Dermatitis, otitis externa among top pet insurance claims

Nationwide members filed more than 1.43 million claims for treatment of its top 10 medical conditions

Skin, dental, and stomach ailments are among last year’s most commonly claimed pet medical conditions, Nationwide reports.Skin, dental, and stomach ailments are among last year’s most commonly claimed pet medical conditions, Nationwide reports.

Using its database of over 1.2 million pets, the insurance group has analyzed the more than 1.43 million claims it received last year for treatment related to medical conditions impacting dogs and cats.

For the 11th year in row, skin allergies were the most common health issue affecting dogs, with more than 373,000 individual claims received (up from 335,000 in 2021). Meanwhile, for cats, chronic kidney disease was the most common medical condition, receiving more than 18,400 individual claims.

“When we talk about protecting pets from the unexpected, many families might envision things like traumatic injuries, poisoning, or foreign body ingestion,” says Nationwide’s vice president of pet health and chief veterinary officer, Jules Benson, BVSc, MRCVS. “While these are definitely situations where it’s beneficial to have pet health insurance, our data actually shows the majority of claims come from extremely common conditions.”

The top medical conditions prompting veterinary visits for dogs and cats last year (according to Nationwide) are as follows:

For dogs:

  1. Atopic or allergic dermatitis
  2. Otitis externa
  3. Enteropathy
  4. Gastropathy
  5. Pyoderma
  6. Anal gland sacculitis
  7. Arthritis
  8. Benign skin neoplasia
  9. Cystitis
  10. Dental disease (tooth infection, cavity, abscess)

For cats:

  1. Chronic kidney disease
  2. Cystitis
  3. Gastropathy
  4. Enteropathy
  5. Hyperthyroid disease
  6. Dental disease (tooth infection, cavity, abscess)
  7. Diabetes mellitus
  8. Atopic or allergic dermatitis
  9. Upper respiratory infection
  10. Otitis externa

“Year over year, we see that ear infections, urinary and gastrointestinal disease, and skin allergies account for huge portions of the claims Nationwide receives for cats and dogs,” Dr. Benson says. “And, as clinicians know, all are conditions that can start out small but become serious, even chronic, if left untreated. Having a pet protection solution in place can make a big difference in whether pet parents seek veterinary care early, and then in what diagnostics and treatments are viable for them.”

For a single dog, the highest cost with a skin allergy diagnosis came in at $9,480 from a dog in New York which has multiple chronic conditions. For cats, the highest cost for any of the top 10 conditions came in at more than $19,821 for a cat from Georgia which suffered a severe diabetic episode (the cat is now receiving insulin to manage the condition and is doing well at home).

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