For dogs about 44 per cent of the total cost of an animals care is spent on veterinary services (around $450) per year. For cats this is around 38 per cent a year. This would include heart worm prevention, flea treatment and vaccinations. However, the cost will vary depending on any extra treatment an animal may require.

Pet owners should be made aware of the range of treatment choices available to them by their vet, who may also suggest pet insurance as an option to help deal with some of the unexpected costs of medical treatment.

Providing your pet with regular veterinary check ups and using these visits to seek advice for the best ways to care for the four legged members of the family are a basic requirement of responsible pet ownership. Animal ownership does cost money, time and energy, but the numerous human health and social benefits that pets return are well documented.

Why have vet fees gone up so much?

The price of everything has gone up over the past 15 years. Another reason is that pets are often much loved members of the family, so owners want to do everything possible when they get sick. There are a lot more options now as well, with new treatments using more advanced technology. These do come at a cost, and there’s no Medicare for pets so owners foot the bill if they want to take advantage of the options available.

Why do fees vary so much?

As with all businesses, costs vary from place to place. Prices will be slightly different even for Woolworths from one suburb to the next.

As you would expect, providing 24-hour emergency services does cost more and this will be paid for by the pet owner. The same happens when you need out-of-hours service from a plumber or locksmith.

Often procedures aren’t exactly the same either – for example a caesarean section could produce 13 puppies or one puppy, and different animals might require different drugs.

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