Accidents and dietary indiscretion are among the top reasons why pet owners spend Christmas Day at the veterinarian’s office, according to Veterinary Pet Insurance, which analyzed claims submitted in 2008 for pets treated on Dec. 25.
More than 200 of VPI’s policyholders spent the holiday at the clinic. The top five reasons: gastritis or enteritis, lacerations or bite wounds, soft tissue trauma, foreign body ingestion and chocolate poisoning. Other claims submitted with a Dec. 25 treatment date included broken bones, gastric torsion, gastric ulcers, torn nails, allergic reactions and cruciate ruptures.
“Christmas Day is the last day most pet owners want to spend at an emergency clinic with a sick or injured pet,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “Fortunately, many of the claims we receive for conditions treated on Christmas Day can be prevented.
“Pet owners can enjoy a safe holiday by keeping pets away from treats intended for humans, refraining from introducing their pets to new or unfamiliar foods and making sure foreign objects such as ornaments and decorations are kept out of pets’ reach.”
VPI noted that the data, mined from more than 475,000 of its insured pets, reveals that that claims treated on Christmas Day skew towards accidents requiring emergency treatment, perhaps because most regular veterinary clinics are closed on Dec. 25.
The other days of the year, claims for medical conditions such as skin allergies, ear infections and urinary tract infections prove far more common than claims for the majority of conditions treated on Christmas Day, according to the Brea, Calif.-based company.