Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care 28(2) 2018, pp 140–148
Epidemiology, clinical management, and
outcomes of dogs involved in road trafﬁc
accidents in the United Kingdom (2009–2014)
Georgina L. Harris, BVetMed; David Brodbelt, MA, VetMED, PhD, DECVAA; David Church, BVSc,
PhD, MACVSc; Karen Humm, MA, VetMB, DACVECC, DECVECC; Paul D. McGreevy, BVSC, PhD,
MACVSc; Peter C. Thomson, BSc, MSc, MAppStat, PhD and Dan O’Neill, MVB BSc(hons),
Objective – To estimate the prevalence and risk factors for road trafﬁc accidents (RTA) in dogs and describe the
management and outcome of these dogs attending primary-care veterinary practices in the United Kingdom.
Design – Retrospective cross-sectional study.
Setting – Primary-care veterinary practices in the United Kingdom.
Animals – The study population included 199,464 dogs attending 115 primary-care clinics across the United
Measurements and main results – Electronic patient records of dogs attending practices participating in the Vet-
Compass Programme were assessed against selection criteria used to deﬁne RTA cases. Cases identiﬁed as RTAs
were identiﬁed and manually veriﬁed to calculate prevalence. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression
methods were used to evaluate associations between risk factors and RTA. The prevalence of RTA was 0.41%. Of
the RTA cases, 615 (74.9%) were purebred, 322 (39.2%) were female, and 285 (54.8%) were insured. The median
age at RTA was 2.5 years. After accounting for the effects of other factors, younger dogs had increased odds of
an RTA event: dogs aged under 3 years showed 2.9 times the odds and dogs aged between 6–9 years showed
1.8 times the odds of an RTA event compared with dogs aged over 14 years. Males had 1.4 times the odds of an
RTA event compared with females. Overall, 22.9% of cases died from a cause associated with RTA. Of dogs with
information available, 34.0% underwent diagnostic imaging, 29.4% received intravenous ﬂuid-therapy, 71.1%
received pain relief, 46.0% were hospitalized, and 15.6% had surgery performed under general anesthetic.
Conclusions – This study identiﬁed important demographic factors associated with RTA in dogs, notably being
young and male.
(J Vet Emerg Crit Care 2018; 28(2): 140–148) doi: 10.1111/vec.12704
clinical epidemiology, small animal critical care, trauma
CI conﬁdence intervals
EPR electronic patient record
From the Department of Clinical Science and Services (Harris, Church,
Humm), Department of Pathobiology and Population Sciences (Brod-
belt, O’Neill), The Royal Veterinary College, University of London, North
Mymms, Hertfordshire, AL9 7TA, UK; and Sydney School of Veterinary
Science (McGreevy), RMC Gunn Building B19, The University of Syd-
ney, Sydney, NSW Australia School of Life and Environmental Sciences
(Thompson), The University of Sydney, Camden, NSW Australia.
The authors declare no conﬂict of interest
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Georgina Harris, The Royal
Veterinary College, University of London, North Mymms, Hertfordshire,
AL9 7TA, UK
Submitted December 08, 2015; Accepted June 29, 2016.
IQR interquartile range
NSAIDS non-steroidal anti-inﬂammatory drugs
RTA road trafﬁc accident
RTC road trafﬁc collision
Road trafﬁc accidents (RTA), also described as motor ve-
hicle accidents, are one of the most common causes of
blunt trauma in dogs.
Previous reports have identiﬁed
RTA as the fourth most common cause of death in dogs
under 3 years of age, with 12.7% of deaths in young dogs
occurring from RTA.
RTA has also been reported to be
the cause of 55% of head trauma cases in dogs.
as the substantial welfare impact on affected animals,
Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society 2018