With household energy pricing and general cost of living rapidly increasing, there is no doubt you have been hunting for the best money saving deals…but how can this be applied to the veterinary world?
How to find out the prices:
From your laptop or mobile, you can often compare general prices via each veterinary practices’ website. Most websites will have a ‘pricing’ section, which allows you to identify the general pricing of consults, vaccinations and routine surgeries. These prices are often very competitive. There are no comparison sites which do it for you; but you can easily compare them by noting down the different pricing details. The prices generally listed include costs of items which nearly every client will use. Hence them being very important prices to compare. Be sure to check out any deals or multi-pet discount plans practices may offer too.
Be aware that the vets will usually only show you some things, not others.
You will usually only see the most common routine treatments (e.g. vaccinations, neutering)
They usually won’t tell you what the costs of follow ups are, if your pet should be ill, or surgical fees for non-routine surgery. This is partly to keep the prices section as short as possible. But also because it comes down to “how long’s a piece of string”. One Labrador who eats a pair of socks (say) might be in and out of surgery in under an hour, because the lodged somewhere easy to get to. Another might take 3 or 4 hours for the same op, and involve removal of lengths of bowel, because they were less lucky and the errant socks blocked a loop of bowel and were difficult to extract.
Medications will not be comparable via practice websites
This is because there are far too many drugs for veterinary practices to list them all on a website. Practices are able to bulk buy medication, depending on stock levels and purchase volume; but product name and pricing may vary slightly. The mark up on medication that each practice applies may also vary and because these prices are not included in practice’s website costings, it reduces the accuracy of their websites in representing the true costs of each veterinary practice.
You may also need to factor in dispensing or prescription charges, which can vary dramatically between practices.
If your pet has a chronic medical condition and needs medication to treat it on a monthly basis, you will be able to find out how much this medication would cost by calling up different practices for a price comparison. We strongly recommend you doing this and also finding out the price for a written prescription meaning you can then order the medication online. If a pet needs lifelong medication and you are struggling financially, doing as much research as possible to ensure the correct level of care can be provided is essential.
Some vets won’t tell you the prices on their website at all
That may be because the prices are higher. But it might also be because they’re a small independent practice; and constantly updating their website is so far down their “to-do” list that it hasn’t happened yet!
When thinking about the price of veterinary practices and which practice to attend, you must think about the bigger picture
Yes, the actual veterinary bill is important but there are other factors which should come into play too. Choosing a practice which is easy to get to, based on usual traffic and routes is important. Time is money, and if you spend lots of time in a car attempting to reach a location, you could have been using that time better. The mileage is important too… petrol prices have rocketed over the past year. Bringing your pet to the vets and collecting treatment will cost petrol money each time; so please take this into consideration.
Not only that, but you also need to have a veterinary practice close enough to travel to in case of an emergency, when time is of the essence, and you need your pet to receive high quality medical care as soon as possible. The longer you spend in the car, without adequate care or treatment, the poorer the prognosis is likely to be.
Customer service and ensuring a high level of client care is vital too
You need to select a veterinary practice who provides the service you require. Sometimes cheaper veterinary practices may have a longer wait time, shorter appointment slots and stricter policies for deposits or missed appointments. You need to ensure you are happy with the service offered and are not selecting a practice purely on price if you are going to feel unsatisfied by the level of care provided and want to seek veterinary help elsewhere too. Paying for treatment plans twice will generally cost a lot more.
If you are struggling financially, insurance is highly recommended
Insurance policies allow you to pay a monthly subscription of a fixed, small fee and in return, following payment of your excess, your insurance company will pay for any veterinary bills within your policy cover. Make sure you are completely aware of your inclusions and limitations with your policy prior to making claims. And be extremely honest when applying for your pet’s insurance to ensure you get accurate, reliable quotes.
To conclude, it is possible to shop around and compare for the best general prices for veterinary practices, however, every case is different and shopping to compare different drug prices will be time consuming and challenging to achieve.
Whilst pricing is important, please take into account the level of care and service you wish to receive from your veterinary practice when selecting which veterinary practice to register your pet with. Getting the right fit will work out as better value for money!