Milo cancer diary part 6 – counting the cost



A £7000 policy isn’t enough to cover a single chemo protocol for lymphoma, especially given the likely costs that will have stacked up before getting to a diagnosis.

My insurer, ManyPets, have been prompt in paying smaller claims, but much slower on the bigger ones. But there’s been no quibbling or hassle, and I’ve found their web based claims system pretty straightforward.


When the oncologist at North Down Specialist Referrals (NDSR) diagnosed lymphoma he estimated that chemotherapy would cost around £8-10,000, and then said “maybe a bit less, given that he’s a small dog”. Including that consultation we’d already spent a little over £2100 (with the bulk of that being £1000 for a specialist scan and cytology), so clearly the £7000 insurance policy we had wasn’t going to cover it all.

Projecting through the rest of this cycle, and assuming we keep going with the CHOP protocol for the next cycle, it looks like the total cost for diagnosis and treatment will land at around £9000.


My sister (who runs a dog walking and pet care company) suggested that I check out ManyPets (previously Bought By Many) when I was shopping around for a policy to cover Milo, and they did indeed have a competitive offering.

My main concern at the time was back trouble, which Dachshunds can be prone to, and the possibility of a surgical bill that might run to £3-4000. Cancer and chemo wasn’t really front of mind.

Early claims, small claims

The first blood test was £182.52, and it was clear that a claim would arise from that, but I let the receipts pile up a couple of weeks longer before making a claim. At that stage we still didn’t know what was wrong with Milo, but we were still optimistic that there would be an easy and inexpensive fix.

Apart from the initial consultation itself those early claims were (mostly) turned around in hours, and paid immediately. I was impressed by how simple the online process was, and how little hassle there was.

Then the big claims, and the big delays

The £1000 scan was the first big claim, and the website advised it would take 6-8 weeks due to the company being ‘unusually busy’. In the end that one was approved 104 days later, along with the initial consultation at 120 days since I’d filed the claim.

Along the way some of the smaller (<£150) invoices had been turned around straight away, but the unpaid claims had nudged towards £5000.

But, with the earlier claims cleared through, things started moving with the later ones. Requests for info were sent to the vets (after nothing happening for 86 days in the earliest cases), and those were turned around a week or so later, with claims being approved.

As I write this, ManyPets is almost caught up, with just one claim for chemo last month outstanding. I’d summarise the experience as slow, but hassle free. Maybe that opinion would be different if I’d been chasing them hard because I desperately needed the money back.


Milo’s policy runs from mid August, so everything that’s happened has landed within one policy cycle.

I don’t know what will happen on renewal, and I’ll maybe come back then with another post. I also don’t know what would have happened with the treatment had run over a renewal.

Language is important

At one stage ManyPets emailed me with:

Looking at the details of your claim, we can see that the treatment for £LOTS on DATE has been settled under claim number NUMBER.

We have therefore closed this duplicate claim.

This was a completely inaccurate (and distressing) portrayal of what was actually going on. I knew that I hadn’t made a duplicate claim. They’d rolled up a number of claims into a single approval/payment, and all this ‘duplicate’ nonsense was some internal artifact that should never be seen by customers. An explanatory letter did follow, but poor terminology and communication around it caused alarm when none was needed.

User experience niggles

If somebody from ManyPets is reading this, then I think the website is mostly working very well. But there’s always room for improvement.

  • Every claim asks me to put in my banking details. I fret that one day I’ll key them in wrong. It would be much better if I could just check a box to say ‘same as last time’.
  • Once I’ve submitted a claim I can’t go back and see the details I typed in to (re)check that everything’s correct. I can only see a date and an amount.


For this protocol I’m going to end up around £2000 out of pocket, and there have been times when I’ve spent nearly £5000 on stuff waiting for insurance to reimburse. Seeing Milo running around and enjoying life, or coming for a snooze in my arm or on my lap, it’s all worth it :)


19 May 2023 – I got a note from Jess at ManyPets to say that they’ve read this, and they’re working on speeding up claims and resolving the niggles and language problems mentioned above. As of this morning my claims are all paid, including yesterday’s vet visit. Well done ManyPets, earning themselves a did_do_better entry :)

Past parts:

1. diagnosis and initial treatment

2. first setback

3. back on track

4. second setback

5. easing the pace

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