The true cost of veterinary treatment is revealed

  • On average the ten most frequent dog related claims cost more than £500 to treat
  • Tumours, musculoskeletal and gastro-intestinal disorders are the three most common ailments affecting dogs
  • Neurology and nervous system disorders are typically the most expensive vet fee claims

New claims data1 from Direct Line Pet Insurance highlights the steep cost of owning a dog, with the most common claims for ill animals requiring treatment costing over £500 on average.

The most common claimed-for condition are tumours, growths, warts and cysts, which cost an average £687.15 to treat. Musculoskeletal disorders, which include conditions such as sprains, arthritis and conditions associated with abnormal joint development such as hip dysplasia, are some of the most expensive to treat (£1,233). Other commonly claimed for conditions include gastro-intestinal disorders such as gastroenteritis (vomiting, diarrhoea), pancreatitis (£722.27). Injuries including wounds, cuts and lacerations cost on average (£546.90).

The top ten most common claims seen by Direct Line in 2015 settled for between £500 and £1,125 on average, with neurology and nervous system disorders being the most expensive illness (£1,124.96) to treat. The ‘cheapest’ of the most common illnesses, skin disorders, costs an average £517.09 to treat.

Regardless of the condition a dog may develop, this new claims data unearths the potential costs that could mount up for dog owners. Having to make a decision about compromising on the level of treatment available or putting a pet down because owners couldn’t afford the medical treatment is something that no-one would want to do.

Top 10 most common claims in 2015

Rank Type of condition Average amount claim settles for
1 Tumours/growths/warts/cysts £687.15
2 Musculoskeletal disorders – for example strains and sprains, arthritis, conditions associated with abnormal joint development such as hip dysplasia £1,233
3 Gastro-intestinal disorders - for example gastroenteritis (vomiting, diarrhoea), pancreatitis, parasite infections £722.27
4 Wounds – for example cuts, grazes, and puncture wounds £546.90
5 Poisoning/physical disorders – for example toxic ingestion, chocolate, grapes, bones etc £721.40
6 Skin disorders – for example dermatitis, pyoderma, hot spots £517.09
7 Eye disorders – for example conjunctivitis, eye infections, corneal ulcers £750.40
8 Urinary system disorders – for example cystitis, bladder stones, kidney problems £645.84
9 Respiratory system disorders - for example respiratory infections, breathing difficulties £916.84
10 Neurology/nervous system disorders – for example epileptic seizures, spinal conditions such as disc prolapse £1,124.96

Source: Direct Line Pet Insurance 2016

In the worst case scenario, owners with sick dogs could end up paying thousands of pounds for treatment. This is not surprising when you consider technological advancements in veterinary care such as bionic limbs. Direct Line’s most expensive vet fee claim in 2015 was a musculoskeletal case.

Top 10 most expensive individual vet fee claims in 2015

Rank Type of condition
1 Musculoskeletal disorder
2 Ear disorder
3 Tumour/growth/wart/cyst
4 Musculoskeletal disorder
5 Poisoning/physical disorder
6 Neurology/nervous system disorder
7 Poisoning/physical disorder
8 Tumour/growth/wart/cyst
9 Ear disorder
10 Hernia

Source: Direct Line Pet Insurance 2016

Prit Powar, head of Pet Insurance at Direct Line said: “Recent technological and medical advancements mean that there are many more treatment options available when our pets get sick. It’s obvious we all care about our pets and value them as members of the family. However, all dogs are at risk of being injured or falling ill, so it is essential to have insurance cover to make sure you can treat your pet without breaking the bank.”

Notes to editors

  1. Based on internal claims data from Direct Line Group

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0345 300 7838 or visiting

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