(Wo)Man’s Best Friend???

The press recently reported how an accidental head butt from Martha Stewart’s French Bulldog Francesca resulted in an injury requiring nine stitches to repair the damage to the domestic diva’s lip.

I feel your pain, Ms. Stewart, I really do.

This post is brought to you as your Word on Health blogger recovers from knee surgery stemming from another pet-related injury. And while I wish the analgesia would take away not only the pain, but also the humiliating memory of being dragged face first along a muddy riverbank by my canine companions as they attempted to become better acquainted with a passing pooch, I take some comfort from the fact that Martha and I are not alone.

People, it seems are not only falling for their pets, apparently, large numbers of us are falling over them, too.

In fact, 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 translates to nearly 90,000 fall injuries associated with cats and dogs per year. Dogs are 7 times more likely to cause falls than cats and women are twice as likely as men to be injured as a result.

That’s the equivalent of 240 ER trips a day, and roughly 1% of the 8 million visits for falls of all sorts.

Exactly how many of the falls occurred isn’t known. Nevertheless, the study, gives a rough sketch of hazardous activities. Almost 35% of injuries are caused by tripping over the animal while about 25% occurred during walks. Surprisingly, less than 3% result from running away from a dog, and <0.5% percent while breaking up a dog-fight.  Being pulled by the animal caused a fifth of the falls.

While one-third of the falls broke bones, about one-quarter caused bruises, one-fifth caused sprains and a little more than one-tenth caused cuts.   Nothing on the list, I note, about tearing a cartilage – trust my dogs to  go one step better!

Been injured by Fido or Fluffy?  Share your stories with us.

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