet owners should be aware of the danger posed by wild animals,” said Dr. Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “VPI’s data reveals that not all members of the animal kingdom observe backyard fences, or appreciate the curiosity of a pet that may enter their territory.
Always make sure that a pet’s rabies vaccine is up to date and if you know that potentially dangerous wild animals are present, or you’re in an unfamiliar area, take extra care to keep your pet close and secure.
That means when you’re out walking your dog in local open spaces, if you see a nearby coyote, be sure and keep your dog on its leash. /Gary