Top pet medical claims

in 2021

Pet insurance specialist PD Insurance has shared its most common claims for cats and dogs in 2021 to help educate New Zealand’s pet owners about how valuable pet insurance can be in protecting their hard-earned savings.

Top 10 claim types and an uptick for parvovirus

PD Insurance’s top 10 types of claims received from dog and cat owners for 2021 are:

  1. Infection – e.g., ear, urinary tract, respiratory tract, laceration-induced, nail bed
  2. Allergy/allergic reaction – e.g., skin issues, food allergies
  3. Injury – e.g., limb, soft tissue, eye, muscle
  4. Ingestion – e.g., foreign body, poison, medication, chocolate
  5. Diarrhoea/Gastroenteritis
  6. Bite wound/infection from bite wound
  7. Conjunctivitis
  8. Lacerations – e.g., ear, paw, chest, limbs
  9. Abscess

One noticeable recent uptick has come from the highly contagious and resistant parvovirus, which can cause severe illness in dogs, especially those unvaccinated. It attacks the gastrointestinal tract and occasionally the heart, and a severely infected pup may need to spend five to seven days in a full-service veterinary hospital.

Expenses can really mount up, with one American Staffordshire Bull Terrier owner recently claiming for parvo-related vet bills totalling over $4,000.

Allergies, bites and kennel cough among top claims

At number one was infections. Whether ‘indoor only’ or outdoor roamers, many pets suffer from infections in their ear (the top culprit), eye, sinus, bladder, urinary tract, lung, nailbed, bowel and more. Infections can cause a pet to go downhill fast, potentially requiring extended vet care, so should always be diagnosed and treated. One Border Collie Cross’s bite wound infection led to over $6,500 in vet bills and one domestic medium haired cat had over $2,500 in bills for a respiratory tract infection.

Allergies, including skin allergies, dermatitis and reactions to food, followed close behind in second. Allergies can last a lifetime and cause real issues if not managed, so symptoms such as eye and ear redness/discharge, scratching, head shaking, sneezing, licking, coughing chewing and gagging should prompt a speedy vet visit.

Injuries rounded out the top three PD Insurance claims types, with limbs, soft tissue and eyes featuring most. These can take thousands of dollars to fix – a Rottweiler’s cruciate ligament injury treatment cost over $7,000, as did a Labrador’s head injury.

Ingestion of harmful substances took out fourth spot, with 92% of these claims from dog owners. Toxins like chocolate, grapes, karaka berries and poison were consumed, as were foreign bodies like the plastic and rubber a Samoyed got into… What was thought to be a tennis ball prompted $6,500 in ‘accidental ingestion’ vet bills.

Although further down the list of common claims, being hit by a car still featured highly. One dog owner’s bills totaled over $8,500 and one cat owner’s bills totaled $4,500.

Pet medical care can cause serious back pocket pain

While New Zealand’s health system covers medical costs for our human babies, our fur babies can suffer similar health issues but their expenses are not covered. Vet bills can run into the thousands, which is a strain for most people to afford. Animals are curious, cheeky and unpredictable, which means accidents and illnesses often can’t be prevented. It’s very likely they will need medical attention at some time in their lives. 

In a recent survey by PD Insurance, 39% of respondents with pet insurance said they had it because they couldn’t afford a vet bill if their fur kid was seriously ill or injured. 42% said they didn’t want to have to decide between money and their pet’s life.

Cushion the blow

Pet insurance could cost less than a cup of coffee a day and means you won’t have to make that unbearable life or death decision if the worst happens. Why not protect the health of your pet and cushion the blow of an unaffordable vet bill? With PD Insurance you can get one or more months free when signing up online, depending on your pet’s age, and there are no lock in contracts – just pay month by month.


Media contact 
Leandri Smith – The Mail Room 
027 365 9003 | [email protected]