08:54 AM

Skin allergies, ear infections continue to top common conditions that prompt veterinary visits

In 2022, Nationwide members filed more than 1.43 million individual claims for treatment of top 10 medical conditions affecting dogs and cats

For pet parents, caring for a furry family member comes with the likelihood of unplanned visits to the veterinarian. While many may dread visits related to acute injuries or rare diseases, what prompts veterinary clinic trips most often tends to be far more commonplace – but no less important when it comes to treatment. 

“When we talk about protecting pets from the unexpected, many families might envision things like traumatic injuries, poisoning, or foreign body ingestion,” said Dr. Jules Benson, Nationwide’s Vice President, Pet Health and Chief Veterinary Officer. “While these are definitely situations where it’s beneficial to have pet health insurance, our data actually shows that the majority of claims come from extremely common conditions.”

In 2022, Nationwide pet health insurance members filed more than 1.43 million claims for treatment related to the top 10 most common medical conditions affecting dogs and cats. The nation’s pet health protection leader analyzed its database of more than 1.2 million pets to determine the top medical conditions that prompted veterinary visits for dogs and cats last year:



1. Skin allergies1. Chronic kidney disease
2. Ear infection2. Bladder/urinary tract disease
3. Diarrhea/intestinal upset3. Vomiting/upset stomach
4. Vomiting/upset stomach4. Diarrhea/intestinal upset
5. Skin infections5. Excessive thyroid hormone
6. Inflammation/infection of anal glands6. Dental disease (tooth infection, cavity, abscess)
7. Arthritis7. Diabetes
8. Non-cancerous skin mass8. Skin allergies
9. Bladder infection9. Upper respiratory infection
10. Dental disease (tooth infection, cavity, abscess)10. Ear infection

“Year over year, we see that ear infections, urinary and gastrointestinal disease, and skin allergies account for huge portions of the claims Nationwide receives for cats and dogs,” says Dr. Benson. “And are all conditions that can start out small but become serious, even lifelong, if left untreated. Having a pet protection solution in place can make a big difference in whether pet parents seek veterinary care early, and then in what diagnostics and treatments are viable for them.”

Among Nationwide-insured dogs:

  • For the 11th year in a row, skin allergies were the most common health issue, with more than 373,000 individual claims received (up from 335,000 in 2021).
  • For a single dog, the highest cost with a skin allergy diagnosis came in at just over $9,480 for a dog from New York who receives several daily, weekly, and monthly treatments to keep his allergies at bay. He also has dermatology recheck exams every 14 to 30 days, in addition to medications and treatments for skin fold irritation and secondary skin infections.

Among Nationwide-insured cats:

  • Chronic kidney disease reclaimed the top spot as the most common medical condition, with more than 18,400 individual claims received.
  • For a single cat, the highest cost from any of the top 10 conditions came in at more than $19,821 for a Georgia cat who suffered a severe diabetic episode. He was so sick that he ended up being admitted to an overnight veterinary emergency center, then was transferred to a 24-hour specialty center to see a board-certified veterinary internist. That team was able to stabilize him and get him back on his feet. He’s now receiving insulin to manage his diabetes and is doing well at home.

With Nationwide pet health insurance, many veterinary expenses associated with the diagnosis and treatment of these common conditions are eligible for reimbursement based on the member’s chosen coverage. To explore pet health insurance coverage for dogs, cats, and many avian or exotic pets, visit petinsurance.com.