JOHANNESBURG - Insurance has hit a 10-month high, showing that goods and services are getting more expensive.

Conventional logic tells us that when times are tough, having insurance to cover unexpected medical expenses can be a life-saver.

The same reasoning applies to why pet-owners should consider taking out insurance for their pets.

This is according to Vera Nagtegaal, the executive head of Hippo.co.za, who says that pet insurance ranges from emergency cover to pay-outs for a wide range of treatments, including preventative medication and sterilisation.

Nagtegaal said that speaking to veterinarians about the average cost of common procedures would tell you that caring for a pet can be very expensive.

“It’s terrible to see an animal that’s sick or in pain, and a distraught owner without the funds to afford the necessary tests and treatment,” said Dr Deidre Kempis, a Johannesburg vet.

To get an idea of the cost of owning a pet, she highlights some of the common procedures or treatments that she deals with at her office.

In the first year, there are three rounds of vaccinations, deworming and sterilisation. Sterilisation can cost between R2000 and R2500, while each round of vaccinations is roughly R500. Tick and flea control could set you back another R500 for a three-month course, depending on the size of the dog (cats are smaller and therefore less expensive).

She said fixing a broken leg can cost between R5000 and R15000, depending on the severity of the injury, while torn cruciate ligaments - a common ailment in dogs - could rack up a bill of between R8000 and R10000.

If a puppy swallows something that becomes an obstruction in its throat, the cost could be between R5000 and R10000 - and Dr Kempis said this happened relatively often. Some pets also need their teeth to be regularly cleaned and this can cost between R2000 and R5000 twice a year, depending on the size of the animal.

Cataract surgery is around R20000, while a heart specialist for an ECG and X-rays might be in the region of R6000 per appointment.

As the pet grows older, its owner can prepare to spend between R5000 and R10000 or more each year on treatments and vet visits.

“Just like any other type of insurance, you only realise how much you need pet insurance when there is an emergency. But, in the case of pet insurance, it makes it possible for you to care for your pet, who is utterly dependent on you, when they need it the most,” said Nagtegaal. “Money doesn’t have to be a question in the care you can afford to give,” added Nagtegaal. 

- Supplied/ PERSONAL FINANCE