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The Most Common Pet Health Issues and How Much They'll Cost You

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 Care for your pet with insurance
Sarah Pritzker
Sarah Pritzker
Apr. 16, 20233 min read
Having a pet is a huge commitment, and part of that commitment is a promise to always take care of your pet no matter what comes up. That means: regular health and wellness visits, grooming, dental hygiene, diseases that come from aging, and medical emergencies that come from living an active life.

All these expenses add up, and if you don’t have pet insurance, they can add up really fast. You might not mind paying out of pocket each time you need to visit the vet, have a procedure done, run into an emergency, or require medical treatment for your four-legged friend—sometimes it’s infrequent or inexpensive. However, check out a few of the expenses you can expect to pay when you own a pet and visit your local vet even occasionally.

Once you know what the costs will be, you can decide if pet insurance is for your best friend.

Check out leading pet insurers below: 

  • Low-cost full coverage
  • 90% reimbursement
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  • Customizable plans
  • 70% - 90% reimbursement
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  • Annual deductible
  • 90% reimbursement
Get Quote

Common Health Problems for Dogs

Everyone loves dogs. They’re friendly, fun, and fanciful. They love you endlessly, and they make no airs about expressing that love. Taking care of a dog means bringing them outdoors for regular walks, feeding them twice daily, and ensuring they get a healthy dose of affection each day. Additionally, some of the most common ailments that will land you and your pup at the vet’s office include:

  • Ear Infections $400

Doggie ear infections are frequently caused by too much hair or moisture in the air. These can also be caused by foreign bacteria entering the ears while dogs are outside playing in the dirt, etc. Treatment is non-invasive but can get costly.

  • Worms: Prevention is around $180, treatment starts at $400

Once a dog has worms, it can be tricky to get rid of simply because there are so many different types. Stool samples need to be examined, and the general over-the-counter prescriptions won’t cure a dog against all worms.

  • Fleas and "hot spots": $150-$500

Fleas are annoying pests that can disturb your dog’s equilibrium considerably. They are also dangerous for children, so fleas should be treated quickly or prevented by use of preventative medications, creams, drops, or serums. Hotspots are any form of skin irritation such as allergic reaction, bug bite, and skin disease caused by boredom or stress.

  • Dental diseases: $400-$10,000

Rated the number one most frequent disease found among dogs and cats, periodontal diseases are so easily prevented with the right routine treatment. If you care for your dogs’ teeth from the beginning, thinks likely won’t escalate to more severe conditions.

  • Arthritis and other knee ligament problems: $3,500

Joint injuries and the like can affect many different breeds of dog, and it can debilitate an animal. Surgeries can be expensive, as well, and are often needed, depending on the breed of dog and severity of the case.

  • Cancer: $2,000+

Cancer is not generally associated with dogs in our minds, but our pets are just as susceptible as humans are. Treatments like chemotherapy or radiation can be administered to animals as well, but treatments get more expensive and less effective as time goes on, so early intervention is vital.

Vaccines average around $70 per shot. If you want to neuter or spay your dog, which can help with prevention of some cancers, it'll cost approximately $200, as well. How much each item costs will vary based on the actual procedures needed, the size, age, and breed of your dog, and the area in which you live.

Common Health Problems for Cats

Cats are a pet of a different design entirely. Not the effervescent lovers dogs tend to be, cats are more reserved with their affections (though, to the right person, no less tangible). These pets are regal beauties that mesmerize onlookers and soothe their owners into believing that these animals are flawless and untouchable. When sickness strikes though, cats are just as susceptible as the next pet, and here are a few of the most frequent complaints:

  • Urinary Tract Infections (FLUTD): $600

Urinary tract infections are just one type of urological issue that cats can experience. Others include bladder stones, bacterial infections, and more chronic kidney failure and diseases.

  • Fleas: $30-$60 per month

Fleas can really bug your pets, but more seriously they can cause skin irritations that can become infected due to continuous scratching. Oral treatments are the most effective for cats.

  • Worms: Prevention only costs around $20 per month

This is even more important for cats than it is for dogs since there isn’t any real good solution for cat heartworm treatments to date.

  • Eye problems: Exams start at $165 and go up from there

Eye problems are common among older cats and can lead to other issues in turn.

  • Kidney failure and intestinal issues: $900+

Kidney disease is the fourth most common ailment for cats. If untreated, it can prove fatal, so early treatment is important.

  • Vomiting: $350

The normal hairball is one thing, but if your cat is vomiting profusely, it could be a sign of food poisoning or blocked digestive or respiratory channels.

Cat vaccines vary in price from around $50 up to $100. You can neuter a cat for around $50, but a spay job will cost $75.

Common Health Problems for Other Pets

Cats and dogs are some of the most common pets by far, but there are plenty of other animals in the world, and they require veterinary services as well. For example:

  • Respiratory problems in birds

Birds are notorious for sustaining respiratory problems and needing care for this ailment. Some of the most common complaints include Aspergillosis, a fungal infection of the airways and respiratory tract. Anti-fungal medication will be prescribed for birds suffering from this possibly life-threatening disease.

  • Wet tail in hamsters

Wet tail is a deadly disease for hamsters and is actually caused by stress. Treatment must be started immediately to prevent a fatality. Take your hamster to the vet immediately, provide antibiotics, and minimize stressors in his life.

  • Gastrointestinal problems in rabbits

Bunnies thrive on fiber, but unfortunately, many pet owners load them up with heavy carbohydrate and fat-laden diets. These are recipes for disaster and some of the biggest causes of gastrointestinal stasis in rabbits. This can require a physical exam, x-rays, blood tests, hospitalization, IV treatment, and antibiotics.

How do they compare?

1. PetsBest

Pets Best allows you to customize your coverage, so you only pay for what you need. Its plans cover both congenital and hereditary conditions, and it doesn’t require you to use its care providers—you can take your pet to any licensed veterinarian, specialist, or clinic.

  • Unlimited plans available
  • 24/7 pet helpline
  • Vague coverage exclusions
  • Wellness treatments not included

Pets Best Pets Best View Quotes

2. Spot

Spot Pet Insurance is a pet insurance agency serving cats and dogs throughout the U.S. All plans are customizable, allowing ‘pet parents’ to select the right level of coverage to fit their needs and budget.

  • Preventive care add-on
  • Microchip implantation included
  • No exotic pets

Spot Pet Insurance Spot Pet Insurance View Quotes


ASPCA Pet Health Insurance Program offers Complete Coverage℠ including nearly any health concern you may have for your furry friends. Take care of your pets and receive up to 90% back with customizable coverage.

  • Exam fees covered
  • Visit any vet or specialist
  • Annual limits apply

ASPCA Pet Health Insurance ASPCA Pet Health Insurance View Quotes

How to Afford Pet Care

There’s no doubt that you want to give your loved ones the best care possible, and that includes your furry friends. Pet care can be an expensive endeavor if you aren’t prepared. Before you write off having pets altogether when there’s an expensive treatment needed that you can’t afford, or setting aside savings for a just-in-case major expense, there’s an easier solution.

Pet insurance helps owners alleviate the high costs of pet care, making this pricey requirement more affordable for everyone.

While you may not have heard of this before, pet insurance is a major industry, especially in America. There are many options out there, so pet owners aren't limited to a few rogue organizations.

What's more, insurance policies vary in what they cover, how much you'll pay each month, how much they'll take as a deductible, and what types of pets they'll insure. For example, depending on the service you use, pet insurance can cover pre-existing conditions (or not), medical emergencies, hereditary or congenital diseases, alternative therapies, hospitalization, surgery, and more, for as low as $1 per day.


A good way to find the appropriate pet insurance provider for you is to read online reviews, compare features, and focus in on the type of insurance you're most likely to need. There's plenty of competition out there, so don't pay more for insurance just because it's the first policy you see. Don't nix the love and enjoyment you get from owning a pet, just get smart with comprehensive pet insurance instead.

Ready to choose? Check out top pet insurers here.

Sarah Pritzker
Written bySarah Pritzker

Sarah Pritzker is a content writer with years of experience and a keen interest in the vast world of online consumer products. She writes for BestMoney and enjoys helping readers make sense of the options on the market.‎

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