The real cost of animal healthcare and why pet insurance is essential
The average pet hospital admission cost is R9 000 - do you have that kind of cash lying around? Most pet parents underestimate the real cost of looking after their pets. We dig into the real costs of pet healthcare and dive into the ways in which animal pet insurance can give pet owners everywhere better peace of mind when it comes to the healthcare bills of their precious pups and kittens.
So, why do you need animal medical insurance?
Acquiring a pet can be a big financial and emotional commitment, but most pet owners tend to underestimate how much it will really cost them to look after the health and wellness of their furry playmate.
Although individual bills might seem manageable at the time, if your beloved pet is involved in a sudden accident or contracts a serious illness, you may find that those large, unexpected costs start to rear their heads out of nowhere.
What are the real costs of pet healthcare?
To demonstrate the actual cost of pet healthcare, I thought I’d share a story about a fellow pet parent who experienced the financial burdens of pet healthcare care firsthand.
Just two weeks ago Brian was told that his best bud, Buster, had Hip dysplasia - a pretty common but serious deformity that can happen to any size or breed of dog. This painful condition drastically reduces a dog’s quality of life and requires a significant amount of medical attention to treat.
From the diagnosis onwards Brain spent hours taking Buster back and forth to the vet for regular monitoring and treatments. Each time he could feel the costs starting to stack up.
Not only did he have to pay for vet consultations, but he was also told that he would run up the following debts during the next few weeks of treatment:
- Physical exams including blood work, a radiograph or an X-ray.
- Anti-inflammatory medicine
- Total hip replacement surgery
- Hospitalization costs
- Physical therapy
- Joint supplements
All these procedures ended up costing Brian upwards of R10 000 in total, but some illnesses or accidents can even go up to R40 000 depending on the severity of the accident/illness and the necessary car. The initial consultation and diagnosis alone usually cost around R285, and medication could cost anything between R150 and R250. Pet hospitalisation also tends to be pretty pricey - adding up to a bill of around R2 000 to R4 000 for just a short stay.
The good news is that Brian had insurance with Oneplan Pet Insurance who covered all the costs of this unexpected illness. All he had to do was use the Oneplan app to load his claim and all his vet visits were paid for before he saw the vet. Oneplan also had Brian covered when it came to Buster’s in-hospital stays, as well as his surgical costs, blood work tests, x-rays and prescription medication.
The cost of routine care
When it comes to tallying up how much your pet will really cost you, it's important to remember that it's not only the large, unexpected costs that could derail your budget. Many pet owners tend to overlook the small costs such as regular routine and wellness care - which tends to really add up in the long run.
Here are just a few examples of the different routine care costs you could encounter throughout your pet’s lifetime:
- Monthly ticks and fleas prevention treatment will cost R80 to R100 for cats and R80 to R160 for dogs
- Annual vaccines can cost around R240 to R445
- Animals on chronic medication are required to have check-ups every six-months which can cost around R300 to R450 each time.
- Even healthy pets require an annual health check-up to ensure that they are fit and healthy, which can start at around R285 for a single visit
- During these check-ups, your vet will probably want to run some tests if they suspect your pet may have any issues or illnesses. The costs of these tests can range from R300 to R600 or more. X-rays for big dog breeds can cost between R1 500 and R2 000.
- Deworming every 3 months. The cost for cats to be dewormed is R40 and dogs cost between R20 and R80.
- Spay or neutering your cat can cost R650 for males and R1 100 to R1 200 for female cats. It costs about R1 200 to sterilise a male dog and R1 300 to R1 600 to sterilise a female dog.
So, as you can see these small costs can add up to a pretty large lump sum at the end of the day.
How affordable is animal health insurance really?
Research shows that pet owners are becoming increasingly concerned about the rising cost of veterinary care, and more and more pet owners are taking out animal health insurance in order to secure better peace of mind when it comes to handling the financial responsibility of pet care.
Most pet parents are often surprised by how affordable pet insurance can be. For example, pet parents across South Africa are able to insure their furry friends with Oneplan for just R60 pm with the Pet Hospital Plan.
Oneplan also provides affordable comprehensive cover with their Pet Classic and Pet Super Plan for just R299 and R430 per month, both of which include:
- Routine care cover
- An optional Routine Care Plus add-on (which can be used in conjunction with any other covered event available on your policy)
- An optional Excess Buster
- Cover for accidents, illness and emergency care
- Routine and wellness care
- Kennel fees
But Oneplan’s amazing pet care services don’t end there. Oneplan puts money in your pocket before you see the vet to help make the processes and procedures of pet insurance as easy as possible. All you have to do is log in, load your claim and the funds are transferred to your unique Onecard which you can then use to swipe at your vet’s rooms.
Why not sign up with an insurer who is committed to providing the best insurance for your loving pets today? Become a valuable member of the Oneplan family and get an instant quote to learn more about their special pet insurance deals.
*Please note that all prices are reflective of the date that this article was written. For up to date pricing, please follow this link
Until next time,
The Pet Insurance team