vet with a dog and cat

Crunching 2022 Data for New Insights on Kiwi Pet Health


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Companion animal ownership in New Zealand is higher than anywhere else in the world. We’re also home to innovative cat and dog health care research. Now, pet health insurance is also contributing through claims data, helping identify key health concerns. Cat abscesses for felines and dog skin allergies for canines were the most prevalent claims in 2022, for example.

PD is here to support pet health and responsible pet ownership in every way we can. This is why we’re sharing our latest cat and dog health insurance claims insights here. The more we know what our canine and feline community is vulnerable to, the better the pet care industry can support them.

How can cat and dog health data be useful?

New Zealand vets are easily outnumbered by their clients – they’re a precious asset. Anything that will save a vet time and effort is useful, and knowledge can be put to good use.

Having the latest pet health insurance claims data can help vets stay abreast of changes in cat and dog health care. Vets can then share this type of information with their clients to be better prepared and in the know.

Read about why many NZ vets are recommending pet insurance for their customers and themselves.

pet owners hold their dog and cat up together for a photo

Top pet health insurance claims 2022

The past year’s data shows pets have had to face many of the same or similar health problems that people do, from diabetes to infections and allergies.

However, given their nature and propensity for investigating the world and each other in a uniquely ‘animal fashion’, pets are more prone to certain health conditions than humans. Like for example, bite wounds and abscesses.

As we launch into 2023, let’s look at the top five pet health insurance claim types paid out last year.

5 most common fur kid claims

For cats and dogs combined:

  1. Skin allergies
  2. Diarrhoea
  3. Gastroenteritis
  4. Ingestion – foreign body
  5. Otitis Externa

This information provides a good general impression of what Kiwi pets need safeguarding from the most. With hundreds of different claim types (from many thousands of claims) appearing in our past year’s data, knowing the top five risks helps the pet care industry plan preventative measures and treatments.

We also know that dogs and cats display different behaviours, which means each faces unique vulnerabilities. While dogs are more often home/backyard bound until it’s time for an outing, cats often have more freedom to come and go as they please.

vet holds a cat that has been treated for an abscess

Top cat health care concerns

As we know, there are many ways to scrutinise data and although the list of overall top pet health insurance claims provides many useful insights, we need to look at them separately.

5 most common claims for cats

Our health insurance claims data shows that the top five most common cat medical care costs are:

  1. Abscess
  2. Bite wound
  3. Diarrhoea
  4. Upper respiratory tract infection
  5. Gastroenteritis

As with any medical condition, some educated assumptions may be made in an attempt to explore cause and effect. We know bite wounds appear in second position and the high rate of cat abscesses at number one may be linked to bites.

We also know New Zealand has a unique range of fauna and flora and cats are avid hunters. In addition to protecting endangered animals from feline hunting expeditions, perhaps we have another good reason for pet owners to consider cat containment options. With cats having a high rate of bite wounds and abscesses, catios, cat-proof fencing and other cat-safe enclosures may be helpful in improving cat health and safety.

While not in the top five cat health care concerns, eye infections, conjunctivitis and limb injuries were also common cat health concerns that resulted in high claims for 2022.

Find out more about cat health research in New Zealand in our article on Cat Health Month.

dog with pet health insurance has a health care check

Top dog health care concerns

Our claims data shows dogs have overlapping but varied vulnerabilities to cats. For example, while an abscess is the top concern for cats, skin allergies merit the same position for dogs. At number one for claims, dog skin allergies are almost double that of number two (diarrhoea).

5 most common claims for dogs

Here’s a look at the top five dog health conditions for the past year:

  1. Dog skin allergy
  2. Diarrhoea
  3. Gastroenteritis
  4. Ingestion – foreign body
  5. Otitis Externa

With skin allergies being so prominent, PD asked Dr Cath Watson to host a vlog on seasonal dog allergies. This provides some key insights worth sharing with pet owners:

Other pet health insurance claims data takeaways

Other pet health insurance claims data takeaways are breeds that fall into the highest numbers for top claim types. With dog skin allergies, Labradors, French Bulldogs and Vizslas are among some of the breeds most affected. When it comes to cat abscesses, no breeds appeared to be more affected than others.

Keen to know how this article’s insights vary to our last take on annual claims data? Read about our top ten claims for 2021.

Partner with PD

Whether you’re a vet, breeder or another pet care specialist or retailer, join hands with PD. Become a partner so you can refer award winning pet insurance to your customers and earn partner rewards in return. Find out more about joining our vet partner and breeder partner rewards and our pet care partner program for other pet care professionals. Let’s bring a soft landing to more Kiwi pets, together.

Click below today to find out about joining our pet care partner program and earning rewards.

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