Vet bills

Read more about vet bill costs

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There’s no doubt that pets can be expensive. You can pay thousands of pounds for a pedigree dog or cat. You then have to budget for food, kennels, catteries and various pet accessories. And what about vet’s bills?

Cat in the hands of a vet

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Read more about vet treatment prices

Having a pet can often get expensive: not only can you pay thousands of pounds for a pedigree dog or cat, you also need to budget for food, kennels, catteries and various pet accessories. And what about vet fees?

The cost of vet bills in the UK has been on a steady rise for the past few years, so it’s perhaps no surprise that pet insurers paid out a record £775 million; in vet bills for sick or injured animals in 2017 - the equivalent of £2 million every day.

While the price of vet bills varies, certain cases certainly make a lasting impression: in 2016, a Cocker Spaniel  had to undergo treatment after swallowing a turkey baster on Christmas Day - the total cost of treatment was over £1,600.

What are the typical vet prices?

The cost of medical treatment for a sick animal varies widely. Dogs are usually more expensive than cats, and you can expect a big bill if you have an exotic pet that falls ill. The type of illness or injury will also affect the vet’s fees, with ongoing chronic conditions (such as arthritis or diabetes) tending to cost much more than a simple infection. Prices may vary depending on your location, vet, and pet - so it may be worth shopping around to find different prices for treatments in your area.

Surgery is one of the most expensive types of treatment - spaying and neutering typically starts at around £40 for cats, with prices going up to £200 for larger animals , while other surgical treatments tend to average around £1,500.  Blood tests and X-rays are also pricey treatments, and you could be looking at a bill of between £100 and £130 for blood tests, or as much as £300 for X-rays.

Do vets charge consultation fees?

Most vets in the UK charge consultation fees, and a general practice consultation with a vet typically costs about £60. However, consultations with specialist practitioners (for example cardiologists or neurologists) can often be higher.

How much do vets charge for emergency treatments?

If your animal is injured in a road accident at night or at the weekend, you might have to pay a supplement of up to £150 for out-of-hours emergency treatment – and if it involves an overnight stay at the practice, the bill could run to £500. The average cost of surgery is £1,500 and an ongoing treatment such as chemotherapy could come in at £5,000.

Spreading the cost of vet treatments

Figures from the Association of British Insurers suggest that one in three pets needs veterinary treatment each year – or you could look at it as saying every pet will need treatment once every three years. This is why pet insurance is so important. Most people would struggle to meet unexpected vet’s bills out of their own pocket, but insurance can help spread the cost and offer a financial lifeline to your pet.

Pet insurance premiums vary according to the type of policy and the type and age of the pet, but can start from as little as a few pounds each month. In other words, it’s a lot more affordable than emergency surgery after a road accident. Indeed, you’d probably save more than the cost of your premiums simply by making one claim on your policy.

Pet insurance limits and exclusions

Just make sure you read and digest the details of your policy. Many insurers impose a limit on the amount you can claim for a particular illness. Pet insurance also usually excludes pre-existing conditions and does not cover routine procedures such as vaccinations, neutering and spaying.

Pre-existing conditions are health issues from which your pet suffered before the insurance policy started - so for example, if your pet has had treatment for diabetes in the past, your new insurance policy may not cover any further treatment for diabetes. Instead, you’ll be expected to pay for this yourself.

Always be honest on your application form, as failure to disclose any relevant information could end up in a refusal by the insurer to stump up for a claim. It is also a condition of most pet plans that your pet should be well looked after and up to date with all its vaccinations.

Compare pet insurance quotes

You can compare pet insurance premiums using MoneySupermarket’s free, independent comparison service. It’s quick and easy, saving you time and money.


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