Accidental Ailments Fuel Veterinary Visits

Nation’s Largest Pet Insurer Reveals Top 10 Dog and Cat Medical Conditions Associated with Accidents and Injuries

Brea, Calif. (August 21, 2013) – Last year, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI) policyholders spent more than $37 million treating medical conditions related to pet accidents. In addition, medical conditions associated with an accidental injury contributed to approximately 10 percent of the more than 1.1 million claims processed by VPI last year.

VPI, the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, recently sorted its database of more than 500,000 insured pets to determine the top 10 medical conditions associated with pet accidents. Below are the results:

Most Common Conditions Associated with Pet Accidents 
1. Soft Tissue Trauma (bruise or contusion)
2. Cruciate Ligament Injury (without surgery)
3. Lacerations or Bite Wounds
4. Scratch or Wound on Eye
5. Cruciate Ligament Injury – Surgical Repair
6. Mouth Trauma or Fractured Tooth
7. Sprain or Joint Injury
8. Abrasion(s) or Superficial Wounds
9. Gastric Foreign Object(s) Ingestion
10. Torn or Injured Nail

In 2012, VPI received more than 22,000 claims for soft tissue trauma, the most common condition associated with pet accidents. The average claim fee was $169 per office visit. Causes of soft tissue trauma included injuries resulting from falling, running and jumping and are more commonly seen in large breeds or overweight pets.

The most expensive condition on the list (cruciate ligament injury) cost an average of $1,981 per leg to surgically repair. Some effective ways to minimize the risk of cruciate ligament injuries in dogs is to keep pets at a healthy weight, get plenty of regular exercise (ideally long leash walks), and take pets to the veterinarian after the first signs of lameness.

"While skin allergies, ear infections, vomiting and bladder infections are among the most common claims processed by VPI each year, conditions caused by pet accidents also contribute to a sizable percentage of the claims we receive,” said Dr. Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “Although many pet accidents cannot be prevented, there are some steps that pet owners can take to decrease the risk of exposure or lessen the impact that their pet will have a serious medical condition as a result of an accidental injury. Some conditions we receive can be avoided altogether by taking precaution to remove a pet’s exposure to potential health hazards.”

Below are simple tips for preventing pet accidents inside and outside the home:

  • Being aware of your pet’s surroundings will help them avoid environmental dangers, such as poisonous plants, pesticides, ingestion of garbage and/or “people food,” etc.
  • Supervise your pet’s physical activity and interaction with other animals.
  • Store household and personal items out of sight and/or put them out of reach from your pet. Ingestion or other physical contact of inappropriate foods, plants, human medications, clothing, gardening or household items can result in intestinal blockage or severe toxicity.

Note to editors: Email Dennis Olson at for a monthly breakdown of VPI’s pet accident data.

About Veterinary Pet Insurance

With more than 485,000 pets insured nationwide, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co./DVM Insurance Agency (VPI) is a member of the Nationwide Insurance family of companies and is the oldest and largest pet health insurance company in the United States. Since 1982, VPI has helped provide pet owners with peace of mind and is committed to being the trusted choice of America’s pet lovers.

VPI Pet Insurance plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. CareGuard® coverage for routine care is available for an additional premium. Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, one in three Fortune 500 companies offers VPI Pet Insurance as an employee benefit. Policies are offered and administered by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and DVM Insurance Agency in all other states. Underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (CA), Brea, CA, an A.M. Best A rated company (2012); National Casualty Company (all other states), Madison, WI, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2012). Pet owners can find VPI Pet Insurance on Facebook or follow @VPI on Twitter. For more information about VPI Pet Insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit

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