does pet insurance cover cesarean sections?

does pet insurance cover cesarean sections?
Posted by Jennifer Maniet, DVM on Feb 19 2020

Spaying and neutering are recommended by veterinarians to help control pet overpopulation and unfavorable hereditary conditions in cats and dogs. If you have a pet that is intact, having a pet insurance policy in place may help pay for unexpected costs of whelping complications, such as a cesarean section, in the future.

Why are cesarean sections performed in pets?

There are a few reasons why cesarean sections (C-section) may be recommended in cats and dogs. The most common reason is because of a difficult or abnormal birth (dystocia). About 2 out of 3 cases of dystocia will need to have an emergency C-section performed1. If your pet is experiencing any signs of dystocia, get them to the veterinarian right away as this is an emergency.

Signs that a pet may be having a difficult delivery:

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  1. Increased length of gestational (pregnancy) period without labor
  2. Vaginal discharge that looks green or black, or contains blood or pus
  3. Strong contractions that fail to result in delivery of a puppy or kitten in 15-30 minutes
  4. Exhaustion and dehydration
  5. Excessive pain or signs of illness
  6. Delivery of a stillborn puppy or kitten

Whether you are familiar with whelping (the birthing process in dogs), queening (the birthing process in cats) or neither, make sure you and your veterinarian have a plan in place at the start of your pet’s pregnancy.

Pregnancy-related costs not covered by pet insurance

Most pet insurance providers will not cover the costs arising from or related to breeding, pregnancy, whelping, nursing or the treatment of any offspring, so be thorough as you are exploring your options including reading all policy terms and conditions for each provider. Most providers have a sample policy available online to review.

Pregnancy-related costs covered by pet insurance

If your pregnant pet experiences unexpected complications due to birthing and needs a cesarean section, the medical costs may be covered by your pet insurance policy as long as the date of breeding falls after the waiting period of the effective date of your pet’s policy. For example, the total cost of treatment for one pregnant 4-year-old Yorkshire Terrier unexpectedly experiencing dystocia which resulted in a cesarean section was $3,810, and thanks to Petplan was reimbursed $2,448.2

You may not know what life has in store for your pets, but you can still be prepared financially for unexpected complications that take you by surprise with pet insurance.

1. Gfeller, R. 2019, February 19. Veterinary Partner. Difficult Birth: First Aid.

2. According to Petplan Claims Data from 02/2019-02/2020.

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