Pet medical records: why you need them (and how to get them)

January 5, 2024 - 3 min read
Pet Medical Records

What are pet medical records?

A pet's medical record is a detailed and comprehensive document from your vet that tracks the health history of your cat or dog. It's similar to a human's medical chart and includes everything from basic identification information (like name, breed, and age) to their detailed medical history.

ManyPets generally requires the last 18 months of your pet’s medical records—or all of their medical records if they’re younger than 18 months. You’ll only need to send these records the very first time you submit a claim for your pet, unless we specifically request additional information.

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Why pet insurance requires your pet's medical record

Pet insurance companies (like us) need your dog's or cat's medical records to process claims. That way, we can verify that the condition being claimed is not pre-existing and is covered under your policy. It also lets us confirm that your pet is up-to-date on routine wellness exams.

Updated pet records also help you maintain your pet's care, whether you switch vets, stop at the vet while traveling with your pet, or visit an emergency clinic after hours.

What should my dog's or cat's medical record include?

Your pet's medical record should include:

  1. Identification details: your pet's name, breed, age, and other identifying details, such as microchip number.

  2. Vaccination history: records of all vaccinations given, including dates and types of vaccines.

  3. Medical history: all past and present health conditions, treatments, and procedures. 

  4. SOAP notes: These “Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan” details from your vet help us keep track of treatments over time for claims you submit.

  5. Medication records: details of current and past medications, dosages, and duration.

  6. Veterinary visits: dates and reasons for all vet visits, including routine check-ups and emergency consultations.

  7. Diagnostic test results: results of any blood tests, X-rays, ultrasounds, etc.

  8. Preventive care records: information about flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives, as well as any other routine preventive care.

Here's an example of how your pet's medical record might look:

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Can I request my pet's medical records?

Yes, you’ll need to request these records from your vet and then submit them to us along with your first claim. Just make a formal request to your veterinarian, which can usually be done via email or phone.

If your pet has been to multiple clinics, written consent might be needed for the transfer of records between clinics. Ultimately, you’ll need to make sure that all needed records are in one place so you can submit them. It’s generally wise to request all available records from a clinic instead of only requesting specific items like vaccination history or surgery details.

NOTE: Your vet may charge a nominal fee for copying and compiling your pet's medical records. This cost varies depending on the clinic and the extent of the records, and it’s not something that your insurance company will cover.

Help! I lost my pet's medical records

Woof. Losing your pet's medical records can be stressful.

The first step in recovery is to contact your veterinarian. They should have copies of all your pet's records. If you've visited multiple veterinarians or emergency clinics, reach out to each one, as they might hold different parts of your pet's medical history.

Once you retrieve the records, make sure they’re updated with the latest health information.

Phew. That's probably an experience you don't want to relive, which brings us to the next point...

How to safely store your pet's medical records

Safely-stored, easily-accessible medical records are crucial for managing insurance claims and for your pet’s well-being. 

The good news? You have options. Of course, you have endless choices when it comes to digital storage. But even if you’re not a paper person, it’s wise to keep a physical copy (or copies) of your dog's and/or cat's medical records. 

Pro tip: Consider keeping a copy in your car. Phone batteries die, and you don't want to be left scrambling for information at the ER at 2 a.m.

Cloud services and pet health apps

  • Cloud Services: Use Google Drive or Dropbox for secure remote access and backup.

  • Pet Health Apps: Try apps like Pawtrack for tracking vaccinations and appointments, or PetDesk for overall health record management.

If you're going with a pet health app or your vet already uses one, sharing options can be immensely beneficial, particularly in emergency situations where you need quick access to those documents (or just can't remember the last time your dog had their Bordetella vaccination).

Physical copies in a safe spot

  • Organized folders: Maintain a dedicated folder in your home, categorizing documents by type (e.g., vet visits, vaccination records).

  • Safe storage location: Keep the folder in a fireproof safe or a secured cabinet. Again, it's also a good idea to put a copy of the most important records in your car or pet’s travel kit. It'll come in handy for unexpected vet visits or when traveling, allowing you to provide essential health information about your pet on short notice.

Whatever storage system you use, the key is to keep their records updated! After every vet visit, promptly add the latest information to your digital or physical storage system.

To sum up, your pet's medical records are critical documents that play a significant role in managing their health and, if you have pet insurance, helping the claims process go smoothly.

Aim to keep those records safe, accessible, and updated!

Leanna Zeibak
Content Manager

Leanna Zeibak is a Content Manager at ManyPets. In her spare time, she paints pet portraits and bakes far too many chocolate chip cookies.