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The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that dog owners will spend an average of $479 on vet bills this year. Compare this with $132 back in 1991. Veterinary Medicine’s huge advances haven’t come cheap.

Vet bills can easily top $1000 in a matter of hours for accidents and injuries. Total medical expenses in excess of $5000 aren’t that unusual, either.

Sadly, a recent survey for Hartz Mountain Corp. showed that almost half of all pet owners would consider euthanizing (putting to sleep) their pet if the cost of pet health care became a hardship.

In a 1992 interview in Better Homes & Gardens Magazine, one pet owner shared her story..

“When my five-year-old Labrador retriever Toby developed a lump, the veterinarian estimated the cost for surgery, boarding, and follow-up care at $340. But then we learned he had cancer. We were devastated at the prospect of Toby’s suffering and dying. We also faced the uncomfortable decision about how much to spend to keep Toby alive. “

“I wish that we had covered Toby before he developed cancer. The total bill for his two surgeries, examinations by specialists, and diagnostic procedures came to $1,031.”

Here is how she would have fared, had she been insured with the two most viable pet insurance plans at the time (1992):

Medipet* Plan A would have reimbursed me about $687. The plan costs $99 a year. After a $50 deductible, the plan pays 70 percent of the remaining bill up to a $1,000 limit per injury or illness. Medipet Plan B ($42 a year, $250 deductible, 70 percent up to $2,500) would have returned about $547. Medipet is offered in every state except Tennessee, plus Washington, D.C., and Canada. Policies cover only injuries for pets 10 years or older.


Veterinary Pet Insurance Company‘s Plan 20 would have returned about $600 for an annual premium of $99 covering an animal 5 to 8 years old. That plan has a $20 deductible, sets reimbursement limits on specific procedures, and pays a maximum of $1,000 per incident or $5,000 per policy year. For $134 a year and a $40 deductible, VPI’s Gold Plan would have sent me $779. The policy allows claims up to $2,000 per incident or $7,500 per year, and also sets reimbursement limits on specific procedures. **


*Medipet is no longer in business. For a list of the most viable pet health insurance companies, please click to some of our sponsors at the top of this page.

** doesn’t represent these figures to be timely. The premiums and veterinary costs vary widely depending upon actuarial tables which are calculated periodically. For the most current information regarding veterinary insurance premiums, please contact one of the insurance companies listed above.

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