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10 Top Pet Insurance Claims for Dogs and Cats in 2023


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The top 10 pet insurance claims for dogs and cats for 2023 are out. For the benefit of pet parents all over NZ, PD Insurance has analysed claims data to find out the most common pet health issues taking pets to vets. This gives great insights into what health checks to put in place for your cat or dog in 2024.

We found many of the top most common claims were the same between dogs and cats, though with some notable differences. Find out if your cat or dog experienced any of these… If not, you’ll still know what to be on the lookout for and why it’s worth having dog insurance and cat insurance.

A man holding a dog in the snow, with pet insurance claims coverage.

Top 10 pet insurance claims for dogs in 2023

While all pets can get injured or ill and dogs and cats have a lot in common in this regard, some health conditions differ between the two.

For example, while both can experience diabetes, dogs mostly get the more serious type 1 diabetes while cats tend to get type 2 diabetes. That said, it’s important to give both a soft landing and this data will hopefully help you plan ahead.

Here are the top pet insurance claims for dogs in 2023:

#1 Skin allergies top the pet insurance claims for dogs

Like us, our poor puppies also experience allergies from food, environmental triggers, products and a range of bacteria and fungi. These can be seasonal allergies or limited to specific incidents.

Read about our PD pet customer, Rebel the Staffordshire Bull Terrier X, who experiences chronic allergies that require significant vet treatment. It’s worth noting the highest PD claim payout for skin allergies in 2023 was $6,839, making pet insurance well worthwhile for pets and pockets.

Watch this PD Pet Care vlog with Dr Cath Watson on seasonal dog allergies:

#2 Dog ear infections

You might not know it, but ear infections can pose quite a serious risk to dogs’ health and can cause deafness. The highest PD insurance claim reimbursement for 2023 reached $4,549.

Learn more about preventing and treating dog ear infections and why the canine ear is so very incredible and complex.

#3. Gastroenteritis (no. 6 for pet cat insurance claims)

Gastro is the third top PD Insurance pet claim for 2023… and may very well be connected to numbers four, five, six and seven! That’s because gastro causes diarrhoea, sometimes in combination with your dog vomiting.

Gastroenteritis can be dangerous for a number of reasons. Firstly, it can be as a result of a more serious underlying condition like cancer, kidney failure or liver infection. And secondly, regardless, it leads to dehydration and worse if left untreated.

The average claimed amount for this dog health issue in 2023 sits at $789. However, the top PD Insurance claim reimbursement hit the customer’s $10,000 Classic plan annual limit (minus their excess payment) – though the vet bills reached $12,630. Is dog insurance worth it? We’d say “Yes!”.

Two women sitting on a couch with a French bulldog, engaging in a conversation about pet insurance claims.

#4. Diarrhoea (no.3 for pet cat insurance claims)

The fourth top pet insurance claim for dogs this last year was for diarrhoea. This highlights that diarrhoea isn’t always because of gastro, even though it’s the primary symptom of gastro.

Diarrhoea in dogs is typically caused by eating something bad, by infection (viral or bacterial) and having pests like worms and parasites. If you’re wondering whether pet insurance is worth it, the top PD pet insurance claim reimbursement for doggy diarrhoea in 2023 came to $8,023, while the average amount claimed was $344.

#5. Foreign body ingestion

Our recent PD companion animals survey with pet insurance customers shows that accidental ingestion is a top pet parent worry.

Accidental ingestion is a common risk with dogs who treat life like it’s a buffet. Of course, they also end up swallowing foreign objects like sand and tennis balls because of carrying them in their mouths too.

For example, a PD pet owner claimed for a $7,006 vet bill after pooch swallowed a tennis ball, which we reimbursed, less their excess payment. Another poor pooch’s pet insurance claim, of $6,665, was a result of swallowing an AirPod.

Sometimes we just have to face the music – thankfully, in New Zealand, there’s pet insurance for cats and dogs!

A woman posing with a large dog in the woods, with pet insurance claims being her top priority.

#6. Poison ingestion

The sixth top pet insurance claim this past year was for poison ingestion. As we know, dogs tend to explore almost anything they come across by gobbling it whole.

Read about Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy Hazel who ate human heart pills. Also read about the Border Terrier named Piper who knocked rat bait off a top shelf and ate it up, in our registered dog breeders article.

Both dogs’ lives were on the line, but quick acting and the soft landing of pet insurance meant no one had to second guess the cost of life saving treatment. Average PD Pet insurance claims for poison ingestion this past year has been $775, however the top claim we paid was $9,049.

#7. Emesis, aka vomiting

Dogs vomit for lots of reasons, including gastro, toxicity (e.g., read about xylitol toxicity in dogs), illness and more. That’s why it’s best to check in with your vet when your dog isn’t keeping anything down.

Vomiting can seem like a common dog health issue so it may surprise you to discover our highest pet insurance claim for dog vomiting was a whopping $9,875, which was the customer’s annual benefit limit minus their excess. The total in vet bills was actually $12,106!

A golden retriever with a cast on his leg.

#8. Limb injuries (also no. 8 for pet cat insurance claims)

We have two legs, dogs have four. If you do the basic math that means they have double as many limbs to injure and dogs will be dogs, which sadly means injuries are commonplace.

In 2023, the third highest claim PD Insurance paid out across all claim types was for a limb injury. PD Insurance paid out $13,044 to give this pup a soft landing in their hour of need. Just another reason to weigh up pet insurance vs savings.

#9. Allergic reactions

As we mentioned earlier, allergies can be triggered from several things. Each dog can have triggers that are unique from the next, just like people. While allergic reactions can be once off, they’re often chronic. In some cases, allergic reactions can be so severe that the body goes into anaphylactic shock (think bee stings / peanuts, for example).

In cases like these, getting immediate vet treatment is needed because this is a life threatening situation. It’s just another reason to compare dog and puppy insurance quotes from early on. In 2023, the average pet insurance claim for allergic reaction was $238 while the highest PD Insurance claim paid out sits at $5,452.

#10. Conjunctivitis (no. 4 for pet cat insurance claims)

Yep, dogs get pink eye too. In 2023, conjunctivitis (caused by virus or bacteria) was the 10th most common dog insurance claim. While this too may seem like a simple common health problem, the highest claim PD Insurance paid out for it was nevertheless $1,052.

Read the full PD Guide to Conjunctivitis in Dogs.

A white cat confidently walking on a log path in the peaceful woods.

Top 10 pet insurance claims for cats in 2023

While many of the same pet health problems from the top dog claims are also among the top cat claims, you’ll notice a few key differences. These along with everything on the list are worth knowing about as a cat mum or dad.

That way you can get your pet insurance plan in place in advance to help pay the vet bills should any of these and a myriad of other health problems this strike. Without further ado, these are the top pet claims for cats from 2023.

#1. Bite wounds is the pinnacle of pet insurance claims for cats

Clearly, cat fights are a real health risk for our feline friends – and bites from dogs too. There were many bites and accompanying wounds among cats in 2023.

The highest pet insurance claim we paid for a cat’s bite injury this past year came to $5,000 (the annual benefit limit for the PD Accident plan), but the vet bills came to $8,792. Meowch!

Learn how a cat fight and bite can quickly develop into an abscess and how to stop your cat from biting and scratching you. Also read about catio cat enclosures to keep cats safe and happy.

Two cats in the grass, staring each other down in a contest that could lead to a cat fight

#2. Abscess

As mentioned, a bite on a cat can cause an abscess; so can any injury. Once there’s a wound, if not properly managed the bacteria leaps in and can quickly lead to infection. The average pet insurance claim for abscesses in cats this past year was $310. But one owner’s vet bill came to $2,738 for treatment of their cat’s abscess.

Do kittens need pet insurance? We’d say the sooner the better.

#3. Diarrhoea

Like dogs and people, cats can get diarrhoea because of eating something bad or because they’ve succumbed to some kind of virus or bacteria. It’s important to take your feline friend to see a vet when this is accompanied by lethargy, discomfort, losing their appetite and/or vomiting.

Pet insurance claims for diarrhoea in cats came to $268 on average, with the highest reimbursement being $2,049.

woman holds her cat lovingly

#4. Conjunctivitis

Also on the list of health conditions that people and dogs get, pink eye (aka conjunctivitis) can also be a cat affliction. This past year, one of the highest PD Insurance claims we reimbursed for this condition came to $1,040.

If you’re still wondering “Do I really need pet insurance?” why not get a quote at the bottom of this page and decide from there?

#5. Urinary tract obstruction

An obstruction in a cat’s urinary tract can stop them from being able to pee. This can not only lead to great pain (ever tried to hold it for longer than a few hours?), but life threatening health issues and is more common in male cats than females.

The highest pet insurance claim PD paid out for this harrowing health condition came to $8,943. That’s a massive difference when compared to how much pet insurance costs each year.

A cat is undergoing surgery performed by a veterinarian - thankfully the owner will be reimbursed for much of the vet bill after submitting their pet insurance claims.

#6. Gastroenteritis

While cats may have slipped down the list of top claims compared to their canine counterparts, dealing with feline gastro can be as serious and as pricey.

With an average payout of $487 the grand champion claim hit a whopping $4,825. Talk about a health and savings cat-astrophe narrowly averted!

#7. Cystitis

Cystitis is a common cat woe where stress triggers bladder inflammation. If bacteria sets in, then the inflammation can progress to infection known as a UTI. This condition leads to a dearly uncomfortable kitty and a potential drain on your bank account. In 2023, the average claim was $338 but the highest roller hit $3,673.

Keep those stress levels low, for your cat’s sake and your wallet’s! One way to keep your own stress levels around your pet’s health is by having pet insurance before pre-existing conditions emerge.

A vet is putting a bandage on a cat's leg

#8. Limb injuries

Despite the fact that cats almost always land on their feet, they can and do still end up with limb injuries. The claims we’ve seen over the past year include breaks, fractures, sprains and more, causing paws for thought.

The highest PD Insurance claim payout in 2023 was $9,775 (the customer’s $10,000 Classic plan annual benefit limit less their excess) but the vet bills went well beyond to $12,781. Considering how good cats are at masking pain, find out how to tell if your cat’s leg is broken.

#9. Lower urinary tract infection

Cat bladder infections or UTIs cause a whole heap of pain and discomfort and can lead to secondary problems (like obstructed urinary tracts at #5). Most often the cause of a lower UTI is bacteria and often in combination with stress.

The average pet insurance claims payouts for this cat condition in 2023 was $462 with the largest payout coming to $5,867. Learn more about the cat UTI, including causes, remedies and symptoms.

#10. Eye infection

The final common pet insurance claim for cats this past year was eye infections. Eyes on the prize—or in this case, on the vet bill! The highest payout in this ocular spectacle came to $857. Learn about causes, symptoms and remedies for a range of common pet eye infections.

A young boy sits next to a dog in a field of purple flowers, unaware of the potential risks and hazards that may arise leading to pet insurance claims

Pet insurance claims match pet owners worries

PD Insurance recently surveyed 2,000 customers, finding many of their top worries for pets legitimately match up with the top pet insurance claims data.

The question we posed to pet owners for a long list of pet health conditions was:

“What are your top 5 health worries for your pet?”

Top five health worries owners have for their pets

These echoed the findings from our first survey back in 2020:

  • 60% – accidental ingestion
  • 39% – broken bones
  • 39% – intestinal obstruction
  • 37% – bites from other animals
  • 27% – arthritis

We also asked another open-ended question where pet owners could answer anything they liked:

“What other hazards do you worry about for your pet?”

Top five pet hazards owners worry about

These also echoed our 2020 findings, though the emotional issues was a new arrival:

  • 59% – getting run over by cars
  • 57% – escaping and getting lost or hurt
  • 49% – being stolen
  • 46% – getting into a fight with another animal
  • 33% – emotional issues from me being at work/elsewhere

This means that pet owners have a healthy understanding of many of the common pet health issues. Generally speaking this type of knowledge is helpful when comparing pet insurance plans to suit your pet and your pocket.

Now that you know about the top ten claim types, have some fun reading our top ten most popular blog posts too!

A gray cat home alone, standing in a doorway.

How to make pet insurance claims

Making a pet insurance claim is easy with PD Insurance. Simply upload the relevant paperwork – usually the vet bill and your receipt along with any vet notes – via your online portal at a time that suits you.

Once you’ve lodged your pet insurance claim, a claims consultant will contact you to guide you through any additional steps. When your claim is complete, we aim to reimburse you within two days.

We know that when pets are ill or injured you don’t need the added headache of difficult admin, which is why we try to streamline the process, making it simple and fast. Read more on how PD makes pet claims easy.

Choose award winning plans with PD Pet Insurance

When you choose PD, you’re choosing a multi-award winning pet insurance provider to give your dog or cat a soft landing. With our three dog insurance and cat insurance plans, you can choose between three annual defined benefit limits. You also get one or more months of FREE pet insurance when you sign up.

Don’t wait ’til after something happens to your pet and it’s too late. Get a quote today to learn how much you’ll pay for affordable quality cover for your fur baby.

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