Animal Welfare

More pets headed to vets in lockdown

Data shows pet parents increased routine vet visits and elective procedures in the height of lockdown

Claims data shows no increase in respiratory illnesses amongst pets

Pet owners are using the lockdown to focus on the health of their cats and dogs, ensuring routine vet visits are up to date, chronic conditions are monitored, and elective procedures are taking place according to claims data from PetSure, Australia’s largest pet insurance underwriter.

With veterinary surgeries remaining open during the lockdown, PetSure has recorded an increase in the number of claims paid out for vet procedures, reflecting the higher number of vet visits taking place. PetSure is the largest insurer of cats and dogs in Australia. Compared with April 2019, claims volumes in April this year were 16% higher. PetSure paid $17.3 million in benefit reimbursements to customers in April 2020 alone, an increase of 34% from the same time last year.

PetSure CEO, Alexandra Thomas commented, “Anecdotally we know that pets have done well in lockdown thanks to Australians staying home. Now our claims data shows that in the form of increased claims and vet visits: owners were more likely to visit the vet.”

Ms Thomas said, “Pet owners have taken care of chronic health issues, attended to pet wellbeing and acted swiftly on acute issues. Evidence of this is the increase in treatment, claims and pet insurance payments for medical and surgical procedures. One upside of working from home may well be that pet owners are able to care for their pet in their recovery so have opted to act on health issues rather than delay them.”

Claims data from PetSure also found there has been no increase in respiratory claims since the pandemic was declared, and no cases of reported COVID-related illnesses.  The latest data found that respiratory claims represented 0.2% of claims in dogs and approximately 0.05% of claims in cats.  Compared with this time last year, overall there has been a slight decrease in the total number of claims relating to respiratory infections in dogs and cats.

Ms Thomas added, “We have been monitoring diagnoses relating to respiratory infections such as pneumonia, coughing and fever in both dogs and cats. These conditions have actually decreased slightly.”

According to the claims data the ratio of treatment across standard, specialist and emergency clinics remained consistent during the COVID-19 lockdown. Standard vet practices account for 87% of claims, followed by treatment at specialist referral clinics (11% of claims) and emergency clinic treatment (2% of claims).

Ms Thomas concluded, “During a stressful time for many Australians, one silver lining is that pet owners have had more time with their pets, been able to get them to the vet in increasing numbers and use their pet insurance to help pay for vet treatment.

Toby is a 5 year old Schnoodle Toby, who started vomiting blood at home recently.

His owner Mark Hatherley commented “It was so fortunate that I’ve been working at home in recent weeks as Toby became sick very quickly.”

“I didn’t hesitate to call Vets On Crown in Surry Hills given the extra safety measures they’re taking, who said to bring him in straight away. After some blood tests which confirmed he had pancreatitis and a few hours receiving fluids, I was thankful to be able to bring him home after he received five-star treatment.”

“Being insured provided me with peace of mind for the whole experience. Toby has bounced back quickly, and has already resumed his official position as my little work helper.”