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5 scenarios where you may find pet insurance handy

Australia is home to millions of pets and yet for many of us, pet insurance is not always something we see as essential. However, pet insurance can give you peace of mind knowing that you’ll be able to cover eligible vet bills in the event of unexpected illness or injury for your beloved dog or cat.

Owning a companion animal involves a commitment of time and expense in the form of feeding, flea, worm and tick treatments, grooming, vaccinations, regular vet checkups, and more. Despite everything you can do to help your cat and dog live a safe and happy life, unpredictable things can happen - and whilst regular pet care is something you can somewhat predict, it’s when your pet becomes injured or suffers sudden illness that the costs can really climb. Thankfully, there are a range of pet insurance options to suit the needs of pet owners, allowing you to choose one that suits your budget and lifestyle.

Here are 5 scenarios where having pet insurance may be particularly useful:

Protecting against unexpected illness or injury

One of the key benefits of pet insurance is helping your pet when the unexpected happens. Things can go wrong at the most difficult of times – on weekends, when you have a pet sitter caring for your dog or cat, or just when you are really struggling to pay your household bills. At these times, pet insurance can be such a help.

An unexpected illness or injury could include fight wounds, abscesses, bee or wasp stings, snake bites, gastrointestinal disturbances or poisoning. In such cases, vet care is needed urgently. Luckily, RSPCA Pet Insurance could reimburse you for a portion of eligible vet bills at any registered vet in Australia.

1. Chronic conditions

Unfortunately, many pets will develop chronic conditions during their lives. Common examples include arthritis, skin problems, allergies, gastrointestinal issues and diabetes. The ongoing costs of assessment, treatment and monitoring of chronic conditions can become overwhelming for some pet families – regular vet checkups, tests (blood tests, imaging), prescription diets and medication are just some of the potential long-term expenses.

Depending on your premium, having pet insurance prior to your pet becoming ill may help you. With RSPCA Pet Insurance, you could be covered up to 80% of the costs.

2. Accidents and emergencies

Many pets suffer accidents and emergencies, for example, being hit by a car, suffering a burn or electrocution, snake bite, tick paralysis, broken bones or accidentally ingesting a poison. Any of these involve an emergency visit to the vet – this can be expensive, especially when a lengthy hospital stay with round-the-clock care is required. Always check your policy to make sure you are covered.

3. Breed-specific health issues

Unfortunately, certain breeds or types of dogs and cats may be predisposed to particular health conditions. For example, brachycephalic (short snouted, flat-faced) dogs and cats tend to be more likely than other breeds to suffer from certain health issues. If you are considering adopting a pet of a particular breed, it would be worthwhile researching if they may be prone to particular ailments, this should include a conversation with your vet, who can be a good source of information and advice.

4. Covering specialist and referral care

Just as in human medicine, there are specialist vets that general practice vets can refer your pets to. These vets often work at large specialist centres or universities. With RSPCA Pet Insurance, you are covered for eligible conditions at any registered vet in Australia, however always check your product disclosure statement or contact RSPCA Pet Insurance so you know exactly what your dog or cat is covered for.

5. Ear infections

Ear infections are commonly seen in dogs and cats and can cause a lot of distress to affected animals. Diagnosing the cause of infection is performed by a veterinarian and can involve examining the ear canal, checking ear swabs under the microscope, cleaning of the ear canal (perhaps under sedation or general anaesthetic).

Medication may be needed, such as antibiotics, ear drops and pain relief. With some animals, surgery may be needed, or referral to a vet specialist, such as a veterinary dermatologist.

The importance of having pet insurance

None of us can predict when an unexpected illness or injury may happen so pet insurance is something to consider organising well before your pet gets sick. Ideally, consider taking out pet insurance for puppies or kittens when you adopt them. Waiting limits may apply so the sooner you take out pet insurance, the sooner you’ll be covered for any mishap. Some exclusions may apply, so be sure to read the Policy Document to learn exactly what you’re covered for.

Some of the more common things you could be covered for include:

Urinary infection in cats

Urinary Tract Infections (commonly referred to as ‘UTI’) are quite commonly seen in cats. UTI’s can occur for a range of reasons but sometimes involve sediment or ‘crystals’ in the urine or ‘stones’. Any cat with signs of possible urinary tract infection (straining to urinate, dripping small amounts of urine, possibly with blood in, crying out in pain or seeming distressed when attempting to urinate) needs to be seen by a vet urgently.

Treatment can involve a lengthy hospital stay and may involve the following – placement of a urinary catheter to allow the bladder to drain, intravenous fluids, pain relief, antibiotics if infection is present, and blood testing, ultrasound or other tests.

Eye infections

Eye infections are painful conditions that require immediate vet care. If you are worried about your pet’s eyes, contact your vet and don’t try any home remedies as these can make things much worse. Consult your vet, who may refer you to a veterinary ophthalmologist.

Skin irritations

Skin irritations and allergies are frequently seen in vet practices in Australia. The sooner you see your vet the better as when skin irritation is left untreated, large areas of skin can become affected, causing hot spots, pain and infection. Skin conditions may be treated by a general practice vet or by referral to a specialist vet, such as a veterinary dermatologist.

If you are wondering ‘What does pet insurance cover?’ or ‘Should I get pet insurance?’ then ask yourself if having a financial safety net when your pet is ill or injured would help you and your family. If so, then consider contacting RSPCA Pet Insurance for a quote today.

A financial safety net

Animals fill our lives with joy but when they are unwell, it is a big worry, both emotionally and financially. For a financial safety net to help with vet bills, consider pet insurance. With RSPCA Pet Insurance, you can choose from a range of policies to best suit your needs.

Remember, pet insurance is something to consider organising before your pet gets sick or injured as pre-existing conditions may not be covered. Contact RSPCA Pet Insurance or fill out a simple form for an online quote to determine your level of cover. If you’re with RSPCA Pet Insurance, a portion of first-year premiums will go towards supporting the valuable work of the RSPCA.

Dr Catherine Tiplady bio image

Dr Catherine Tiplady

Dr Catherine Tiplady studied veterinary science at the University of Queensland. After graduation, Dr Catherine worked in veterinary practice whilst undertaking postgraduate research in Animal Welfare, gaining additional degrees in Bachelor of Applied Science (Animal Studies) (Hons 1) and a PhD. Dr Catherine has published widely in peer reviewed scientific journals and has also authored a book, ‘Animal Abuse: Helping Animals and People’. Currently working in small animal practice, Dr Catherine also has her own business performing gentle in-home pet euthanasia and provides veterinary care and desexing services for animal welfare charities. Dr Catherine brings her passion for animal welfare, love of writing and scientific training together to contribute quality content to RSPCA Pet Insurance’s Pet Care blog.