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Does Pet Insurance Cover Diabetes Treatment?

Diabetes mellitus is a common medical condition in both dogs and cats. The cost of diagnosing and treating this condition is significant, as pets often require dietary adjustments, insulin injections, and more frequent veterinary appointments. This could cost hundreds of dollars or more every month and can feel overwhelming to many pet parents. In this article, we will give a brief overview of diabetes in pets and take a look at how pet insurance may help cover some of the associated medical costs.

Does pet insurance cover diabetes?

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Whether pet insurance will cover diabetes depends on several factors, including your brand of pet insurance, type of policy, and your pet's health when you obtained the policy. In most cases, an accident and illness insurance policy will cover costs associated with your pet's diabetes. However, most pet insurance companies will not cover diabetes treatments if the diagnosis was established before purchasing the policy. This is because pet insurance carriers do not cover pre-existing medical conditions.

Furthermore, since diabetes is a chronic condition, there is a limit to how much money you may obtain from your pet insurance plan. Some insurance contracts specify an annual limit beyond which they will bear no financial liability. Some insurance policies have a lifespan limitation. Once the insurer has paid out the maximum amount for diabetes, no more coverage will be granted.

What is typically covered?

Although it varies per policy, pet insurance may cover most of the following related to diabetes:

  • Blood tests done at the veterinarian's office
  • Diabetes screenings provided by a veterinarian
  • Urinalysis performed in a veterinary clinic
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Veterinary emergency care due to the consequences of diabetes
  • Specialized diets
  • Insulin injections
  • Glucose meters
  • Urine test strips

Pet owners should carefully review their insurance to determine which diabetes-related expenses will be covered.

What is not covered?

Even if an accident and illness insurance policy was acquired before a pet developed diabetes, the coverage may differ, depending on the policy. Some insurance policies, for example, may cover costs for the veterinarian's examination of diabetes in a pet. Some policies will pay for the diabetic patient's treatment and diagnostic tests but not for the first examination.

Policyholders should carefully evaluate their policies to know the degree of coverage of the policy. Before seeking medical care and filing a claim, owners may typically request preapproval to see if their insurance policy covers a specific procedure or treatment.

Understanding diabetes in pets

Diabetes is the inability to manage sugar levels in the blood or circulation. If left untreated or improperly managed, diabetes may have fatal consequences for the pet, such as a condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis. Although animals of any age may get diabetes, those in their middle years or older are the most susceptible to the illness. Because of the complexities of the condition, it needs meticulous treatment and therapy.

When a pet develops diabetes, the pancreas, an insulin-producing organ, may fail to generate enough insulin, or the body may grow resistant to its effects. The hormone insulin helps maintain blood sugar levels, allowing cells to absorb glucose and use it for energy. When the body fails to generate or utilize insulin adequately, glucose accumulates in the circulation and raises blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia), thus causing characteristic symptoms such as increased thirst and urination, and weight loss despite a normal or increased appetite.

Diabetes can affect dogs and cats differently.

Diabetes in cats

Diabetess in cats

Insulin shortages are rarely the cause of diabetes in cats. The majority of cats acquire type 2 diabetes, in which their body becomes resistant to or does not respond to insulin effectively. Although insulin injections are initially required for many cats, therapy also involves diet change and aims to remove the underlying reasons for insulin resistance.

When cats with diabetes begin eating a species-appropriate diet that is substantial in protein and low in carbohydrates, insulin sensitivity improves for many. As a result, some diabetic cats can achieve remission and no longer require insulin injections. Your veterinarian will carefully evaluate your cat and then advise you on the diabetes food and treatment plan that will best suit your pet.

Diabetes in dogs

Diabetes in dogs and gestational

The most prevalent kind of diabetes in dogs is type 1 diabetes, which occurs when the body is unable to generate enough insulin. Canines are far less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Insulin helps your dog's body process food. After eating, food breaks down into sugars like glucose, which are absorbed into the blood and used by cells for energy. Insulin ensures this process runs smoothly. Without enough insulin, blood sugar levels can become dangerously high. Lifelong insulin injections are necessary to manage diabetes in dogs.

Risk factors for diabetes

Risk factors for diabetes include a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors. Hereditary, hormonal conditions (thyroid conditions or Cushing's disease), inflammatory disorders (such as acromegaly and pancreatitis), a poor diet, use of certain medications (such as steroids), and obesity are risk factors that make pets more susceptible to diabetes.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, overweight pets are far more likely to get the disease, as are those between 7–10 years of age.

Furthermore, female dogs are twice as likely to develop diabetes than male dogs. Pregnancy may cause temporary gestational diabetes in some dogs. Certain dog breeds are more susceptible to this illness than others, including Bichons, Labradors, Miniature Schnauzers, Poodles, Pugs, and Yorkshire Terriers. As for cats, diabetes is more common in males.

Symptoms and diagnosis of pet diabetes

Symptoms and diagnosis of pet diabetes

For early detection and management of diabetes, it is crucial to recognize and be aware of the symptoms. If you see any of the following symptoms in your pet, take them to the vet immediately for a proper diagnosis and treatment:

Increased thirst

Polydipsia, or extreme thirstiness in pets, may be one of the first signs of diabetes. Your pet may consume an unusual quantity of water, urge you to fill their water dish more often, or attempt to drink from strange sources. This extreme thirst is a result of playing catchup due to water loss through the urine.

Frequent urination

Frequent urination, also known as polyuria, is another warning signal of diabetes in pets. You may find yourself bringing your pet outdoors for bathroom breaks more often, or they may have accidents in the house. When glucose levels are high, it overflows into the urine, drawing huge amounts of water with it.

Weight loss

Weight loss can also be a symptom of diabetes in pets. Despite having a good appetite, your pet may be losing weight. This happens because the body cannot properly utilize the glucose from the food they eat.

Lethargy and other signs of illness

Lethargy, or a lack of energy, is a possible symptom or complication of diabetes. Your normally active pet may begin to show exhaustion by losing interest in activities they generally like. Other symptoms of illness such as not eating, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, collapse, or seizures are signs of severe or uncontrolled diabetes or complications of diabetes requiring immediate treatment.

Cloudy eyes (cataracts)

More than 75% of diabetic dogs develop cataracts (which impair their eyesight) within a year of being diagnosed with diabetes. The most typical signs of cataracts are large, hazy, white, or grayish patches inside the eye's lens. They may affect one or both eyes and even progress to other eye conditions that can cause ocular discomfort and pain.

Recurrent infections

Diabetic animals are more prone to infections such as urinary tract or skin infections, as their resistance to bacterial and fungal illnesses is reduced.

Contact your veterinarian immediately if you see any of these symptoms in your pet. They will test the patient's urine and blood as part of a comprehensive examination to confirm the diagnosis.

How to care for a pet with diabetes

If your pet has been diagnosed with diabetes, you need to consult a veterinarian for guidance. However, some minor changes to their lifestyle can help manage the disease.

  • Provide them with specialized diets. Diabetic pets often need specialized diets. If your pet needs to lose weight, they will most likely need to consume a certain kind of food and adhere to a strict feeding regimen (usually timed with insulin injections). Diabetic cats should consume a moist diet rich in protein and low in carbs, and diabetic dogs should eat a diet high in fiber. There are many great prescription diets available.
  • Exercise. Daily exercise is an important part of a diabetic treatment plan. Low-impact activities like gentle walks, swimming, and playing around the neighborhood can be a great way to exercise your diabetic pets and improve their cardiovascular health. Consult your vet about the best exercise plan for your pet.

How is diabetes treated?

Diabetes is a chronic condition, so managing it requires a long-term commitment. Insulin injections are the most common treatment option. To reduce your pet's blood sugar levels, injections must be administered regularly, often twice daily. After assessing your pet's insulin requirements, your veterinarian will suggest how to help them. It is also important to closely monitor your pet to see how well they are responding to the insulin injections.

How much does diabetes treatment cost for pets?

The first veterinary exam and diabetes diagnosis for a dog or cat patient may cost between $200 and $700. However, the cost of ongoing treatment for a diabetic pet will vary according to the species, size, and kind of treatment required. Insulin may cost $50 to $150 per month. If the diabetes is severe, complications arise, and your pet requires hospitalization, the costs might be more substantial, into the thousands.

Once a pet is diagnosed with diabetes, it will most likely need insulin injections and other disease-related therapies for the rest of its life. The average yearly cost may range from $700 to $2,800 (less if your pet's diabetes is well-controlled).

Comparing pet insurance providers for diabetes coverage

Research your pet insurance alternatives before deciding on a provider and inquire about diabetes coverage. Some of the most reliable pet insurance carriers that provide comprehensive diabetes coverage include the following:


Lemonade Pet Insurance’s base insurance policy may cover treatment for illnesses like diabetes. To be reimbursed for qualifying costs, your pet must show signs of diabetes, have a diabetes diagnosis, or have test results showing elevated glucose levels in their blood or urine after your policy has been active (including their illness waiting period, which varies by state). If not, your pet’s diabetes will be considered a pre-existing ailment.

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This insurance provider offers unique pre-existing coverage, which may include diabetic cats and dogs. It covers your pet's previous medical bills, provided they did not have therapy or medication for those conditions in the last three months before the start of the insurance coverage. However, this will likely not be an option for pets actively undergoing treatment for diabetes.


Embrace covers many expenses associated with diabetes and other chronic diseases, including insulin and monthly monitoring. With standard coverage for unexpected illnesses, injuries, chronic diseases, and various breed-specific problems, you can also get money for test fees, modest dental illness claims, and behavioral treatment.


If you have ASPCA coverage for diabetes diagnosis, treatment, and complications, your pet will get the care they need throughout their diabetes journey. They also offer different tiers and conventional forms of coverage, including medical, dental, behavioral, and genetic coverage and accident and disease protection.


If your pet has diabetes, Trupanion will cover medical expenses, including medication and blood glucose monitoring. Trupanion may be able to speed up the processing of your veterinary bills by linking you directly with your veterinarian or veterinarians via the reimbursement procedure. By selecting this direct payment option, you can avoid paying some upfront costs.

Key considerations when choosing a provider

There are a lot of crucial aspects to consider when picking a pet insurance company, including:

  • Pre-existing conditions. A pre-existing condition is one that the pet had when the insurance coverage was obtained. Most pet insurance plans exclude these conditions. If your pet is diagnosed with diabetes before you get insurance, the veterinarian will charge you for their treatment. Pet insurance is essential before your pet has severe health difficulties.
  • Waiting periods. Even if you get pet insurance before your pet exhibits symptoms of diabetes, there may be a waiting period before coverage starts. During this period, you cannot get reimbursement for diabetes-related expenditures. Waiting periods are usually a few weeks long, although they might vary depending on the insurance carrier.
  • Routine care and wellness plans. Specific pet insurance policies that include wellness or regular care may cover preventative diabetes management methods and screening tests, such as wellness exams and bloodwork. Unfortunately, not all plans cover these options, so pet owners should carefully research their insurance policies.
  • Coverage limits and deductibles. Coverage restrictions and deductibles are standard features of pet insurance plans, as they are with human health insurance. This being the case, remember that the insurance may only cover up to a particular amount for diabetic treatment, leaving the owner accountable for any additional costs.
  • Exclusions. Many pet insurance plans list exclusions, including medical problems and scenarios the policy does not cover. It is crucial to ascertain whether these plans do not cover diabetes or specific aspects of its treatment, such as foods or prescription medications.

Final thoughts

The answer to whether pet insurance covers diabetes is a resounding 'yes.' However, it is essential to check the exact specifications of various insurance carriers and be sure that you have purchased pet insurance before your pet develops signs of diabetes. To make an informed decision that protects your pet's health and welfare, you need to understand the intricacies of pet insurance, the fundamentals of diabetes in pets, and the variables that influence coverage.


Key takeaways:

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