10 Most Common Animal Attacks on Pets
Veterinarian Reviewed on July 28, 2009 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
Although snakes live in every state, the worst cases only occur in a few states.
Elizabeth Rozanski, an assistant professor of emergency and critical care at the Tufts University’s Foster Hospital for Small Animals in North Grafton, Massachusetts, explains that:
“In Colorado and Arizona, we see a lot of snake bites, but those are often dogs coming unleashed in an area where snakes are.”
The most poisonous snakes found in America are corral snakes and pit vipers, such as rattlesnakes, copperheads and the cottonmouth moccasin. However, coral snakes usually only bite once provoked, whilst pit vipers only become aggressive if they perceive a pet to be a threat to them.
Coyotes have a tendency to hunt small animals and pets and will attack out of aggression rather than self-defense, and can be found every state.
Rozanski warns: “Coyotes definitely do attack. Unfortunately, what coyotes do is kill cats, not injure them, usually. If you’re in an area that there’s coyotes around, that’s definitely a cause for concern.”
You can always tell when coyotes are on the hunt as they will usually be in packs of two and will howl in the evening. Keep your pet inside if you believe that coyotes are outside.
Raccoons live in almost every part of the USA, and can carry Rabies.
If your pet is bitten by a Raccoon, Hohenhaus suggests that you attempt to trap and catch the Raccoon so that you can take into your veterinarian to be tested for rabies. It is also best to make sure that your pets are always current on their Rabies vaccine.
However, it is rare for a Raccoon to attack a pet. Usually a pet will attack a Raccoon who will then attack back in self-defense.
Except in Australia and Antarctica, Squirrels can be found everywhere else in the world.
Since squirrels are so small, they are desired prey for most dogs and bigger domestic cats. However, sharp claws can hinder a squirrel from becoming prey. Pets are bitten by squirrels most often when they corner it and it retaliates in self-defense.
Most scorpion attacks happen in Arizona. There are roughly 40 different species of scorpions that have the potential to kill a person via their poisonous sting. So one can only imagine how the sting would impact a smaller pet.
“[With] scorpions, those aren’t really anybody’s fault,” explains Rozanski. She believes that a scorpion stings usually after a pet has chased it down, but also believes that the pet’s owner is also at fault for allowing their pet to run wild
Javelina’s, or collared peccary’s, are small pig-like mammals with sharp tusks that are found in the Southwest and Central and South America.
The javelina usually eats roots, insects and small reptiles, but, because of their sharp tusks, they can also hunt and attack small dogs and cats.
Injuries that are caused by a porcupines quill are quite common across the Northeast of the USA.
Veterinarians believe that porcupines are not the aggressors, which is usually evident with the porcupine’s quills usually being found on the face of a dog or cat; proving that the pet was hunting the porcupine.
These underground creatures use their sharp claws and teeth to free themselves from a predators hold and are usually found where forests meet fields.
Attacks by groundhogs on pets are usually the cause of a pet becoming too close to the groundhog.
Even though some skunks are kept as pets, their scent glands are usually removed first. However, wild skunks, can emit a rank smelling, yellowish type of liquid that is usually offensive enough to teach a domestic pet to stay away from skunks in the future!
However, skunks also have very sharp claws that were designed for digging. These claws can do a sizeable amount of damage if your pet got too near.
Common house Rats are usually the culprit in claims investigated by VPI. Rats can grow to be nearly 10 inches long and weigh about a pound. Rats are scavengers and seek out warm areas in which to live, such as houses.
Rats carry diseases like typhus and tularemia which can be passed onto the pets that they bite.
Being as aggressive and voracious as they are, Rats will do whatever they need to in order to protect themselves from pets and people, often biting and scratching their way free.
Photo Credit: Harlequeen
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan