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truInsights into Lake Day Hazards: Trupanion Shares Data & Prevention Tips for Pet Parents

truInsights is a data focused initiative introduced by Trupanion and designed to deliver valuable health-related data and insights to pet parents, veterinarians and pet lovers alike

As the weather improves and pet parents look to bring their furry companions on outdoor adventures, the fun in the sun brings with it some potential hazards to be aware of for our four-legged friends. With over 20 years of pet health data, Trupanion, Inc. (Nasdaq: TRUP), the leading provider of medical insurance for cats and dogs, has investigated its veterinary invoice data, which shows an increase in claims for foxtails and Leptospirosis in the summer months (June, July and August).

The Dangers of Foxtails

Foxtails are a barbed, spikelet grass that can become embedded in pets’ fur, paws, or even inhaled. They are found in a wide range of outdoor environments and can be especially problematic for pets in the summer months when dried out and hardened. Once embedded, foxtails travel in only one direction, inward toward the body, and can cause pain, wounds, abscesses, punctured lungs, and even death.

According to Trupanion North America data, foxtail related claims are over 275% higher in the summer months (June, July, and August) than all other months. And while some believe that long-hair breeds are more prone to foxtail injury, it’s notable that among the top ten breeds claiming for foxtail injury, four of them are short hair breeds:

Top 10 Breeds

  1. Labradoodle
  2. Doberman Pinscher
  3. Poodle-Standard
  4. German Shorthaired Pointer
  5. American Pitbull Terrier
  6. Boxer
  7. West Highland White Terrier
  8. Golden Retriever
  9. Australian Labradoodle
  10. Australian Shepherd

“There are no dog breeds that are immune to foxtail injuries,” says veterinarian and Trupanion General Manager, Dr. Stephen Rose, BVSc (Hons1) M Infotech CVA ACVCHM. “Protective clothing for pets such as summer shoes are an excellent way to ward off foxtails when hiking or exploring in fields, with the added bonus of offering protection against hot sand and pavement.”

The costs can be significant. Trupanion found that while the average claim amount for a foxtail injury was approximately $387, the highest claim amount was $13,675 for a German Shepherd named Knight in 2017. Knight had inhaled a foxtail, which migrated into the lungs and punctured them, causing fluid buildup in the chest cavity (Pyothorax) and an abscess.

Leptospirosis in Stagnant Water

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease caused by spiral-shaped bacteria called leptospires, which dwell in moist environments and in water. Dogs can become infected through contact with infected animals' urine, which commonly occurs when they drink from contaminated water like puddles, ponds, or other stagnant water. Early warning signs that a dog has become infected with leptospirosis include fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, refusal to eat, severe weakness and depression, stiffness, or severe muscle pain1. If untreated, Leptospirosis is life threatening.

In reviewing Trupanion data, and normalizing for the number of enrolled pets in each state, the U.S. states with the highest frequency of leptospirosis claims are as follows:

  1. New York
  2. Illinois
  3. Texas
  4. New Jersey
  5. Connecticut

Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease, which means that it can be transferred from animals to humans. Pet parents should exercise caution if their pets contract the illness. In addition, any human, pet parent or not, should be mindful of swimming in or potentially consuming stagnant water if they are camping or hiking in areas where there is a high risk of infection.

Because of the severity of the condition, the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that all dogs be vaccinated against leptospirosis2, which works against the most common strains of the leptospira bacteria.

At Trupanion, leptospirosis related claims are slightly higher in the summer months (June, July and August) than all other months. The highest claim was $21,610 — a West Highland White Terrier named Teddy in 2022.

“It’s always important to stay vigilant and monitor your pet when you’re outdoors,” says Dr. Stephen Rose. “Stagnant water presents many potentials health risks, so be sure to bring plenty of extra water and only allow your dog to drink from clean water sources to keep them safe. This includes not letting them drink from water bowls that are shared by other dogs at dog parks and other public spaces, which is something pet parents can overlook. Another tip is to not to let your pets swim in ponds and lakes if they have cuts on their paws or legs, as the lepto bacteria can also enter through the bloodstream.”

Dr. Rose continued, “In general, a good routine for outdoor adventures is to give your pet a thorough inspection as you’re putting on their harness and getting them ready to go outside to make sure they have no areas that will be vulnerable to infection or injury. Always keep a diligent eye on them while they’re outside and leash them if you have concerns about their safety. When you get home, give them a good brushing to comb out all the debris and check for any injuries as well as bugs that may have hitched a ride while doing so. If you follow this routine every time, you’ll be more likely to notice if anything is unusual and if you have any concerns, never hesitate to reach out to your pet’s veterinarian.”

About Trupanion

Trupanion is a leader in medical insurance for cats and dogs throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Puerto Rico and Australia with over 1,000,000 pets enrolled. For over two decades, Trupanion has given pet owners peace of mind so they can focus on their pet's recovery, not financial stress. Trupanion is committed to providing pet owners with the highest value in pet medical insurance with unlimited payouts for the life of their pets. With its patented process, Trupanion is the only North American provider with the technology to pay veterinarians directly in seconds at the time of checkout. Trupanion is listed on NASDAQ under the symbol "TRUP". The company was founded in 2000 and is headquartered in Seattle, WA. Trupanion policies are issued, in the United States, by its wholly-owned insurance entity American Pet Insurance Company and, in Canada, by Accelerant. Policies are sold and administered in Canada by Canada Pet Health Insurance Services, Inc. dba Trupanion 309-1277 Lynn Valley Road, North Vancouver, BC V7J 0A2 and in the United States by Trupanion Managers USA, Inc. (CA license No. 0G22803, NPN 9588590). Canada Pet Health Insurance Services, Inc. is a registered damage insurance agency and claims adjuster in Quebec #603927. Trupanion Australia is a partnership between Trupanion and Hollard Insurance Company. For more information, please visit


1“Canine Leptospirosis” Washington State Department of Health

2“Leptospirosis in dogs” American Veterinary Medical Association


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