Leading rural insurer reveals top ten claims for ‘country canines’

People who live and work in the countryside have long accepted rural life comes with its own risks and rewards and now, claims data from the UK’s leading rural insurer shows the same is true for man’s best friend.

Between November 2011 and November 2012, NFU Mutual paid out over £4.5 million in veterinary claims for pet and working dogs. Injuries caused by barbed wire, being attacked by foxes, being kicked or trampled by a horse or being run over by a tractor or other agricultural vehicle were just some of the more ‘rural’ claims settled by the insurer.

Nicki Whittaker, Rural Affairs Specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “Dogs are part of the fabric of rural life and, in addition to those dogs kept as family pets many dogs in rural areas are working dogs and have a valuable role to play on farms and rural estates.

“A dog’s environment influences the types of risks it is exposed to and dogs in rural areas are exposed to risks which their urban cousins might never encounter. Dogs in the countryside are at greater risk of being trampled by cattle or horses, sustaining barbed wire injuries or being run over by agricultural machinery than those in urban areas and it is important that owners recognise these risks and try to minimise them.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, veterinary claims for retrievers, a breed popular with rural dwellers, accounted for 24% of all claims, with spaniels and terriers occupying the second and third place respectively as the breeds with most veterinary claims.

Treatment for lumps and cysts topped the table for most frequent claims, with diseases and problems involving the gastro-intestinal and digestive system coming a close second. Treatment for the ingestion of poison or a foreign object was the tenth most common reason for veterinary treatment, with rat poison being the most commonly ingested poison by country canines.

Among some of the more unusual claims handled by the insurer were for dogs that had swallowed all manner of inedible objects including: a needle and thread; underwear; pot pourri; a fish hook and a glove. Conkers, rabbits, compost and a rotten deer carcass were also among the items eaten.

The top ten most common veterinary claims for dogs were; treatment for lumps & cysts; Diseases & problems involving the gastro-intestinal and digestive system; Diseases and problems involving the musculoskeletal system; Injury or disease involving the leg, foot or claw; Treatment for cuts & abrasions; Treatment for skin diseases;

Lameness; Treatment for dental problems; Diseases & problems involving the ear; Treatment for the ingestion of poison or foreign objects.