Owning a cat or dog can be full of surprises. Our annual pet insurance claims data can help you stay prepared by showing examples of what you might expect from your furry friend – from the average cost of medical treatment to the most common illnesses you need to look out for.

However, it’s important to remember that the following data is general only and can’t accurately predict your pet’s individual risk of injury, needs and lifestyle. 

Pet Ownership in Australia

Australians love their pets. In fact, we love them more than any other country does – up to 61% of Australian households have an animal companion. The most common of these are dogs (40%) followed by cats (27%)1.

Unfortunately, many pet owners aren’t fully aware of the costs that can arise when caring for their pet. These may be routine care costs, costs due to injury or illness or even due to health problems that their pet may be predisposed to. These ailments can unfortunately lead to decreased quality of life for these animals if insufficient care is provided.

Although every pet’s individual needs will differ, the average cost of owning a dog can add up to $1,627 a year, while the average cost of owning a cat is around $962 a year1. These figures include things like food, grooming, accessories, and pet insurance.

In total, it’s estimated that Australia’s pet industry is now worth around $13 billion a year1. This means that on top of having the highest rate of pet ownership, we’re also among the highest spending nations when it comes to our furry friends.

1 https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/how-many-pets-are-there-in-australia/

Claims by pet types in 2018-19

 

Discover the average vet costs in Australia

The following data is based on claims made by common dog types (breeds and mixed breeds) which are insured with RSPCA Pet Insurance.

Please keep in mind this information is not based on weighted figures and does not indicate a particular dog type may be more prone to a particular injury or not. As we may insure more of a particular dog type this may be the reason, they have more of these claims.

Every dog’s individual needs and lifestyle will vary. In fact, getting to know your pet’s unique qualities can be one of the most exciting parts of your ownership experience.

Top 10 claims to treat arthritis by dog type

The following figures show the number of arthritis claims with RSPCA Pet Insurance by dog type (top 10). Keep in mind that canine arthritis usually increases with age but can also be caused by injuries, genetics, or other underlying conditions.

1. Labrador

449 cases

2. Maltese Cross

333 cases

3. Golden Retriever

321 cases

4. German Shepherd

252 cases

5. Kelpie Cross

248 cases

6. Border Collie

222 cases

7. Border Collie Cross

214 cases

8. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

172 cases

9. Staffordshire Bull Terrier Cross

136 cases

10. Labrador Retriever

127 cases

Top 10 claims to treat fleas, ticks or worms by dog type

Fleas, ticks and worms can affect dogs of all types depending on their lifestyle and environment. These figures show the number of claims to treat fleas, ticks and worms, through RSPCA Pet Insurance by dog type (top 10).

1. Maltese Cross

855 cases

2. Cavoodle

854 cases

3. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

452 cases

4. Labrador

401 cases

5. Golden Retriever

357 cases

6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

332 cases

7. German Shepherd

326 cases

8. French Bulldog

270 cases

9. Kelpie Cross

268 cases

10. Border Collie

259 cases

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Top 10 claims for heartworm treatment by dog type

This data shows the number of claims to treat the infection of heartworms by dog type (top 10).

1. Maltese Cross

855 cases

2. Cavoodle

854 cases

3. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

452 cases

4. Labrador

401 cases

5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

360 cases

6. Golden Retriever

342 cases

7. German Shepherd

326 cases

8. Kelpie Cross

306 cases

9. Spoodle

291 cases

10. Border Collie

259 cases

Top 10 claims to treat allergies by dog type

Canine allergies are usually an excessive immune response to dust, pollen, or other environmental elements. The following shows the number of claims made through RSPCA Pet Insurance for the treatment of allergies by dog type (top 10).

1. Maltese Cross

855 cases

2. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

312 cases

3. French Bulldog

230 cases

4. Cavoodle

206 cases

5. Labrador

145 cases

6. Pug

134 cases

7. American Staffordshire Terrier

125 cases

8. Staffordshire Bull Terrier Cross

117 cases

9. German Shepherd

105 cases

10. American Staffordshire Terrier Cross

94 cases

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Top 10 claims relating to desexing by dog type

This data shows the top 10 most claims relating to desexing their pet, broken down by dog type.

1. Cavoodle

276 cases

2. Maltese Cross

169 cases

3. French Bulldog

230 cases

4. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

111 cases

5. Labrador

145 cases

6. German Shepherd

97 cases

7. Border Collie

97 cases

8. Golden Retriever

89 cases

9. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

79 cases

10. American Staffordshire Terrier

74 cases

Top 10 claims to treat movement problems (lameness) by dog type

Below shows the number of claims made for movement problems, such as joint pain or limping by dog type (top 10).

1. German Shepherd

330 cases

2. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

294 cases

3. Labrador

287 cases

4. Maltese Cross

274 cases

5. Cavoodle

274 cases

6. Kelpie Cross

219 cases

7. Border Collie

193 cases

8. Staffordshire Bull Terrier Cross

183 cases

9. Golden Retriever

181 cases

10. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

146 cases

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Top 10 conditions with highest cost per claim

This data shows which conditions have the highest cost of treatment for dogs based on the 2018-2019 claims data from RSPCA Pet Insurance.
Note: This data only represents conditions with more than 100 cases/claims made and is based on the average price paid per visit.

1. Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome (Baos)

$16,926

2. Cruciate Disease

$15,582

3. Mast Cell Tumour

$8,184

4. Intervertebral Disc Extrusion/ Herniation/ Prolapse - Thoracic

$7,052

5. Patella Luxation

$6,970

6. Lymphoma - B-Cell

$6,844

7. Intervertebral Disc Disorder

$6,664

8. Fracture of Thoracic Limb - Radius and Ulna

$6,328

9. Foreign Body - Intestinal, Small

$5,938

10. Hyperadrenocorticism ("Cushing's")

$5,144

Top 10 most common reasons for dogs to visit the vet

These figures show the most common reasons for dogs to receive medical care, and the average price per treatment as per the RSPCA Pet Insurance claims data. Fortunately, most cases were for preventative purposes, which indicates that Australians are being proactive in maintaining their dogs’ health.

1. Vaccinations or Health Checks

$1,887 / 21,634 cases

2. Heartworm Control

$372 / 13,528 cases

3. Flea/Tick/Worm Control

$322 / 12,080 cases

4. Otitis Externa

$4,032 / 9,863 cases

5. Cruciate Disease

$15,582 / 8,459 cases

6. Gait Abnormality - Lameness - Presenting Complaint

$3,077 / 6,439 cases

7. Ear (Aural) Infection

$2,757 / 6,333 cases

8. Hypersensitivity (Allergic) Skin Disorder - Atopic Dermatitis

$4,649 / 6,227 cases

9. Arthritis

$2,021 / 5,887 cases

10. Dermatitis

$2,524 / 5,586 cases

Top 10 conditions by total spend

This data shows which medical conditions have been claimed for and cost dog owners the most money overall, based on the total amount spent on treatments. This is based on the number of claims made through RSPCA Pet Insurance over the 2018-2019 period.

1. Cruciate Disease

$3,381,344

2. Otitis Externa

$1,052,460

3. Hypersensitivity (Allergic) Skin Disorder - Atopic Dermatitis

$971,634

4. Patella Luxation

$947,902

5. Gait Abnormality - Lameness - Presenting Complaint

$904,776

6. Dietary Indiscretion - Foreign Body Ingestion - Presenting Complaint

$766,026

7. Vomiting - Other - Presenting Complaint

$740,428

8. Mass Lesion

$726,070

9. Gastroenteritis

$717,532

10. Ear (Aural) Infection

$689,157

The following data is based on the common cat types (breeds and mixed breeds) which are insured with RSPCA Pet Insurance. Please keep in mind that every cat’s individual needs and lifestyle will vary and that this data is not weighted on the percentage of the cat type that we may have insured
which may also be cause for the higher numbers in a particular breed.

Top 10 claims to treat movement problems (lameness) by cat type

This data shows the number of claims for movement problems, such as joint pain or limping by cat type (top 10). This is based on RSPCA Pet Insurance and the number of claims made between 2018-2019.

1. Domestic Short Hair

72 cases

2. Domestic Medium Hair

20 cases

3. Tabby

19 cases

4. Burmese

16 cases

5. Domestic House Cat

13 cases

6. British Short Hair

11 cases

7. Bengal

10 cases

8. Moggie

9 cases

9. Scottish Fold

8 cases

10. Siamese

7 cases

Top 10 claims to treat fleas, ticks or worms by cat type

Fleas, ticks and worms can affect cats of all kinds depending on their lifestyle and environment. These figures show the top 10 types of cats that have experienced a claim in 2018-2019-to treat fleas, ticks and worms, through RSPCA Pet Insurance.

1. Domestic Short Hair

364 cases

2. Tabby

127 cases

3. Ragdoll

102 cases

4. Domestic Medium Hair

102 cases

5. Domestic House Cat

99 cases

6. Burmese

67 cases

7. Domestic Short Hair Cross

54 cases

8. Domestic Long Hair

46 cases

9. British Short Hair

44 cases

10. Moggie

42 cases

Top 10 claims relating to snake bites by cat type

Snake bites among cats are usually common in warmer periods and areas with large amounts of grassland. However, some cats may be at a slightly higher risk than others due to their tendency to explore or approach wildlife, and where they live and their lifestyle. Below are the cat types that saw the highest number of claims through RSPCA Pet Insurance between 2018-2019.

1. Domestic Short Hair

72 cases

2. Russian Blue Cross

25 cases

3. Domestic House Cat

15 cases

4. Ragdoll Cross

12 cases

5. Moggie

9 cases

6. Ragdoll

7 cases

7. Domestic Long Hair

7 cases

8. Siamese

6 cases

9. Bengal

5 cases

10. Tabby

4 cases

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Top 10 claims for diet management by cat type

Cats are commonly placed on diets to control their weight or treat conditions such as diabetes or food sensitivity. These are the most common cat types (top 10) that had a claim for diet related issues through RSPCA Pet Insurance over the 2018-2019 period.

1. Domestic Short Hair

195 cases

2. Domestic Medium Hair

59 cases

3. Burmese

54 cases

4. Tabby

46 cases

5. British Short Hair

43 cases

6. Ragdoll

39 cases

7. Pixie-Bob

37 cases

8. Domestic House Cat

35 cases

9. Domestic Short Hair Cross

31 cases

10. Persian

26 cases

Top 10 claims to treat lacerations by cat type

Bites from other cats usually occur due to confrontations or, occasionally, rough playtime. This data shows the number of claims made by cat type (top 10) through RSPCA Pet Insurance due to lacerations caused by other cats.

1. Domestic Short Hair

123 cases

2. Tabby

67 cases

3. Domestic House Cat

38 cases

4. Domestic Short Hair Cross

26 cases

5. Domestic Medium Hair

26 cases

6. Burmese

20 cases

7. Ragdoll

16 cases

8. Moggie

14 cases

9. Domestic Long Hair

12 cases

10. Ragdoll Cross

11 cases

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Top 10 claims to treat vomiting by cat type

Vomiting in cats may occur due to gastric irritation or other underlying causes. The top 10 cat types that had a claim through RSPCA Pet Insurance to be treated for vomiting are listed below.

1. Domestic Short Hair

70 cases

2. Domestic Medium Hair

28 cases

3. Domestic House Cat

22 cases

4. Tabby

14 cases

5. Ragdoll

14 cases

6. Domestic Short Hair Cross

14 cases

7. Pixie-Bob

12 cases

8. Persian

12 cases

9. Burmese Cross

12 cases

10. Burmese

12 cases

Top 10 conditions by average cost of treatment

This data shows which conditions have the highest cost of treatment (top 10), based on 2018-2019 claims data from RSPCA Pet Insurance.
Note: This data only represents conditions with more than 100 cases/claims made and is based on the average price paid per visit.

1. Neoplasm Adrenal

$10,598

2. Lower Motor Neuron Disease

$10,106

3. Mass Lesion - Adrenal

$9,435

4. Lymphoma - Renal (Kidney)

$6,877

5. Urolithiasis - Urethral

$6,510

6. Ligament Rupture

$5,866

7. Peritonitis

$5,433

8. Foreign Body - Intestinal, Small

$5,087

9. Fracture of Pelvis

$4,823

10. Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (Epi)

$4,617

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Top 10 conditions by total spend

This data shows which medical conditions have been claimed for and have cost cat owners the most money overall, based on the total amount spent on treatments. This is based on the number of claims made through RSPCA Pet Insurance over the 2018-2019 period.

1. Vaccinations or Health Checks

$91,222

2. Vomiting - Other - Presenting Complaint

$84,144

3. Abscess - Cat Bite Abscess (Cba)

$81,776

4. Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (Flutd)

$77,193

5. Bite Injury - Cat Bite

$75,617

6. Snake Bite

$72,824

7. Renal (Kidney) Disorder

$57,852

8. Traumatic Injury

$53,976

9. Constipation

$50,029

10. Pancreatitis

$48,902