Trupanion notes an increase in pet insurance claims for cruciate ligament damages and ties this to warm weather.
(PR.com) August 16, 2010 - Trupanion, a pet insurance company, reports a 29.76% rise in pet insurance claims for cruciate ligament damage between January and June of 2010. The company regularly sees an increase in claims in the summer months, due to a spike in physical activity during warmer weather.
Cruciate ligaments are criss-crossed over the knee, stabilizing the joint while allowing for a very large range of motion. The damage occurs when the ligaments are ruptured or torn, usually from excessive physical activity, resulting in instability or a limp.
Cruciate ligament damage is most often treated with surgery. Veterinarians will determine what type of surgery is most suitable for the pet, based on size, lifestyle, and other factors. The option most commonly seen by Trupanion is Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy. During this procedure, the knee joint is opened and the damaged portion is removed. Then, the tibia is cut and rotated so that the knee joint stabilizes as the animal puts weight on it.
Cruciate ligament repairs are among the most expensive claims Trupanion receives. One such claim saw a total veterinary bill of $4,005.40. The policy holder had a zero deductible policy, and since Trupanion covers 90% of actual costs, the company reimbursed a total of $3,604.86.
The most common breeds that are prone to this injury are Akita, American Staffordshire Terrier, Australian Terrier, and Mastiff, but Trupanion has seen claims in a wide variety of breeds.
There are a few things pet owners can do to decrease the chance their pet will suffer from cruciate ligament damage:
- Monitor the pet’s weight. Overweight animals have a higher chance of injuring themselves due to the added weight placed on their joints.
- Give the pet plenty of exercise all year round. If the pet is used to exercise, he will be less likely to strain himself if playtime becomes more strenuous.
- If the pet is older or has another structural issue such as a luxated patella, pay close attention to him as he plays, as he is at greater risk for a ligament injury.
If you suspect your pet has an injury, be sure to take him to your vet as soon as possible.