Pets, specifically dogs and cats, make up a growing percentage of those creating new social media accounts throughout North America, and recent reports show that veterinarians are seeing an increased rate of injuries and conditions related to the excessive use of computers and mobile devices.
Physical injuries previously unseen in companion animals are appearing across North America, and many cases are related to blogging, tweeting, snapchatting, texting, and instagramming habits. “It has been said that pets take on the characteristics of their owners. After hearing of the health problems excessive social media use has caused humans, I worried about the issues it could be creating for our four legged companions, who are also heavy users,” said Darryl Rawlings, Trupanion Founder and CEO. “Once I saw the data, it became clear to me we needed to immediately update our policy to be there for these pets who are suffering.”
Health issues arising from increased social media use include a spike in carpal tunnel claims attributed to excessive keyboard use. This is especially true with cat bloggers who spend hours at a time at their keyboard. Long-time pet bloggers are even showing signs of arthritis.
Additionally, pets are experiencing “Blackberry Paw” and “Text Neck” as a result of excessive use of the paws for texting and frequently looking down at their cell phones. Navigating the small buttons and touch screens add an extra strain on the interphalangeal joints of the paw.
Several dogs have been diagnosed with shoulder injuries after taking group selfies due to hyperextension of the front limbs. This was especially true following Ellen’s Oscar tweet, when there was a 60% increase in selfie-related shoulder injuries.
Pets have also reported concussions and other injuries as a result of walking into signposts, doors, walls, and even pools while texting. Luckily pets are unable to operate motorized vehicles, for the most part, so injuries sustained from car selfies aren’t a major concern.
Trupanion’s updated coverage plan is designed to cover any medical conditions sustained from the use of current or future technologies. If pet owners choose to add Trupanion’s “Complementary Care Rider” to the policy, counseling and therapy services for social media addiction will also be eligible for coverage.
With social media only gaining in popularity among pets, it appears that this new coverage couldn’t come at a better time.
Happy April Fools’ Day!