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PETS: Top 10 wild animals that attack our pets

By Gary Bogue
Tuesday, July 21st, 2009 at 7:35 am in Wildlife.

Western rattlesnake (Brian Murphy/Walnut Creek, CA)

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.

Coyote (Brian Murphy/Walnut Creek, CA)
coy howl2

Following are the 10 animals aside from dogs and cats that were most responsible for pet injury claims in 2008:

1. Snake
2. Coyote
3. Raccoon
4. Squirrel
5. Scorpion
6. Javelina
7. Porcupine
8. Ground Hog
9. Skunk
10. Rat

Raccoon (Brian Murphy/Walnut Creek, CA)

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.

Eastern fox squirrel (Brian Murphy/Walnut Creek, CA)
fox sq1

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.

Scorpion (Brian Murphy/Walnut Creek, CA)
mtdiablo scorpion

“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.

Skunk (Lois Bogue/Benicia, CA)

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

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3 Responses to “PETS: Top 10 wild animals that attack our pets”

  1. Malia Calvino Says:

    Could a california Barn Owl attack my two pound dog?

    Every night when I let my dog out to relief herself, a barn owl watches every move she makes. Should I be concerned?

  2. Gary Bogue Says:

    Malia: I don’t think a barn owl would do that … but it is possible. I’d be more concerned about a great horned owl doing something like that. A 2-pound dog would also be vulnerable to attach from raccoons, foxes and even large neighborhood cats. I would definitely not let a dog that small go outside unescorted … at all times.

  3. Halley Haugen Says:

    You are not correct since you don’t know who THE IGOR is.

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