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does pet insurance cover surgery?

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dog undergoing surgery | pet insurance and surgery costs
Posted by Jennifer Maniet, DVM on Oct 10 2019

Preparing your pet for surgery may feel overwhelming and scary. Whether you know ahead of time or a sudden turn of events mandates it, the cost of surgery can be difficult to afford. Here, we guide you through the ins and outs of pet surgery, including estimated costs and how the right pet health insurance can help.

Surgery is a valuable tool to help sick pets

When necessary, non-invasive methods are not an option, veterinarians will rely on surgery to treat and even cure medical illnesses and injuries. Specialty care by board-certified surgeons is also available to treat numerous pet ailments including cancer.

Surgery is not only a treatment, but it can also be used as a diagnostic test. For instance, your veterinarian may deem surgery necessary to learn the cause and best treatment for a growth.

Costs of common surgeries in dogs and cats

Comprehensive pet insurance covers surgery costs

The cost of surgery is expensive, because the procedures are sophisticated, time-consuming, require extensive veterinary expertise and training and necessitate careful monitoring by veterinary nursing staff. Of course, the total cost varies depending on the type of surgery recommended, the hospital you visit and the extent of care required.

Below is a breakdown of what you might see on a surgery invoice. Your chosen pet insurance policy may include coverage for these services, but it’s best to check with your provider to be sure.

Common veterinary costs

What types of surgery are not covered by pet insurance?

There are some surgeries that may not be covered by certain pet insurance policies. Pet insurance providers will not cover surgical treatment for any pre-existing conditions. Elective surgery may also not be covered, which includes spaying, neutering and the removal of dewclaws. Another common example is prophylactic gastropexy, which prevents the chance of gastric dilatation and volvulus (bloat) for high-risk breeds such as German Shepherds, Great Danes and Rottweilers.

Even though these types of surgeries are typically not covered, some pet insurance policies may cover any associated complications as long as they did not occur prior to the effective date of your pet’s policy or during the waiting periods. If your pet is already enrolled in an insurance policy and you are still wondering what is covered, you may be able to submit a pre-authorization request. This will verify coverage before the surgery is performed so there are no surprises when the bill arrives.

Pet parents cannot foresee when surgery may be needed. While your veterinary team will guide you through the surgical process, who will do the same with the financial aspects? A comprehensive pet insurance provider will help pick up the tab so you can focus on your pet’s full recovery.

* According to Petplan claims data.