One of the most frequent questions I get from pet owners is, “I just paid (insert dollar figure here) for (insert procedure here) at my veterinarian’s office. Doesn’t that seem like a lot?”

 

The reasons behind the high cost of veterinary visits are numerous. In general, owners are demanding a better standard of care than they used to and this obviously costs more than “old school” veterinary medicine. Also, the expense of a veterinary education (typically eight years of college) has gone through the roof, and doctors have to earn more to pay off what can be a staggering debt after graduation.

 

But owners can do a lot to reduce the chances that they will be faced with an unpleasant financial surprise at the veterinary office. Taking advantage of appropriate preventative care (vaccines, parasite prevention, dental prophylaxes, weight management, etc.) and husbandry (keeping cats inside and leash walking dogs) will eliminate many unwanted veterinary expenses.

 

It also does help to know what injuries and illnesses are likely to occur and how much it costs to treat them. Drawing on their extensive database, Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) has put together just these sorts of lists.

 

Top 10 Medical Conditions in Dogs

 

Average Cost of Treatment

 

  1. Atopy/allergic skin disease

$189

  1. Outer ear infection

$150

  1. Benign skin mass

$339

  1. Skin infection and/or hotspot

$118

  1. Osteoarthritis

$293

  1. Stomach upset

$268

  1. Dental/gum disease

$298

  1. Intestinal upset

$132

  1. Urinary tract infection/inflammation

$274

  1. Soft tissue trauma

$226

 

 

Top 10 Medical Conditions in Cats

 

Average Cost of Treatment

 

  1. Lower urinary tract disease

$425

  1. Dental/gum disease

$327

  1. Chronic kidney disease

$633

  1. Stomach upset

$328

  1. Hyperthyroidism

$396

  1. Intestinal upset

$185

  1. Diabetes mellitus

$779

  1. Inflammatory bowel disease or acquired lymphangiectasia

$365

  1. Upper respiratory infection

$189

  1. Lymphosarcoma/lymphoma

$1959

 

 

Top 10 Surgical Conditions in Dogs

 

Average Cost of Treatment

 

  1. Benign skin mass

$999

  1. Skin abscess, inflammation, or pressure ulcer

$458

  1. Tooth extraction

$829

  1. Torn cruciate ligament/cartilage

$2667

  1. Malignant skin mass (cancer)

$1434

  1. Cancer of the spleen

$1875

  1. Cancer of the eyelid

$717

  1. Bladder stones

$1231

  1. Cancer of the liver

$8539

  1. Aural hematoma (blood filled ear flap)

$296

 

 

Top 10 Surgical Conditions in Cats

 

Average Cost of Treatment

 

  1. Tooth extraction

$924

  1. Skin abscess, inflammation, or pressure ulcer

$458

  1. Benign skin mass

$291

  1. Bladder stones

$985

  1. Cancer of the abdominal wall

$813

  1. Malignant skin mass (cancer)

$1508

  1. Multiple bite wounds

$266

  1. Cancer of the liver

$779

  1. Cancer of the mouth

$1102

  1. Cancer of the nasal cavity

$927

 

The numbers are good ballpark figures, but remember that every case is unique. To avoid unpleasant surprises, get an estimate of the cost of treatment in advance. If you still end up with questions regarding your bill, ask your veterinarian for an explanation.

 

Pet insurance or a savings account set aside for veterinary care are good ways to make sure you can always meet your pet’s medical needs.

 

 

Dr. Jennifer Coates

 

 

References

 

Few surprises atop VPI’s Top 10 list. DVM360. June 2015.

 

Top 10 Pet Surgeries. VPI. Accessed 6/16/2015.

 

 

Image: Ivonne Wierink / Shutterstock