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Pets can get themselves into all manner of uncomfortable situations. From dodging moving vehicles to dodging other animals; from miscalculating a jump from on high to getting stuck in a tight spot. Our pets are curious, often fearless, and when they return from an adventure whimpering and limping, they become expensive as well.

Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), America's largest provider of pet health insurance, this month released its 2008 figures on the top causes of broken bones in dogs and cats. Topping the list is the expected injury due to being in the path of a moving vehicle, with 40 percent of bone injuries resulting from these accidents. Following mishaps with cars, at numbers two and three, are accidents in the home due to jumping or falling from pieces of furniture or from the laps of their owners; 40 percent of fractures and breaks can be traced to this type of accident. The remaining 20 percent of bone injuries are the consequence of fighting with other animals (4), slipping while running (5), being struck by an object (6), getting caught in tight spaces (7), running into an unmoving object (8), being stepped on (9), and being injured in a car accident (10). The analysis was taken from more than 5000 claims.

The most common bones that were broken were the upper arm or leg, the lower leg, the bones of the lower forelimb (radius and ulna), and the shinbone, costing an average of $1,500 for treatment. Broken bones of the pelvis and vertebrae were the most expensive to treat, costing an average of $2,400 to $2,600.

Dr. Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI, had some words of advice for pet owners. "If a pet has a tendency to bolt out the door and into the street, the pet should be desensitized to open doors or restricted to a safe area by a fence or baby gate," she said.

"Injury prevention includes careful management of a pet's environment, by removing possible threats and eliminating situations that might put a pet at risk."

For more information on assisting your pet with a broken bone, please see:

First Aid for Dogs with Broken Bones
First Aid for Cats with Broken Bones

Image: Jennifer Murawski / via Flickr

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