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With no NHS for our pets, dog and cat owners are responsible for footing the bill when their beloved pet needs to visit the vet. But how much are typical vet fees? It varies widely depending on the illness or injury from which your pet is suffering.
Vet bills can be especially problematic if you struggle with household debt. Understanding how much you'd need to pay in vet bills if your dog or cat falls ill or is injured can help you decide if pet insurance is worth the cost to you. With that in mind, we analysed data from Animal Friends, Argos Pet Insurance and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) on common health claims.
Average Costs of Pet Illness and Injury Claims
The most expensive-to-treat pet illnesses were related to knee and back issues, with a cruciate rupture costing around £3,000 to fix. Back disc problems cost pet owners over £2,000 in vet fees. More minor, but still common, issues like a grass seed in a paw, ear infections or stomach problems can still cost a pet owner in the range of £350 to £400 to treat.
|Back disc problems||£2,373|
|Road Traffic Accident||£1,356|
|Epilepsy or other seizure||£1,248|
|Urinary system disorder||£883|
|Hot-Weather Paw Burns||£618|
|Other digestive problems||£483|
|Corneal ulcer (a problem with the eye)||£445|
|Addison’s disease (low hormone production)||£442|
|Lipoma (tumor of fatty tissue under skin)||£289|
|Anal gland abscess||£199|
|Average Cost of Surgery||£1,500|
Serious conditions can cost a significant amount to treat due to the cost of cutting-edge diagnostic imagery and surgery. For example, the average cost of a dog MRI is £1,860 but can exceed £3,000 for an emergency, out-of-hours scan.
Is Pet Insurance Worth the Cost?
Are you wondering if you need to buy pet insurance? While paying for pet insurance may feel like a waste of money if you never need to claim, it can certainly help protect your wallet and your beloved pet if they ever fall ill or are injured.
We found that the average annual cost of accident and illness pet insurance was £308 for a dog and £257 for a cat. According to the ABI, the average pet insurance claim in 2017 was £757, which is around 2.5 to 3X the average quote to buy accident & illness pet insurance.
Given this, the typical pet owner would be better off financially buying pet insurance (vs. self funding) if they end up claiming every 2.5 to 3 years. While it's impossible to predict if and when your pet will need vet treatment in the future, pet insurance can certainly help mitigate the financial shock if they do end up needing treatment.