Cats and Dogs Send Thousands to the Hospital Annually

March 29, 2009 10:00 AM
by Lindsey Chapman
The CDC released a report indicating that thousands of people go to the emergency room each year because of falls caused by their pets.

Falling Over Fido

If your cat or dog is the type to get underfoot, that’s extra motivation to be careful around them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more than 86,000 fall injuries every year are “associated with cats and dogs.”

Most pet-related fall injuries are minor, according to The Associated Press, and such incidents represent “just about 1% of injuries from falls.” However, for senior citizens, “they are a disproportionate hazard.”

Many people are hurt while walking their dogs, while others simply trip over them or their toys, or are pushed, according to U.S. News and World Report. People have also been injured while chasing after a pet.

According to the Scientific American, Judy Stevens, an epidemiologist at the CDC, said dogs are generally more dangerous than cats because they are usually stronger and larger.

She and her colleagues based their estimates of fall injuries on 7,456 falls treated in emergency rooms between 2001 and 2006 by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System All Injury Program.
Despite some risks, the benefits of pets can’t be discounted either, U.S. News and World Report writes.

Several studies have indicated that pets can help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, help people with feelings of anxiety, loneliness or depression, and provide a chance to socialize.

A few ways to eliminate pet-related risks are to stay as physically fit as possible, enroll dogs in obedience training, keep homes clean and organized and choose a pet that matches your personality—or is more mild-mannered.

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Related Topic: Assessing pet dangers

Ecuador recently decided to ban Rottweilers and pit bull terriers as pets in the country. The rule will also include Rottweiler-pit bull mixes, and apply to dogs in the police force and private security companies as well. Officials made the decision after two pit bulls killed a child in Quito. The dogs are generally considered two of the more aggressive breeds.

Reference: Pet care; treating injuries


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