Veterinarian Fees

Vet costs have many similarities to human medical costs with the exception that insurance coverage isn’t as common. Without pet insurance the pet owner is stuck with footing the entire bill. These fees are in addition to the standard well-being items such as food, toys, and other items depending on the animal such as a fence, litter, litter box, birdcage, leash, carrier, and more. But it’s the unplanned hospitalization services that are often the most expensive. This includes includes overnight stays, inpatient monitoring, anesthesia, surgeries, and more.  

Pet ownership involves similar medical care patterns that apply to us such a routine check-ups, vaccinations, and planned and unplanned diagnosis/procedures.

The amount of care depends on several factors such as size, weight, breed, age, personality, medical history and your physical location. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA®) provides guidance on the short and long term costs and risk involved in owning various animals. 

Before your vet starts running MRI’s, endoscopies, ultrasounds, x-rays and piling up the big fees, request the cost for all your options and if they can only provide an estimate, get a worst-case estimate.

Pet Insurance

A lot of similarities to our health insurance where there are numerous plans and coverages at various price levels. Pet insurance takes the worry out of major expenses and help provide a more consistent budget, although you may pay more for insurance in the long run. Like all insurance, it’s a risk-reward decision but making the that decision involves first understanding the risks and costs. 

  • Verify your veterinarian’s office accepts your pets insurance program. 
  • Verify the insurance program is accredited within your state.
  • Verify the practicioners are licensed and qualified.
  • Check reviews on your insurance program in places such as social media and the Better Business Bureau®
  • Understand the payment expenses such as the copayments, deductible, monthly payment, and maximum out-of-pocket. 
  • Understand the coverage for the various price levels. Perhaps you only want standard preventive care or a plan that covers only urgent care.  

One popular choice for pet insurance is Healthy Paws®. We do not have any affiliation nor do we receive a commission from Healthy Paws®

Filing a complaint against a Veterinarian

Prepare and research. See the section regarding Effective Complaining. 

1) Discuss the issue with the veterinarian’s office and try to resolve directly with the source.

2) Escalate your complaint to their corporate office if one exist.

3) Contact your state’s medication association if one exist.

4) Begin a legal complaint process by filing a complaint to the state veterinary licensing board. 

5) As with any type of complaint, file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau® (BBB).  If the business is listed (and more so if they are accredited) with the BBB there’s a very good chance your complaint will be taken seriously. 

6) Again, as with any type of complaint, find their social media site and post your complaint. You may also find others with similar experience and get a feel for the company’s response. 

Ways to reduce vet fees

 A few ideas to consider before going to the vet:

  • Instead of buying prescriptions directly from the vet’s office consider buying from an external pharmacy, store, or online retailer.
  • Most clinics accept cash and credit cards. If you’re paying in cash that saves the processing fee for the vets office so you should get 3-4% off, but request 10% and settle down to 5%.
  • Cash is King. Try to negotiate a deeper discount if you pay cash and/or pay in full up front.  If you don’t have the cash or aren’t given a discount then use a credit card (instead of a check) if you can earn reward points.
  • Many vets offer financing or have an arrangment to provide payment plans but usually this comes at at the cost of paying interest.  

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