Analysis dives into comprehensive claims data spanning 18 years and more than 640 million claims
SEATTLE, Jan. 21, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Trupanion Inc. (TRUP), a leader in medical insurance for cats and dogs, revealed today top drivers of veterinary costs in cats and dogs. The findings take into account data from more than 640 million medical claims submitted to Trupanion.
Speaking at the 2019 VMX Veterinary Meeting & Expo in Orlando, Trupanion’s Chief Data & Operations Officer, TJ Houk, shared insights from the analysis of Trupanion’s comprehensive database of medical conditions impacting cats and dogs over the past 18 years.
“At Trupanion, we want to help pet owners budget for the unexpected veterinary expenses that arise when their pet becomes sick or injured,” Houk said. “This data shines a light on the conditions that pet owners need to know about, because they are both common and expensive.”
Top Drivers of Veterinary Cost in Dogs
Data indicates that the largest cost driver among puppies is vomiting and/or diarrhea. This remains a risk as dogs age, but it drops in rank as other conditions become more common.
“We naturally anticipate a young pet to suffer from vomiting or diarrhea, but the costs to treat these conditions can be more than one might expect,” Houk said.
The second greatest driver of veterinary care is foreign material ingestion, or dogs eating things they shouldn’t. Average treatment among canines for foreign body ingestion approximates $1,500.
Take the sweet little Maltese last year who found the unattended chicken wings at a Super Bowl party much more interesting than the game itself. “After eating them all – including the bones – they missed the halftime show and racked up a $460 veterinarian bill. Those ended up being some pretty expensive chicken wings,” Houk noted.
As dogs advance in age so do their health risks. In senior dogs, conditions such as benign and/or malignant masses become very common. The average cost of treating non-cancerous masses range from $300 - $600, while the cost of treatment for all masses can range from $600 - $1,000. The costs for treating malignant growths can be far greater.
Of the more than 80,000 cancer related claims received during the past five years, Trupanion has paid out over $34 million in claim reimbursements. The cost of most common cancers per year include Lymphoma ($5,800), Mast Cell Neoplasm ($2,400), Osteosarcoma ($4,550), Carcinoma ($4,200) and Adenocarcinoma ($4,950).
Other conditions such as arthritis also crop up as dogs age.
Not All Dogs Are Alike
According to the data, breed size is one of the greatest determinants of conditions likely to affect a dog.
For example, dental disease and dental extractions are far more common in small dogs (dogs under 20 pounds). “Armed with this knowledge, owners of small dogs can better budget for the anticipated expense of extractions and other dental treatment,” Houk said.
Although conditions relating to knees can be an issue for small and large dogs alike, Trupanion data indicates rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament as the number one driver of veterinary cost for large dogs (dogs 50-90 pounds), with treatment options ranging from $3,200-$4,200.
Top Drivers of Veterinary Cost in Cats
As with puppies, kittens get into things they shouldn’t, resulting in foreign material ingestion, which can be a significant cost driver in the early stages of a cat’s life. Unlike puppies, the average treatment for foreign body ingestion can trend significantly higher for cats – in the range of $1,500-$2,300.
Likewise, vomiting and/or diarrhea are commonly claimed conditions and can be a cost driver, but these claims drops in rank as other conditions become more common.
Not All Cats Are Alike
Although not all cats are alike, they do tend to experience more uniformity in conditions claimed across breeds and ages.
Conditions present in the early stages of a cat’s life will decline significantly as it ages. However, as with dogs, other health risks will evolve during the span of their life.
In adult cats, urinary-related illnesses crop up including UTIs and urinary obstructions. The average cost of treatment for a UTI can range from $200 - $400, while treating a urinary obstruction can cost as much as $2,800. Urinary issues continue into old age for cats, and as these numbers indicate, kidney disease becomes the top driver of veterinary costs.
Trupanion maintains the largest pet dedicated actuarial team in the world, consisting of seven actuaries, four analysts and two data scientists.
Trupanion is a leader in medical insurance for cats and dogs throughout the United States and Canada. For almost two decades, Trupanion has given pet owners peace of mind so they can focus on their pet's recovery, not financial stress. Trupanion is committed to providing pet owners with the highest value in pet medical insurance with unlimited payouts for the life of their pets. Trupanion is listed on NASDAQ under the symbol "TRUP". The company was founded in 2000 and is headquartered in Seattle, WA. Trupanion policies are issued, in the United States, by its wholly-owned insurance entity American Pet Insurance Company and, in Canada, by Omega General Insurance Company. For more information, please visit trupanion.com
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