Your family dog or cat who lives in today’s world has many more opportunities to live a better life and take advantage of health care options that were previously never available or in many cases even unimaginable for them. The human animal bond has driven advances in medical research, specialized care, and innovation that have allowed today’s pets to live longer, healthier, and pain free lifestyles. Last year U.S. pet owners spent more than $1 billion on insurance, up 23 percent. More than 1.8 million cats and dogs are now covered, up more than 17 percent according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association. Demand is driven by an irresistible promise from insurers: affordable, lifetime health care for your beloved Woof or Kitty. Every six seconds a pet owner faces a vet bill of $1,000 or more, according to, an online marketplace.

How many times have you heard someone tell you that their pet’s medical bills are as much or even higher than the cost of their own medical bills ? Imagine that you decided that if your children or family members ever got injured, ill, or in an accident that you would never need to rely on health insurance and would always be able to afford paying out of pocket for their medical care ? Some people might think you are crazy or even an irresponsible person, unless you have a large amount of dispensable income.

As a veterinarian, I have had to make the very difficult decision with clients to euthanize their pets because the cost of their medical care was simply unaffordable. Unfortunately, many of these pets could have survived and lived longer and healthier lives had they had pet insurance. So now that we know pet insurance is not a luxury, the question becomes can you afford to have a pet and pay for their expenses out of pocket any time your pet has an illness, injury, or accident ?

After delving into the most common claims for 2017 for the Cost of Pet Health Care report, Healthy Paws insurance discovered not just how much pet parents spend at the vet’s office, but also the day-to-day reality and the stories behind the claims. Pet parents far and wide volunteered their cases to the report: from a Basset Hound suffering from glaucoma to a young kitty’s kidney disease. It was after going through these 200,000 claims, Healthy Paws then found the two highest claims for the 2017 calendar year.

They are as follows:

Most Expensive Claim for a Dog

The most expensive vet bill for a dog came from a 2-year-old female, mixed breed/medium-sized pup who was hit by a car. After surgery to stabilize her broken bones and internal bleeding, she also had her spleen removed as it was damaged in the accident. She was hospitalized and under vet care for 11 days. The total invoice was $26,009, and Healthy Paws reimbursed the pet parent $23,212 (pet parent’s reimbursement rate was 90% with a $250 deductible).

Most Expensive Claim for a Cat

The most expensive vet visit for a cat came from a 7-year-old male Egyptian Mau. The cat fell from a 5-story window, which caused broken bones as well as internal injuries. After a blood transfusion, Oxygen therapy, and surgery, the kitty was stable. His recovery process included a feeding tube, due to oral fractures, for 8 weeks. Healthy Paws reimbursed $24,292 of the $28,126 bill (pet parent’s reimbursement rate was 90% with a $500 deductible).