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Published: May 11, 2012

Although health insurance is a typical aspect of healthcare for many humans, pet owners tend to underestimate the costs associated with caring for a pet. A recent study by reports that while all pets benefit from having some type of veterinary insurance, dogs tend to rack up the largest bills at vet clinics.

The study looked at insurance costs, pet health risks and population, with insurance rates compiled by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The organization reports healthy dogs' veterinary care costs about $235 annually, while cats' costs about $160.

In the study, the American Veterinary Medical Association estimated dogs visit the veterinarian an average of 2.7 times per year, while cats visit 2.4 times per year. Plus, dog illnesses and injuries tend to be more expensive to treat. That said, when cats do not visit the vet often enough, their illnesses can progress to a point where they are just as expensive to treat and it may be difficult to help the feline heal completely. Bringing your cat to the vet regularly is crucial to catching a disease or other condition early and getting the proper treatment so the cat can continue to live healthfully.

Luckily, different pet insurance plans cover standard well visits as well as accidents and illnesses. That means something like dog diabetes treatment or surgery to fix a broken bone could be covered, so owners will never be in a situation where they weigh their cat or dog's well-being against their finances.