Common Pet Ailments Cost Owners Thousands |

Derin Clark

Derin Clark

Online Reporter
Published: 14/10/2020

Pet owners without pet insurance could find they have to pay thousands of pounds for common ailments, research from Scratch & Patch has found.

In a survey to find out the most expensive treatment for pets, Scratch & Pet found that acute gastroenteritis had the highest costs of £8,000 to treat. According to Scratch & Pet, acute gastroenteritis is a common pet ailment that can be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, medication or even new food. The second most expensive condition was road traffic incidents, which can cost £7,825, while the third most expensive was mast cell tumours, which cost £7,537 to treat. Something as simple as a limping can cost pet owners £7,434.

With common pet ailments costing thousands of pounds to treat, investing in a good pet insurance policy can help protect pet owners from having to pay eye-wateringly high vet bills. As Ian Rauland, managing director at Scratch & Patch, explained: “The industry has a responsibility to educate consumers on the cost of treatment so people can make informed decisions.

“Our survey showed a lack of knowledge on what treatment might cost. The average cost of treating Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS), a condition very common in flat-nosed dogs, for example is £1,686, almost twice what our pet-owner respondents thought it would be (£889). And as our research shows, our highest claim costs for this condition are more than £7,000.

“The hard truth is there is no free healthcare system for animals, and no one wants to have to consider the life and death of their loved pet because of money.”

Can you get pet insurance if your pet has an existing condition?

Owners of pets with existing conditions are able to get pet insurance, or change from their existing policy to a new pet insurer. Saying this, it is harder to find pet insurance if a pet has an existing condition and the premium for the policy may be higher. Owners of pets with existing conditions should research carefully the policies on offer to ensure that their pet will be fully covered before making a switch or taking out a new insurance policy.

Rauland added: “Until recently if you made a claim to treat a pet’s condition, you would be forced to stick with an existing provider regardless of premium hikes or have that condition excluded from another policy. Scratch & Patch now uses medical risk rating technology similar to the systems used in travel insurance which means you can buy cover for pets’ pre-existing medical conditions.”

A list of pet insurers who have been rated five or four stars by the Moneyfacts team of experts can be found on our pet insurance page.


Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.

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