Finance: Why are veterinarians so expensive?
In the current state of the economy, pet owners are repeatedly asking, “Why are Vets So Expensive?.” Many times, pet owners see pet healthcare as a commodity. Therefore, when cutting down costs, pet healthcare is the first to go. However, you might be saving money but at the same time you are putting your pet’s life at risk. As dramatic as that sounds, it is in fact very true.
Many times when it comes to pets in need of veterinary attention, more than often people don’t hesitate to expect the veterinarian to offer a big discount or treat an animals for free. When this does not occur, many times people are disappointed, and even outraged if the veterinarian does not meet these expectations. But understand that veterinarians have put in times, money, and schooling to provide your animal with healthcare, and should be expected to be treated with respect and consideration that their practice is a business as well. However, although it may be looked upon as too expensive, veterinarians are generous and will go the extra mile to provide your animal with appropriate healthcare.
Why so expensive?
For starters, a veterinary hospital or clinic is a business. Just like any other business, veterinarians have to pay bills. Besides utilities and rent, majority of the bills are used to pay for equipment such as a X-ray machine and an ultrasound, both costing between $30,000 to $90,000. On top of those payments, salary is another large amount that is deducted each month from the total revenue of the practice.
According to the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association, the average veterinarian graduates with about $142,613.00 in debt. And after the debt has been paid, a veterinarian usually makes between $45,000 and $106,000 depending on experience. Looking at the other profession’s salaries below, it is evident that veterinarians are doing all things that the other professions do--providing healthcare--however, are getting paid significantly less.
- Family Physician: $75,000 to $204,000
- Pharmacist: $50,000 to $130,000
- Dentist: $61,000 to $201,000
- Ophthalmologist: $93,000 to $304,000
- General Surgeon: $65,000 to $368,000
Next, it is important to understand the breakdown of each of the veterinarians charges. Pet owners may believe there are hefty fees for only being in the office for 20 minutes, however, within those 20 minutes, a lot is being done to protect your animal.
- Office visits
- Medical procedures
Seeing how veterinary practices are a business, it is very difficult to give discounts or set payment plans. Based on precedent, many times clients who attempt to set up payment plans eventually end up not paying the full amount. If a veterinarian offers one client a discount, more than likely they will go tell their friends, and pretty soon, their friends will be asking for discounts for their pets. So what can be done if clients cannot pay the necessary funds and bills to provide their pet with healthcare? Well there are a number of organizations and finance agencies that can assist with funding.