A dog suffering from seizures whose treatment cost some £30,000 was among a record number of pets treated under insurance policies last year.
It was one of the most expensive claims made in 2017, helping to lift the total payout to a new record of £775m.
Trade body the Association of British Insurers said over one million claims were made last year, up 10% on 2016.
It warned that the majority of pet owners did not buy insurance, putting them at risk of costly bills.
A gold retriever with a fracture who racked up £10,000 in vet bills and a cat with inflammatory bowel disease who needed £9,600 worth of treatment were among the most expensive claims last year, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
The average bill was more modest, at £757, but the ABI said for any pet needing surgery costs were almost double this at around £1,500.
Despite the high costs of treatment, the ABI said an estimated 67% of dogs and 84% of cats were still uninsured.
Joseph Ahern, general policy adviser at the ABI, said this put owners "at risk of having to fork out thousands to cover the costs of vet treatment because there's no NHS for animals".