Plan ahead for pet's sake

Friday , 27 November 2015 by Aimee Bourke

The SPCA are calling on owners to plan ahead for their pet’s old age, or unexpected injuries or illness.

SPCA Auckland veterinary manager Dr Shalsee Vigeant says as a nation of animal lovers, New Zealanders have a responsibility and obligation to plan ahead for any issues with their pet’s healthcare or when an emergency may strike.

“Kiwis see their pets as a member of the family and are very attached to their animals. Years ago people had ‘outside animals’, but more and more pets are moving from the backyard to inside the house – sometimes even on the bed.

“A lot of families find that when their pet gets sick or injured they’re faced with the tough decision of finding money to pay for treatment or having to put down a member of the family,” says Dr Vigeant.

Advances in veterinary technology mean the majority of injuries or ailments are treatable and responsible owners should have a savings account or pet insurance to keep their companions healthy.

“Unfortunately there’s no way to predict if your animal might get injured or sick. Most veterinarians have seen the heart-breaking moment when families have to weigh up how much they’re willing to spend to keep their pets alive.”

Head of Southern Cross Pet Insurance Anthony McPhail says that while it’s a position no owner would ever want to be in, it’s one that does happen.

“Our research shows that 18% of pet owners say there is no limit on what they would pay for a major operation before considering euthanizing their pet, so it stands to reason people are looking to insure their pets.

“There’s also the reality that if something goes wrong then it’s up to you as an owner to pay for it, and the bills can really escalate quickly.”

In 2014 the top three Southern Cross Pet Insurance claims were well above $5000.



Pericardial effusion


Traumatic injury (Hit by Car – Face Fractures & Tongue Amputation)






Spinal (vertebral column) disorder


Renal (kidney) disorder


Southern Cross Pet Insurance cover the lives of over 14,000 pets and in the past year paid out over $3m worth of claims. Editor note: This survey of 2,000 randomly selected New Zealanders was conducted by TNS in November 2015.