Why Does It Cost So Much To Go To The Vet?

veterinarian surgery in operation room

It can be costly to own a pet, especially if it gets sick.

Veterinarians do many of the same procedures and diagnostics that your medical doctor does for your own care, but there can be a marked difference in the prices that are charged.

It may seem expensive that a spay can cost up to $500, depending on the age and size of your pet.  In truth, this is a major surgery; and to be done safely requires pre-operative blood tests, intravenous fluids, careful anesthesia monitoring, and a skilled surgeon. The estimated cost of a similar procedure (hysterectomy) for an uninsured woman at a hospital can be up to $10,000!

An important factor in the cost of veterinary medicine is overhead.  In human medicine, you would go to your doctor’s office, then perhaps a radiology center, laboratory, dentist, surgeon, hospital, or pharmacy. These services are all under one roof at a veterinary hospital.  In addition, there are operating expenses associated with having enough staff to provide all these services.

You may already know that it is harder to get admitted into a veterinary medical school than a human medical school.  What you may not know is that they have similar tuition costs and student debt, but new graduate veterinarians make much less income than their human medicine counterparts.  The bottom line is that we feel called to the profession by our love of animals much more so than for financial reasons – and we really want to provide the best care for your pet.

As a pet owner, you may be able to avoid larger veterinary bills down the road by taking a proactive approach to your pet’s health.   Annual veterinary exams that include any needed vaccines, routine diagnostics, and diligent dental care are important.  Keeping your pet on a good quality diet, at a healthy weight, and with enough exercise can prevent many medical problems.  And, if your pet seems ill, bringing them in for medical care early on can be less costly than waiting until their condition worsens and requires more complicated treatment.

To assist owners with their pet’s medical costs, many hospitals offer “Wellness Plans” (like VCA Care Club) where a monthly fee covers well-pet preventative care services.   Pet insurance can be extremely helpful, especially if something medically serious (and expensive) happens.  And, a one-year interest-free credit card through “Care Credit’ is available that can be used for veterinary costs as well as at many other medical facilities.

VCA Desert Animal Hospital located at 4299 E. Ramon Road, Palm Springs,
CA 92264. Visit www.vcadesert.com 760-656-6222


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