Top 10 Pet Medical Conditions of 2010

Nation’s Largest Pet Insurer Reveals Most Common Causes of Veterinary Visits

Brea, Calif. (February 22, 2011) – Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI) policyholders spent nearly $43 million in 2010 treating the 10 most common medical conditions afflicting their pets. VPI, the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, recently sorted its database of more than 485,000 insured pets to determine the top 10 pet medical conditions from the previous year. Dogs, cats, and for the first time, exotic pets such as snakes, gerbils, and birds were included in the analysis. Below are the results:

Dogs Cats Exotics
1. Ear Infection 1. Lower Urinary Tract Disease 1. Bowel obstruction
2. Skin Allergy 2. Gastritis/Vomiting 2. Gastritis/Vomiting
3. Skin Infection/Hot Spots 3. Chronic Renal Failure 3. Bladder Infection
4. Gastritis/Vomiting 4. Hyperthyroidism 4. Upper Respiratory Infection
5. Enteritis/Diarrhea 5. Diabetes 5. Eye Infection
6. Arthritis 6. Enteritis/Diarrhea 6. Cancerous Tumor Requiring Surgery
7. Bladder Infection 7. Skin Allergy 7. Arthritis
8. Soft Tissue Trauma 8. Periodontitis/Dental Disease 8. Skin Inflammation
9. Non-cancerous Tumor 9. Ear Infection 9. Skin Abscess or Pressure Ulcer
10. Hypothyroidism 10. Upper Respiratory Infection 10. Inflammation of Hair Follicles

“Even the healthiest pet may eat something resulting in an upset stomach or have itchy ears potentially indicating an undiagnosed ear infection, said Dr. Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “Having a pet insurance plan in place can be just as important for these kind of unexpected medical conditions as it is for emergencies and chronic illnesses.”

In 2010 VPI received 61,555 canine claims for ear infections – with an average claim fee of $95 per office visit. For cats, VPI received 3,315 medical claims for lower urinary tract disease. Lower urinary tract disease cost cat owners an average of $247 per office visit. The most common exotic pet condition, bowel obstructions, only produced 293 claims but cost policyholders an average claim amount of $250.

Pet owners should familiarize themselves with their pets’ daily routine in order to identify abnormal behaviors that might indicate an injury or illness. In addition, regular semiannual physical examinations by a veterinarian can help prevent and identify certain conditions before they become serious or costly.

About Veterinary Pet Insurance

With more than 485,000 pets insured nationwide, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co./DVM Insurance Agency is the No. 1 veterinarian-recommended pet health insurance company and is a member of the Nationwide Insurance family of companies. Providing pet owners with peace of mind since 1982, the company is committed to being the trusted choice of America’s pet lovers and an advocate of pet health education.

VPI Pet Insurance plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Optional Pet CareGuard® for routine care is also available.

Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. More than 2,000 companies nationwide offer VPI Pet Insurance as an employee benefit. Policies are underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and in all other states by National Casualty Company, an A+15 rated company in Madison, Wisconsin. Pet owners can find VPI Pet Insurance on Facebook or follow @VPI on Twitter. For more information about VPI Pet Insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit

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Brea, CA 92822-2344