Pet Insurance Australia has noticed an interesting increase in traumaticligament/tendon damage and fractures over the COVID-19 lockdown period.

“We certainly saw a spike in claims over the January– December period in2020*,” Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia says. “Claims have alsoincreased for cruciate ligament conditions.”

With the world in desperate need of interaction, many have taken to poundingthe pavement with their proud pooches. However, this could have come at anexpensive cost for many unsuspecting pet owners. Excessive play sessions athome could also be one of the reasons for the increase in ligament/tendon andfracture-related claims.

“Excessive exercise can increase pressure on ligaments/tendons and bones, andcan lead to damage, ruptures, and fractures,” Crighton warns. “It’s importantthat pet owners do not over-exercise their dogs and take note if their petseems stiff or is showing any signs of lameness.”

It is recommended that pet owners go slow particularly when exercising anolder dog, or a pet who is not accustomed to exercise. Building the speed andtime spent walking/running gradually rather than in one burst. Pet owners alsoneed to take care when playing with their pets. Overly jumpy puppies can getquickly excited when playing which may lead to painful injuries.

“Play is incredibly important to the human/dog bond, but owners do need totake care with older pets, large pets, and puppies,” Crighton says. “Choosinga game that doesn’t encourage too much leaping is recommended to preventligament and tendon injuries.”

Large breed dogs, such as Great Danes, can be susceptible to ligament injuriesparticularly as small puppies. Due to the sheer size of the dog and howquickly they grow, joint care is paramount to prevent expensive and painfulinjuries. Large breeds, and super small ones, should be prevented from roughplay and jumping from high areas to protect growing joints.

The Covid-19 pandemic caused a whirlwind of demand for puppies of all shapesand sizes. New pet owners need to be cautious when exercising their growingpups 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 yourdog needs regarding their breed, size, and personality. Some breeds are builtto run and play, while others are not.”

Pet Insurance Australia also notes that the spike in tendon-related incidentscould also be a result of pet-owners being home more often during the Covidpandemic.

“As we spend more time with our pets, it could also be a case that more ownersare becoming aware of their pet’s intermitted limping episodes and seekingveterinary advice,” Crighton says. “Dogs are masters at masking their pain sothis could also be another reason for the claim increase.”

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