Pet Info

Why Are Veterinary Fees So High?

Article appears courtesy of Dr Jim Martin: Valuvet

Your local GP probably has consulting fees which are similar to vets, but have you ever considered the difference in the vet's situation. The GP usually practices in a group of three or more doctors at a medical centre. He shares one receptionist, one reception area, one computer and printer, and a waiting room, with his colleagues. This could also be the case with your vet, and so far they may be on an even footing, cost wise.

The GP requires one consulting and examination area and basic instrumentation, i.e. a stethoscope, blood pressure machine, otoscope, ophthalmoscope, a speculum, a thermometer, torch, percussion hammer, tongue depressors and a pen; all of which he would purchase for less than $1,000. He does not have to provide hospital facilities (e.g. operating theatre, ICU, in-house laboratory or radiology) and pay nursing staff. Every person who pays taxes provides the hospital with its facilities, staff, and equipment.

On the other hand, a vet must either own or rent a hospital facility worth $400,000-$600,000 for the majority, in a city area. Many cost much more. If he/she doesn't own, he/she will be paying a rent- $40,000 to $60,000 per year.

Basic vet instruments and equipment would cost about $150,000 to buy new. To open business, vets must make major capital expenditure and are entitled to expect a reasonable return on this investment. In all probability, this return is required to support the bank loan and mortgage costs.

In addition, your vet pays reception, nursing, cleaning staff and purchases a stock of drugs (at least $25,000 for every vet in the practice). Most vets need to recoup over $100,000 p.a. before they get any return for their own efforts. So if your GP charges $35 for a consultation, your vet should be charging something like $105 to be equally compensated.

Remember, GP's only have to treat the human species, but vets require facilities and equipment to treat many animal species, which often have different requirements in equipment, instrumentation and drugs.

This simple comparison emphasises vet fees to be most reasonable under the circumstances. Because vets are so committed to the welfare of animals, they don't charge fees that could be justified.

See also...
Tour of BHVG and its Facilities