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The Wall Street Journal Health Blog points out an interesting tidbit in this week's MMWR*: Nonfatal Fall-Related Injuries Associated with Dogs and Cats --- United States, 2001--2006. Apparently a lot of people show up in the ER after having fallen down, and some of those falls were related to pets. The CDC wanted to know how pervasive the pets-caused falls were, so they did a study.

The abstract (citations omitted):
Falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries in the United States. In 2006, nearly 8 million persons were treated in emergency departments (EDs) for fall injuries. Pets might present a fall hazard, but few data are available to support this supposition. To assess the incidence of fall-related injuries associated with cats and dogs, CDC analyzed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP) for the period 2001--2006. This report describes the results of that analysis, which showed that an estimated average of 86,629 fall injuries each year were associated with cats and dogs, for an average annual injury rate of 29.7 per 100,000 population. Nearly 88% of injuries were associated with dogs, and among persons injured, females were 2.1 times more likely to be injured than males. Prevention strategies should focus on 1) increasing public awareness of pets and pet items as fall hazards and of situations that can lead to fall injuries and 2) reinforcing American Veterinary Medical Association recommendations emphasizing obedience training for dogs.

The WSJ Health Blog points out these particular findings:
Twenty-six percent of falls involving dogs occurred while persons were walking them, and the most frequent circumstances were falling or tripping over a dog (31.3%) and being pushed or pulled by a dog (21.2%). Falling over a pet item (e.g., a toy or food bowl) accounted for 8.8% of fall injuries. Approximately 38.7% involved other or unknown circumstances.
I'm particularly aware of this issue, because Celosa has actively tried to kill me at least a dozen times in the last month by being exactly where my foot was going to be .2 seconds later. I've actually never gone down because of one of my current pets. I consider that more luck than anything else. I do explain to every dog I own that rule number one is "don't hurt your mama." Celosa has gotten that lecture several times (she's teething, it hurts), and I very rarely have to remind Crianza of that rule anymore. Except when I'm freshly tattooed, and she wants to jump on me to give me a hug. That rule is invoked a lot then.

I did go down once walking either Chispa or Relampago or both, a dozen or so years ago. I don't recall the circumstances, other than I was on a walk, something happened, I tripped over a leash and ended up palms and knees to sidewalk. I still have a scar from the scabbed knee. Could be a dog saw a squirrel. Could be a dog saw another dog. Could be that there was an interesting smell that the dog pulled me to investigate. Could be one dog went one way, the other went the other. At any rate, I went down. And I looked like a second-grader with a skinned knee for the next few weeks.

My mom was once taken down hard by Holden. He was leashed in the house for some reason or another. Probably a workman was in the house or something. My mom was loosely holding the leash, but not really paying attention. Holden heard something, got excited, and took off, dragging my mom behind him. She ended up slamming her face into a door jam, and ended up ass down in a water bowl. My dad got a lot of dirty looks for her black eye for a few days after that.

Claudia probably has several Holden stories, but my favorite was at the ranch. She and my dad and Holden were hunting, when Holden was about two or three years old. My dad advised that Holden be tied to a tree, but Claudia laughed, saying something silly about she could control her own dog. She sits in the duck blind holding Holden's leash. Duck flies by, my dad shoots, duck falls, Holden takes off. He shoots through the duck blind, across the bank of the lake and into the lake, dragging Claudia behind him. I think she was about six feet into the lake before she let go. Holden got the duck, Claudia got a face full of mud.

*The MMWR is the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, which tells us all about the trends in disease and injury that are ongoing. It's a pretty awesome report, and there's always something pretty cool to read about in it. It comes out weekly, and it's essential reading for anyone with any interest in epidemeology.


( 2 comments — Say something )
Mar. 27th, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC)
In 2004 I put Shadow (Siberian Husky) and Red Dog (Lab/pitt/pointer) on leashes to go for a walk. We got to the driveway and they each decided to lurch separate ways... I planted my foot and twisted...the leg broke up and down....So, I now have a 4 inch plate and screws in my leg. Only thing I have ever broken.
Apr. 13th, 2011 08:17 pm (UTC)
Looking forward to get involved
Hey - I am really delighted to discover this. cool job!
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