Wounded cats and dogs: UK pet owners claim £775m for vet treatment

13 July 2018

It’s not just poorly pooches and cantankerous cats that dread a visit to the vets. Owners of uninsured pets will not relish a trip either as new research from Direct Line pet Insurance reveals that the cost of taking cats and dogs to the vet has risen by 4% over the past 12 months.

During 2017, the average pet insurance claim increased by £29 from £728 to £757 and, in total, the UK’s pet owners claimed a whopping £775 million for treatment for their sick or injured four-legged friends. More than a million claims were made – an average of two every minute.

To ensure the UK’s pets get the best – and speediest – treatment, Direct Line says it’s important that pet owners are on the look-out and aware of signs that could suggest their pets are unwell.

For cats, the most common claim, at 15%, is wounds, followed by gastro-intestinal problems at 14%, and tumours, growths and cysts at 11%.

Accounting for 6% of all claims for cats is poisoning – highlighting the need for cat owners to be aware of any plants or other noxious substances they may come across. Direct Line warns that blooms including lilies, poppies and marigolds as well as festive mistletoe and poinsettia can all be poisonous to cats.

Dog owners are most likely to claim for tumours, growths and cysts which account for a fifth (20%) of claims, closely followed at 19% by musculoskeletal problems including lameness, ligament damage and arthritis. Gastrointestinal problems which covers vomiting, pancreatitis and gastritis represented 12% of claims. 

Commenting on the results, Prit Powar, head of pet insurance at Direct Line, says: “Our analysis reveals the importance of insuring your pet against illness and injury, as owners can be left footing bills running into thousands of pounds. Many conditions can be easily treated, so it is important to get your pet checked out as soon as you suspect something is wrong. Comprehensive pet insurance provides the vital peace of mind that a trip to the vet won’t always result in a trip to the bank.”


Top five claims for dogs and cats
1Tumours, growths, warts and cysts20%
2Musculoskeletal disorders19%
3Gastrointestinal disorders12%
5Skin disorders4%
2Gastrointestinal disorders14%
3Tumours, growths, warts and cysts11%
4Musculoskeletal disorders8%
5Mouth and oral disorders7%


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