Tummy troubles top the list of common pet problems

January 29, 2019
dvm360 Staff
dvm360, dvm360 March 2019, Volume 50, Issue 3

Embrace Pet Insurance assembles the top five veterinary claims of 2018, with GI issues topping the charts for both dogs and cats.

Last year, gastrointestinal issues brought more pet owners into the veterinarian's office than any other ailment, according to Embrace Pet Insurance. The company combed through the more than 200,000 claims filed during the year to assemble the top five diagnoses of 2018 for both dogs and cats, along with the average costs to treat them.

For dogs, here are the most common medical conditions from last year:

With clinical signs including vomiting, diarrhea, not eating or drinking, drooling or foaming at the mouth, visits for gastrointestinal issues were likely to cost $790.

Dogs with allergies exhibited itching and scabbing, watery eyes, sneezing, paw chewing, licking, vomiting or diarrhea, and racked up $390.

Ear infections, indicated by scratching or rubbing ears, ears hot to the touch, discharge or odor, redness, swelling, hair loss or loss of balance, cost $290.

Dogs experiencing lameness exhibited an inability to properly use one or more limbs, and claims averaged $620.

Cranial cruciate ligament tears were the costliest common canine condition at $4,160, and include signs such as whimpering, limping, swelling, stiffness, difficulty getting up and more.

The top five feline medical conditions were costlier:

Cats also suffered from gastrointestinal issues, with an average cost of $900 for care.

Diabetes mellitus is associated with a host of signs including excessive urination, constant thirst, poor appetite, weight loss and more, and cost $1,150.

When brought in for hyperthyroidism, cats racked up $980.

Signs of urinary tract infections include abnormal or frequent urination, constant licking, lethargy, excessive thirst or vomiting, and treating the condition averaged $370.

In younger cats, lymphoma exhibits commonly as growth of masses in the chest, while for older cats, intestinal tumors leading to weight loss, diarrhea and vomiting are more common. Claims for lymphoma averaged $2,520.

“Typically, it's more difficult to detect an illness or injury in cats because they're so good at hiding pain,” Jenna Mahan, director of claims at Embrace, explains in a release from the company. “It may take their owner days or weeks to notice when something is wrong, which delays treatment and ultimately leads to a higher vet bill.”

Embrace also looked at claims by pet name, and found that in 2018, cats named Chloe collectively submitted more than $43,700, while dogs called Bella won the dog category in a landslide with $637,224 in claims to their name, collectively.

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