The Cost of Veterinary Care
The Cost of Veterinary Care
For many pet owners, the cost of veterinary care can be frustrating. “Why does a simple ear infection cost so much?” “How on Earth am I supposed to be able to afford the costs involved after my dog was run over?” “How can the removal of a tiny lump really cost that much?”
These, and many more, are the sort of questions we hear every day, so we thought it was about time to try and explain why the costs of veterinary care are what they are and what you can do about them.
The cost of veterinary care is a lot less than for similar procedures on the human side of medicine, yet the veterinary profession still has similar levels of overheads to pay for. In the UK, we are extremely fortunate to have a National health Service for humans which shields us from the true costs of medical treatments which makes it come as more of a shock when we are presented with bills for reduced cost veterinary care.
It is worth thinking about what costs need to be met by veterinary practices, such as AlphaPet, in order to provide appropriate veterinary care 24/7 every day of the year.
Like any business, AlphaPet has to pay for the buildings we operate from in addition to the electricity, gas, water and business rates. We also have additional costs such as oxygen supply, anaesthetic machine maintenance, fire and intruder alarms, air-conditioning, clinical waste disposal, radiation inspection, other equipment maintenance and inspections etc etc. We also have to carry buildings, contents and liability insurance. Unfortunately, equipment wears out or becomes out of date and needs replacing periodically which are significant capital costs.
All drugs and consumables have to be paid for - everything from the cost of the prescriptions you go home with, to the medicines and consumables used to clean up that wound or the syringe used to vaccinate your pet, right through to the drugs used to put your pet under anaesthesia. Nothing comes for free these days and the costs charged to AlphaPet by our suppliers are rising all the time. We do our best to source medicines and consumables as economically as possible, but the costs we incur inevitably have to be paid for through the fees we charge - and they all mount up.
Unfortunately, we don’t have the buying power of the likes of Tescos, so the costs of drugs and consumables to us can be more than to some of the online suppliers (who also do not have our overheads).
Did you know that veterinary salaries are around half those of their human medical equivalents? None of us came into veterinary medicine for the money (no matter what the rumours might be!). We all do it because we want to care for animals. But as much as we may love our jobs and love the animals we are treating, we all still need to earn a salary to pay the same sort of bills as you do. This means we need to run as a modestly profitable business otherwise we won’t be here next year to care for your pets.
AlphaPet, unlike many modern practices, has chosen to continue to offer in-house 24/7 emergency care. This means we have to pay staff to be available every hour of every day in case your pet needs us. This is an expensive service to provide. Many other practices have made the decision to reduce their costs and close at night and at weekends, preferring to send their patients to unfamiliar practices in Portsmouth or Worthing for emergency treatment. We are not happy to do this to our patients or clients.
Additionally, as professionals (vets and nurses), we also have to maintain a certain number of hours of continuing education every year in order to remain practicing. This is another added cost but one which is essential for us to continue to offer the very best, up to date, veterinary healthcare.
So when your vet next makes a recommendation or presents an estimate for your pet’s care, please remember that there is a lot that is taken into account but the over-riding value is your pet’s health and happiness.
At AlphaPet, we do recommend that you plan for the cost of your pet’s veterinary care. Please consider our Pet Health Club and Pet Insurance. Being financially responsible for your pets enables us to continue to offer both you and your pet the best possible veterinary care and value.