One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is , “Why does it cost so much to take my pet to the vet?”

This has many answers, so I will do my best.

First, if comparing costs between clinics, it is always a good thing to compare apples to apples.

Not all veterinary practices are the same. Some clinics place emphasis on good diagnostics, pain management and high quality of care, and these are usually higher priced clinics. These clinics often have higher overhead, because they spend the time and money to have a highly trained staff and to offer better client service and education. In addition, over the past few years, the costs of drugs have gone up astronomically, and as a result, consumer costs have also gone up.

Some of the lower cost clinics may have high volume client flow, and be able to stock more drugs, and therefore buy them at reduced costs. Others may use the treat now, if they don’t respond, then we can do a work-up later approach.. There is nothing wrong with this, unless you speak to any vet school clinician…….then your ears might be ringing. There is the best way, the way that works sometimes and the wrong way, then there is the RIGHT (read the gold standard, IDEAL in a perfect world) way, which is the way we were all taught in school.

The right way does not always allow for the fact that we all live in a real world and most clients cannot afford to do every test, on every body system, in order to find out that the pet has fleas! (I say this last a bit tongue in cheek!)

Back to the cost of veterinary medicine.

When a client calls to get the cost of say a dog spay, and thinks that the cost is crazy, and calls another clinic, and then another, I would encourage them to ask questions.

What does that cost include?

Some of the options clinics may or may not give are:

  • Bloodwork
  • Pre and post-surgical pain medication
  • Antibiotics
  • Anesthetic monitoring
  • E-collar

OK, there is a quick explanation for the cost of veterinary care. It is not an all-inclusive explanation, but I hope that it helps to shed light on the cost between clinics.