An emergency vet visit is not something you should joke around with. If your animal is hurt, you cannot wait until the morning hours to take it to the vet clinic. It needs immediate attention since it will become worse without proper treatment. When an emergency situation happens, you need to know that a top-notch vet hospital is close by, and the prices are affordable. However, the question is: How much does an emergency vet visit cost?
How much does an emergency vet visit cost?
Unfortunately, there are many pet parents like yourself that have experienced this heartbreaking situation. The cost of an emergency vet visit can range from $300 to $3,000 or more. These costs will vary depending on the severity of the condition that your pet is experiencing and the necessary tests and treatments needed to resolve it.
For example, a dog hit by a car and paralyzed may need surgery costing $1,500 to $3,000. A dog with a broken leg might need $400 to $800 in care.
In addition to the cost of treatment, there may be additional charges for things like:
- Admission and consultation fees
- Bloodwork and laboratory testing
- X-rays and radiology exams
- IV catheterization and fluids
- Emergency resuscitation
- Medications administered during hospitalization
If your pet is injured or ill and needs immediate attention, don’t worry about money first — rush your pet to an emergency vet clinic. You’ll have time later to figure out how to pay for it.
The cost of veterinary care can feel overwhelming. There are many factors that affect how much you’ll pay for an emergency vet visit, but most pet owners should have some idea of what they’re up against.
An emergency vet hospital is equipped with advanced medical equipment, including an X-ray machine, an ultrasound machine and other diagnostic tools. Most hospitals also have the ability to offer more specialized care such as surgery and overnight monitoring. The cost of this equipment is factored into the fees you pay for treatment.
The majority of emergency vets work in teams. They may include veterinarians, technicians, assistants and support staff to handle your pet’s needs. The cost of these professionals’ time and expertise is another factor when it comes to determining the cost of an emergency vet visit.
Many emergency vet clinics are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; this means that they typically charge more than a regular veterinary clinic that has normal business hours. That’s because they still need to maintain their facility when business is slow; otherwise, they won’t have the resources to provide quality care when your pet needs it most.
Do emergency vets cost more?
In most cases, yes. Emergency or out-of-hours veterinary services are more expensive than traditional vets. The reason for this is simple costing practices. Here is an estimated breakdown of the costs related to out-of-hours veterinary care.
Of the total price you are charged for emergency medical treatment, around 65% goes towards clinic staff costs, 6-8% to cover drugs and other consumable equipment, 10% clinical running costs, 13-15% for office costs and a minuscule 5% is profit.
Should I go to the emergency vet?
Approximately 90% of all domestic pets will require some form of emergency or out-of-hours treatment in their lifetime, but when should you use an emergency vet?
If you are unsure whether your pet needs urgent treatment, you should telephone your local emergency vet. A telephone call costs nothing and simply explaining your pet’s symptoms will enable the veterinarian to determine if the situation is urgent.
If your pet displays any of the following symptoms you should seek urgent veterinary care immediately:
- Loss of consciousness
- Breathing difficulties
- Broken, or suspected broken bones
- Significant or prolonged bleeding
- Swelling around the head and/or neck
- Heatstroke symptoms
- Frothing around the mouth
- Chronic vomiting
- Ingestion of toxic substances ie medicine, pesticides, chocolate
- Snakebite (rare)
Listen carefully to any advice the vet gives you over the phone. Be clear if you are unable to get to a vet clinic and give your address so the veterinarian can come to you as quickly as possible.
Do you have to pay emergency vet bills right away?
Ideally, you will want to pay your bill right away, but in reality, this may not be possible. Often, life gets in the way and you may not have the money available.
If you have pet insurance, you should be able to make a claim to cover the cost of the emergency treatment, provided your policy covers the type of care your pet has received.
If you do not have pet insurance or your policy does not cover the treatment, there are other options. Many vets will agree to a payment plan, especially if you have always paid on time for previous visits. This typically involves making a regular monthly payment until the bill is paid.
Can you negotiate vet bills?
Negotiating your vet bills can be tricky. The important thing to remember here is that most of the costs go towards covering clinic fees, medication and staff wages, so very little is profit for the clinic.
Your veterinary clinic may not agree to reduce the fees on your bill, but they may agree to a payment plan instead.
When negotiating your vet bill, be sure to acknowledge the staff staying late to help your pet and that they are giving up precious hours at home with their families.
Conclusion of emergency vet visit cost
The majority of the costs at an emergency clinic will be for the treatments your pet receives, but there are other fees to keep in mind.
A typical trip to a full-service, 24-hour emergency vet will cost between $300 and $1,500 or more. This is a rough estimate and is not meant to replace a detailed quote from a licensed professional.
If you have pet insurance, you will most likely be able to file claims for any emergency vet visits. However, many plans cover only a percentage of the cost, so it’s wise to have some savings set aside in case of an unexpected injury or illness.
There are some things you can do to help cover the cost of an emergency vet visit, even if you don’t have pet insurance. It is important to remember that financial assistance may be available through CareCredit or Scratchpay.
You could consider opening a new credit card that offers 0% APR on purchases. With one of these cards, you won’t be charged any interest as long as you pay off the balance before the promotional period ends (typically between 6 and 12 months). You’ll need to be approved for a new credit card with a large enough credit limit to cover your vet bill.
If your pet is expecting costly medical bills in the future, you might want to consider investing in pet insurance. Not all policies are equal though, so make sure you read the small print carefully before choosing one.
Finally, don’t hesitate to ask for a payment plan option. Most clinics will offer this and it’s a good way to work out a budget without having to stress about paying the full amount at once.