Vet bill warning issued to pet owners over insurance mistakes

Experts found around 80% of vet practices aren’t listing prices online which can often spark confusion and lead to distrust around vet bills. <i>(Image: Getty Images)</i>
Experts found around 80% of vet practices aren’t listing prices online which can often spark confusion and lead to distrust around vet bills. (Image: Getty Images)

Pet owners have been warned that they might be making insurance mistakes that could lead to costly vet bills.

A recent investigation from the Competition and Markets Authority revealed that owners in the UK may be significantly overpaying for vet surgeries on their pets.

On top of this, the experts found around 80% of vet practices aren’t listing prices online which can often spark confusion and lead to distrust around vet bills.

The warning comes as new research breaks down the increase owners could pay for some of the most common pet surgeries compared to their yearly insurance premium prices.

Petsure discovered that one of their most common claims costs pet owners around 10 times more than the average yearly insurance payment.

Owners of curious pups particularly the likes of Labrador Retrievers, Boxers and Beagles will be paying up to ten times as much on this foreign body removal surgery than they would on the average annual insurance premium.

Meanwhile, hip surgery can cost around 22 times higher than the average yearly premium cost for breeds.

This could be particularly costly for those who own the breeds that commonly suffer from Hip dysplasia like Labradors, Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds.

Allie Simpson, Content Manager, at Petsure commented: "Having pet insurance can give you confidence that you’re prepared for unexpected vet bills. Especially when surgeries and treatment for common conditions can cost hundreds, if not thousands of pounds.

“You could be faced with large vet bills if your pet develops a chronic illness or has several accidents close together. Making sure your pet pals are covered with insurance means you can focus your energy on helping them get better.

“Doing your homework can help you decide how much vet fee cover you’d like for your pet. Thoroughly research their breed to learn what conditions they could inherit. You can also contact your local vet to check their treatment prices.

“Petsure only offers lifetime pet insurance because we believe it’s the most comprehensive cover for pets. We consider all pre-existing conditions and don’t make excesses compulsory, even as your pet ages."

How much do vet bills cost without insurance?

Delving deeper into the issue, the experts at Petsure have crunched the numbers and found five of the most common pet surgeries.

Foreign body removal

One of Petsure’s most common claims is foreign body removal. This often happens when a pet needs surgery to remove something that can’t be digested, such as bottle caps.

While all dogs love to explore with their mouths, certain breeds can be more prone to eating something they shouldn’t.

Examples include Beagles, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Boxers, and Dachshunds.

Foreign body removal surgery can cost around 10 times more than the average yearly insurance payment for this group of five dog breeds.

BOAS surgery

Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) surgery is a common operation for flat-faced pets.

Signs that your pet might need BOAS surgery include excessive snoring, snorting, and difficulty breathing when exercising.

Shih Tzus, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Boxers, and Persian cats are some of the flat-faced pets who may one day need BOAS surgery.

The vet bill can be around 12 times more expensive than the average yearly insurance cost for this group of breeds.

Hip surgery

Hip dysplasia can be recognised by symptoms such as limping and lameness in the hind legs. Although the condition can be managed with medication and therapy, more severe cases may need surgery.

Labradors, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Rottweilers are some of the dog breeds that may face hip problems at some point in their lives.

The price for a hip replacement can be around 22 times more than the average yearly insurance premiums for this group of four dogs.

Cataract surgery

Eye condition procedures are also one of Petsure’s top claimed conditions.

Among these is cataract surgery, a common treatment for older dogs and cats whose eyesight has naturally worsened.

Some breeds such as Golden Retriever, Miniature Schnauzer, West Highland White Terriers, and British Shorthair cats, may also be at risk of inheriting the condition.

Cataract surgery could cost around 22 times more than the average yearly insurance premiums for the above-listed group of breeds.

Fracture repair

Repairing a fractured bone is another common surgery, especially among puppies and older dogs.

Toy dog breeds may be more vulnerable to fractures due to their small limbs.

Cats can also be at risk of this condition thanks to their love of jumping from high heights.

All cat breeds can be prone to fractures, while Toy Poodles, Dachshunds, and Shih Tzus are some of the top susceptible dog breeds.


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Petsure found that fracture repair surgery can cost around 16 times more than the average yearly insurance cost for this group of breeds.

Pet parents should note that surgery and treatment costs vary depending on things like location, breed, and severity of the condition.

Your vet will confirm pricing after a consultation on your pet’s individual medical circumstances. The above prices should be used as a guide only.