27 March 2009

86,000 injuries per year caused by pets

In this week's MMWR, the CDC reports that there are approximately 86,000 fall-related injuries each year in which the fall was directly or indirectly caused by a cat or dog.
Nearly 7.5 times as many injuries involved dogs (76,223 [88.0%]) compared with cats (10,130 [11.7%]), and females were 2.1 times more likely to be injured than males. Injuries were most frequent among persons aged 0--14 years and 35--54 years. The most common injuries and the highest injury rates were for fractures and contusions/abrasions, and the highest fracture rates occurred among persons aged 75--84 years and >85 years...

Most falls involving cats occurred at home (85.7%). Approximately 11.7% of injuries occurred while persons were chasing cats. However, an activity was not specified in 62.1% of cases. The most frequent circumstances were falling or tripping over a cat (66.4%.); 29.2% involved other or unknown circumstances...
Note the numbers are considered to be underestimates because the data were derived from emergency room reports and don't include those treated by physicians in their offices or those that didn't receive medical attention.

And the data include only non-fatal injuries. One can only assume that the number of fatalities was so high that the CDC is suppressing the data to prevent public panic.

Image credit here, with other tips on how to recognize when your cat is planning to kill you.

Addendum: More on this story at CNN.

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