Pet Health Insurance and Top 10 Medical Problems for Cats and Dogs

June 17, 2015

Pets and humans both require regular medical attention for treatment of ailments and preventative care. Although allergies and minor injuries are not life-threatening problems for pets, they can still be very costly to treat. Policyholders who had Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. coverage spent over $68 million in 2014 on common pet medical issues.

VPI was the nation's first and largest pet health insurance provider. With a database of 525,000 insured pets, researchers for the company looked at claims to see what the top injuries were for pets in 2014. These were the top reasons for vet visits:


  • Skin allergies
  • Ear infections
  • Non-cancerous skin masses
  • Skin infections
  • Arthritis
  • Vomiting and stomach issues
  • Dental diseases
  • Diarrhea
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Soft tissue damage


  • Urinary tract infections
  • Dental diseases
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Vomiting and stomach problems
  • Excessive thyroid hormone
  • Diarrhea
  • Diabetes
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Respiratory infections
  • Lymphoma

VPI encourages pet owners to become familiar with daily routines of their pets and to take them in for regular medical checkups. Regular visits and careful monitoring are the best ways to identify problems, address them early and keep them more manageable. Early detection and treatment also keeps costs down.

In citing the most common types of claims for dogs and cats, VPI representatives said that there were more than 80,000 claims for canine skin allergies. The average cost per dog was $189. For cats, there were over 4,700 claims for urinary tract infections, and the average cost of a UTI claim for a cat was about $425. With an average cost just shy of $500 per dog, the most costly canine medical condition was a non-cancerous skin mass. The most expensive type of feline medical condition was lymphoma. An average claim for this condition was just shy of $2,000 per cat.

VPI is one of several insurers that covers cats, dogs, birds and several exotic pets. Pet insurance is similar to human health insurance. There are certain items that are covered. Each item is covered to a certain percent. With some insurers, the coverage percentage is based on a level. Typical levels range from basic to advanced care. Higher coverage percentages are associated with higher premiums. Some employers offer VPI or pet insurance as a part of their benefits packages today. To learn more about individual pet insurance or adding it to a workplace benefits package, discuss concerns with an agent.

Click here to return to Amity Insurance E-Newsletter June 17, 2015.