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Those who love their pets tend to enjoy all animals. Our animal owners are no different. Check in on News-Herald staffers Robin Palmer and Cheryl Sadler as they share their own animal tales and announce upcoming events in Lake and Geauga counties.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Tripping over your pet? Join the club

I hate the cry my cats make when I accidentally step on their tails or paws.

Wow, that looks worse in writing then it sounds out loud.

Hey, I blame the victims. Sister (pictured) weaves around my feet at least twice a day -- for wet food at 7:30 a.m. and for a treat after work -- and three-legged Muppet prefers the darkest spots in my apartment.

Hearing that cry, sensing a little tail or paw under my foot, my clumsy attempt to step off and not land back on my panicked pal usually sends me into a table or wall. I have pretty decent balance and treat bruises like battle wounds, proof I've survived.

Not all Americans are so resilient, though, and end up in the emergency room, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 86,629 fall injuries were associated with cats and dogs annually between 2001 and 2006, the study claims -- yielding a 29.7 in 100,000 chance that you or I could get caught up in that statistic.

During a recent podcast, CDC Dr. Judy Stevens said injuries caused by pets and pet toys were most common among young children and adults ages 35 to 54, and twice as common among females than males, but the highest injury rates affected adults ages 75 and up.

"This is very serious because these falls often caused fractures, which have very serious affects for older adults," Stevens said.

I may be more injury-prone in this case, being a woman, but having cats clearly gives me an advantage. Stevens said dogs and their toys caused 88 percent of the studied falls. The most my cats' toys have done to me is give me the momentary fear I was stepping on a mouse.

Use caution while walking or chasing pets, put dogs through obedience training and keep pet toys out of your path, Stevens said.

And if your pets are anything like mine, well, good luck.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,


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April 1, 2009 at 4:00 AM 

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