Pet insurance is designed to cover the expenses of unexpected events, such as an illness or accident. Since pregnancy is considered ‘preventable,’ it is unlikely that it would be covered. In fact, most traditional pet insurers list pregnancy among their excluded medical conditions.
Nonetheless, some pet owners do not spay or neuter their pets because they intentionally plan to breed them.
How Much Does Pregnancy Cost?
Pet owners may see pregnancy as a natural event that does not require any veterinary intervention. In that case, the cost would be close to zero.
However, an intentional breeder would want a female cat or dog to undergo a thorough pre-breeding physical about a month before breeding (estimated cost is $70-100). Vaccinations would be brought up-to-date ($18-25 each). Parasite testing (estimated cost is $25-45) and treating would be done. With dogs, both the female and the male would be tested for the highly infectious bacterial disease brucellosis ($30-70) that causes sterility or spontaneous abortion.
Any breed could require an emergency C-section (estimated cost is $500-2,500), but some breeds, such as certain bulldog breeds, must have C-section births for anatomical reasons.After the birth, issues requiring emergency care could present themselves, such as low-calcium related eclampsia (estimated cost is $1,000-1,500). Also, lactation can result in a painful mammary gland infection called mastitis which requires antibiotic treatment and possibly even surgery (estimated cost is $200-2,000).
Which Companies Accept Pregnancy Expenses?
The following insurers indicate in their policies that they exclude all costs related to breeding and conditions related to pregnancy: Embrace, Hartville Group (affiliated with ASPCA Insurance), Healthy Paws, PetFirst and Pets Best.
Figo and Petplan exclude coverage but may reimburse reasonable costs of medically necessary treatment of complications that arise, as long as the breeding did not occur before or within the policy’s waiting period.
Nationwide Pet insurance only covers pregnancy-related expenses for dogs and cats (not exotic pets like rabbits and ferrets) under its Whole Pet with Wellness plan, but only if the conditions were not pre-existing and did not occur during the policy’s waiting period. However, Nationwide excludes coverage under all of its less-comprehensive plans.
Trupanion is the one company that covers most conditions linked to breeding cats and dogs. You must classify your pet as a breeding pet at time of enrollment and add the Breeding Rider to your insurance policy. However, your pet cannot be pregnant at the time of enrollment. Trupanion does not cover planned Caesarian births (unless medically needed), routine prenatal exams, pre-breeding tests, fertility treatments or artificial insemination.
What Health Concerns are Common with Breeding Pets?
Most pet owners prefer to have their dogs and cats spayed or neutered to avoid pregnancy. However, others choose not to do so, whether they breed them or not.
Dogs and cats left intact face certain risks. For example, males more frequently develop testicular cancer and prostate disease. Females more frequently develop ovarian and uterine cancer, as well as mammary gland tumors.
Lastly, intact females and males are more likely to want to roam and, if allowed outdoors, could be injured in fights and other mating-related behaviors.It is essential to determine if your insurance company requires your pet to be spayed or neutered for these non-pregnancy related conditions to be covered.