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Does pet insurance cover diabetes

👉 Before you dive into the article, be sure to familiarize yourself with the terms and verbiage used regularly when talking about pet insurance in our pet insurance glossary.

The essentials

  • Yes, pet insurance typically covers diabetes — As long as it isn’t a pre-existing condition, diabetes is a covered disease.
  • Treatments won’t look the same for every pet — Depending on the species and the type and severity of their diabetes, treatment might vary.
  • Diabetes is expensive without insurance — Out-of-pocket monthly treatment costs run into the hundreds.

While diabetes can be a daunting diagnosis,  the good news is that pet insurance will likely cover it should your pet develop it. Keep reading to learn more about diabetes, its costs, and the best insurance coverage you can get for your pet.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a health condition that develops when your body can’t make enough insulin or use it properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate your body’s blood glucose levels. Without normal glucose levels, health complications can occur in pets and people.

Your vet will diagnose your furry friend by evaluating their symptoms and running diagnostic tests like routine bloodwork and a urinalysis. From there, the vet will develop a treatment plan that might involve insulin injections, a prescription diet, strict feeding guidelines, and regular monitoring.

Diabetes in dogs

Two types of diabetes can impact dogs, but Type 1 or diabetes mellitus is the most common. It’s a chronic condition that will need lifetime treatment. A third type is gestational diabetes which sometimes happens with pregnant dogs and typically resolves itself after birth.

Dogs that are middle-aged and female dogs are more prone to developing diabetes mellitus. The most common symptoms of diabetes mellitus are increased thirst and urination, weight loss, lethargy, and the formation of cataracts.

Michelle Diener

Diabetes in cats

Feline diabetes is uncommon — between 0.2 % and 1 % of cats are likely to be diagnosed. Cats that do develop it typically have Type 2 when they cannot produce enough insulin or have insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes in cats is a manageable illness with medications and dietary changes. A healthy lifestyle from an early age may be one way to prevent the disease.

Does pet insurance cover diabetes?

Most pet insurance providers cover the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes in dogs and cats unless it’s considered a pre-existing condition. A pre-existing condition means your pet was diagnosed with diabetes before you purchased the insurance plan. If signs of diabetes start after your waiting period, you can expect to be reimbursed for most medical costs once you meet your premium.

When should you get pet insurance?

Invest in insurance as soon as you get your pet to take full advantage of your policy. Monthly diabetes treatment costs range from $40 to $200+ without insurance. Insulin, syringes, glucose monitoring devices, special food, and veterinary care all contribute to the cost of managing diabetes in dogs. It is also more expensive to treat large-breed dogs as they consume more food and require a higher dose of insulin. The monthly expense might put a strain on your pet budget.

If you buy pet insurance before symptoms appear, your policy should cover some of those expenses and put less pressure on your wallet. Look for providers that offer a comprehensive plan versus policies that only cover accidents, accidents and illnesses, or general wellness coverage.

Lifetime costs of treating diabetes in pets

It’s important to have a realistic understanding of the expenses involved with a pet with diabetes. The type of pet and their diabetes can impact costs throughout their life. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect monthly and annually.

Expense Monthly Yearly
Insulin $20 - $200* $240 - $2,400
Syringes and needles $15 - $30 $180 - $360
Glucose monitoring device - $70 - $210
Diabetic pet food $30 - $100+ $360- $1,200+
Veterinary care - $600 - $2,400+
Total cost $120 - $386+ $1,450 - $6,670+

* Insulin cost can be difficult to estimate because it depends on the type and size of the pet as well as the insulin type and dosage.

Treating a diabetic pet out of pocket will likely cost at least $600 every year. If your pet’s diabetes is well-managed, it may not cost as much. However, diabetes mellitus requires close monitoring with periodic testing to make sure your pet’s glucose levels are where they should be.

How much you spend throughout your pet’s life depends on when they are diagnosed, how well you abide by the treatment plan created by your veterinarian, and how well your pet responds to treatment. Preventative care is the best way to minimize your pet’s risk for developing health conditions like diabetes, and for pups and cats with risk factors, it’s essential.

Frequently asked questions

Can I get pet insurance for a dog that was already diagnosed with diabetes?

Yes. However, unless it’s a plan that covers pre-existing conditions, costs related to that diabetes diagnosis won’t be covered. Most pet insurance plans don’t cover pre-existing conditions.

Does pet insurance cover insulin for cats?

Yes. Pet insurance will cover insulin and other related medical costs for your diabetic cat as long as your cat’s diabetes was not a pre-existing condition (or your insurance plan covers pre-existing conditions). Thoroughly research prospective pet insurance companies to know what is covered and what is not.

What is considered an illness for pet insurance?

Illnesses include minor and major medical conditions that aren’t related to an accident. Cancer would be an illness, for example, while a fractured bone would be considered an injury.

Are there any decent pet insurance plans?

Pet insurance plans have different tiers, options, and add-ons, so they can be customized to your budget and needs. Look for an insurance company that offers different levels of service with comprehensive coverage to fit your needs.