How Much Does a Vet Visit Cost? Average Cost in 2024 · The Wildest

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How Much Does a Vet Visit Cost? Average Cost in 2024

And why those price tags look like they do.

by Savannah Admire
May 23, 2024
Smiling woman happy at the animal clinic with the veterinarian.
AntonioDiaz / Adobe Stock

When it’s time to take your pet to the veterinarian again, you’re likely just as bummed as they are — just for different reasons. While your dog or cat may dread the trip in the car or their experience in the clinic, you may be more worried about the bill awaiting you on the way out. Why are vets so expensive? And is there any way to reduce the cost for vet visits

A bunch of different things affect how much you’ll spend at the vet, not least of which is the medical care your pet needs. You may find yourself paying anywhere from $150 to over $1,000, which can be hard to swallow, no matter how much you love them.

Things like pet insurance, pet wellness plans, and payment plans can help reduce vet visit costs — and help put your mind at ease when it’s time for that annual appointment. But it’s also important to understand the average cost of a trip to the vet, so you’re prepared for that bill when it’s time to check out. 

Factors that influence vet costs

So how much does a vet visit cost? How much you’ll pay at your pet’s next vet appointment depends on a lot of factors, like what type of pet you have, any health issues they deal with, and even where you live. Below we break down some of the factors that can impact your cat or dog vet visit costs:

  • Breed and size: Some types of pets are more prone to specific health conditions. For example, larger dogs are more susceptible to joint issues.

  • Location/region: Just like any other expense, veterinary care is more expensive in cities and on the coasts compared to other parts of the country. If your region is more expensive to live in, you’ll likely pay more at the vet.

  • Age: Younger puppies and kittens often have higher bills at the vet because they need their core vaccines. Senior pets are also more expensive because of age-related health concerns.

  • Services: Routine annual check-ups are often the least expensive. The average vet visit cost goes up when you add on vaccines, blood work, or screenings, especially those that use medical equipment. Specialty care for your pet can be especially costly. 

Average vet-visit costs

So, just how much do vet visits cost? An average vet visit for a dog or cat is usually under $100 for the appointment itself, with additional charges for:

  • Vaccinations or booster shots ($15 to $28)

  • Testing (heartworm tests average $45 to $50)

  • Fecal exams ($25 to $45)

  • Blood work and urinalysis ($85 to $110)

  • Dental work (cleaning can cost around $150 to $500 or more)

Keep in mind that these are just averages, and costs may be higher or lower based on your location, your pet’s age, and other factors. 

Routine vet visit cost

A routine veterinary visit is usually around $50 to $75 for both cats and dogs but can run $250 or more depending on what vaccinations, testing, or other care your pet needs. Pet wellness plans or pet insurance can be helpful in preparing for regular vet visits. 

Dental cleaning

Dental care for your pet can be costly, which is why it’s important to brush and care for your pet’s teeth throughout their life. Dental cleaning alone can cost $150 to $500 or even $1,000 or more.

Parasite prevention and treatment

Without proper care, your pet can be susceptible to parasites, like fleas and ticks. You can purchase oral medication or topical treatments to protect your pet from parasites, which can cost anywhere from $40 to $200, depending on your pet’s size and the type of treatment.

Basic blood work and diagnostic tests

If your pet is suffering from a particular illness, they’ll likely need to undergo testing for the vet to properly diagnose them. This testing can include anything from heartworm testing ($45 to $50), allergy testing ($80 to $300), or testing for specific conditions, like feline leukemia virus ($60 to $120). 

First vet-visit cost

Adopting a puppy or kitten comes with plenty of fun — and significant expenses. A first vet visit can be pricey, but it’s critical to establish care with a vet and to ensure your new family member is healthy. 

During this initial visit, your puppy will receive a number of vaccinations, including distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus, and rabies. Kittens also receive multiple vaccines for feline viral rhinotracheitis, feline calicivirus, and feline panleukopenia. In addition to the visit itself, you’ll have to pay for each required vaccination and any testing your new pet needs, so the first vet visit could cost anywhere from $100 to $300. 

Emergency-vet-visit cost

Unfortunately, there may be occasions where your pet needs emergency, life-saving care outside of your veterinarian’s normal business hours. An emergency vet clinic can help your pet immediately, but be prepared to pay significantly more than you would at your regular vet.

So, how much does an emergency vet visit cost? A single visit to an emergency animal hospital may cost $500 to $1,000 or more, depending on the care your pet requires. 

Additional costs 

Many vet clinics offer additional services, such as grooming, boarding, and daycare. Boarding and daycare costs are usually per day and vary widely depending on location and the type of care. Grooming costs depend on your pet’s size and breed, as well as whether they need a quick bath and nail trim or a full haircut. 

Average vet-visit costs for cats vs. dogs

Routine vet visits for both dogs and cats tend to run around the same price, from $50 to $200 or more, depending on location and what care your pet needs. The average cost of a vet visit for cats will vary depending on what vaccinations they’re due to receive, and the same goes for the average cost of a vet visit for dogs.

Differences in common health issues and preventive care needs

Both dogs and cats need regular veterinary check-ups to monitor their health and look for any potential medical issues, like parasites. Dogs are more likely to have joint issues, especially as they age, while cats need to be tested for things like feline leukemia (FeLV) that are particular to their species.

Your veterinarian can help guide on what testing your pet needs based on their species, breed, and age.

Average costs for routine check-ups

A routine vet check-up can cost anywhere from $50 to $250. Usually, the visit itself is under $100 with additional costs for vaccinations, prescriptions, and any other required medical care. For example, vaccines average $15 to $28 per shot, and a fecal exam would cost an additional $25 to $45. 

Spaying/neutering costs

For new pet parents, spaying or neutering is one of the biggest veterinary costs. These surgeries average $150 to $220, depending on the pet’s sex, age, and other factors. Fortunately, if you’re on a budget, you can look for low-cost spay/neuter clinics in your area. And if you adopt from a shelter or rescue, many organizations handle the cost of the surgery for you. 

FAQs (People also ask):

Why are vet bills so expensive? 

Just like medical doctors, veterinarians have the training and expertise required to treat your pet for a variety of health issues, as well as prescribe medications. Veterinarians also have to run a clinic, which includes bills, purchasing up-to-date equipment, and paying their staff.

What is the average cost of a vet visit for a cat? 

A standard yearly check-up or wellness exam for a cat is usually around $100 to $200 but may be more depending on your location and other factors. 

What is the average cost of a vet visit for a dog? 

The average cost of a regular vet visit for a dog is anywhere from $50 to $250, depending on what vaccinations your dog requires.

References:

Savannah Admire

Savannah Admire is a writer, editor, and pet parent to two dogs and a cat. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, playing Animal Crossing, or being an obnoxious nerd about her favorite movies and TV shows. She lives in Maryland, where she constantly debates whether or not to get a third dog.

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