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COVID – Traumatic Ligament/Tendon Damage Increase
Pet Insurance Australia has noticed an interesting increase in traumatic ligament/tendon damage and fractures over the COVID-19 lockdown period.
“We certainly saw a spike in claims over the January– December period in 2020*,” Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia says. “Claims have also increased for cruciate ligament conditions.”
With the world in desperate need of interaction, many have taken to pounding the pavement with their proud pooches. However, this could have come at an expensive cost for many unsuspecting pet owners. Excessive play sessions at home could also be one of the reasons for the increase in ligament/tendon and fracture-related claims.
“Excessive exercise can increase pressure on ligaments/tendons and bones, and can lead to damage, ruptures, and fractures,” Crighton warns. “It’s important that pet owners do not over-exercise their dogs and take note if their pet seems stiff or is showing any signs of lameness.”
It is recommended that pet owners go slow particularly when exercising an older dog, or a pet who is not accustomed to exercise. Building the speed and time spent walking/running gradually rather than in one burst. Pet owners also need to take care when playing with their pets. Overly jumpy puppies can get quickly excited when playing which may lead to painful injuries.
“Play is incredibly important to the human/dog bond, but owners do need to take care with older pets, large pets, and puppies,” Crighton says. “Choosing a game that doesn’t encourage too much leaping is recommended to prevent ligament and tendon injuries.”
Large breed dogs, such as Great Danes, can be susceptible to ligament injuries particularly as small puppies. Due to the sheer size of the dog and how quickly they grow, joint care is paramount to prevent expensive and painful injuries. Large breeds, and super small ones, should be prevented from rough play and jumping from high areas to protect growing joints.
The Covid-19 pandemic caused a whirlwind of demand for puppies of all shapes and sizes. New pet owners need to be cautious when exercising their growing pups to prevent injury.
“Exercising your pet is vital for good health and wellbeing,” Crighton says. “It’s a good idea to speak to your vet about exactly how much exercise your dog needs regarding their breed, size, and personality. Some breeds are built to run and play, while others are not.”
Pet Insurance Australia also notes that the spike in tendon-related incidents could also be a result of pet-owners being home more often during the Covid pandemic.
“As we spend more time with our pets, it could also be a case that more owners are becoming aware of their pet’s intermitted limping episodes and seeking veterinary advice,” Crighton says. “Dogs are masters at masking their pain so this could also be another reason for the claim increase.”
* Based on Pet Insurance Australia claims data for ligament/tendon damage and fractures over the calendar year 2020
Photo by Sacha Verheij