Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Dec 30, 2021

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The Lowdown

  • Veterinary visits can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars
  • Emergency visits to the veterinarian are more costly than annual well visits
  • Pet insurance can help you cover the cost of well and sick veterinary visits for your pet

Getting a family pet is an exciting experience. But people often forget about annual screenings and additional medical care that pets require. If you own a pet, you will eventually need to take your animal to the veterinarian. But how much does a vet visit cost?

Depending on your reason for visiting the veterinarian, your bill could be hundreds or even thousands of dollars. So if you have a pet or are considering getting one, you should consider purchasing pet insurance to help cover the cost of well, sick, and potential emergency veterinary visits.

You can use our free tool above to find and compare quotes for pet insurance from companies in your area that provide this unique type of coverage.

How much does a veterinary visit cost?

Nearly every pet needs to see a veterinarian at least once a year. These annual well visits allow pets to remain up-to-date on necessary vaccines and to ensure that they are healthy.

Well visits for your pet will likely cost approximately $100 or less. This will depend on the type of animal as well as the extensiveness of the medical examination.

If your pet is sick, however, you might pay far more for just one visit to the veterinarian. If your furry friend requires an initial visit, a test, or an examination, the following fees may be included:

  • Routine checkup — $50-$200
  • Spay/neuter — $160-$220
  • Vaccines (per shot) — $10-$25
  • Physical exams — $50
  • Fecal test — $25-$45
  • Heartworm test — $50
  • Dental cleaning — $100-$400
  • Allergy test — $200-$300
  • Geriatric screening — $85-$100

As you can see, the simple and standard reasons why you may be taking your pet to the veterinarian can cost you a lot of money. The fee for veterinary visits only increases if your animal is sick or in some sort of emergency situation.

For example, some surgical procedures and unexpected veterinary costs include the following:

  • Bloodwork — $100-$200
  • X-rays — $150-$250
  • Ultrasounds — $300-$600
  • Short hospitalizations — $600-$2,000
  • Long-term hospitalizations — $1,500-$4,000
  • Wound treatment — $800-$2,500
  • Emergency surgery — $1,500-$5,000
  • Oxygen therapy — $500-$3,000

So, how much does an emergency vet visit cost? The answer will vary depending on your location, the type of pet you have, and other factors. But the truth remains the same — veterinary visits for your animal can cost way more than you expect.

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How do veterinary costs vary between dogs and cats?

In many cases, procedures for cats can be less expensive than for dogs. This is often because dogs — especially larger breeds — are more expensive to treat or sedate.

But how much does a vet visit cost for a cat? And how much is an emergency vet visit for a dog? The only people who can tell you for certain are the people who work at your veterinarian’s office.

While the average cost to own a dog or a cat is anywhere from $1,400 to $6,000 annually, there’s no telling how much individual care will cost until you actually need it.

How can I mitigate the cost of veterinary visits?

One of the best ways to help cover veterinary visits for your animal is to purchase pet insurance, which can cost anywhere from $10 to $150 a month. However, the potential coverage for your pet can be very helpful.

The table below highlights some of the coverages included with most standard pet insurance policies.

CoverageMore Info
AccidentsThis includes broken bones, poisoning, car accident, lacerations, foreign object ingestion which results in surgery. This also includes accidents that happen while hunting or in the line of service.
IllnessIncluding cancer, diabetes, arthritis, allergies, cruciate ligament injuries, skin and ear infections, urinary tract infections, and epilepsy.
Cancer Coverage for blood work, MRIs, surgery, medication, and chemotherapy.
Hereditary & congenital conditionsIncludes hip and elbow dysplasia, luxating patella, cherry eye, IVDD, Wobbler Syndrome, glaucoma, and epilepsy.
Emergency careSee any licensed veterinarian, including emergency centers and specialists. Includes operations to remove foreign bodies like swallowed socks, surgeries for mass removals, and more. Plan also covers pre-anesthesia tests.
Prescriptions medicationsPlans cover a wide range of prescription medications.
Ongoing/ chronic conditionsYour pet will still be covered up to your plan’s maximum benefit, even if treatment spans many months or years.
DiagnosticsIncludes exams, bloodwork, MRIs, CAT scans, pathology reports and X-rays.
Older petsThere is no upper age limits for pets. Plans don’t reduce or cancel coverage based on your pet’s age.
Full coverage without spay or neuterProstate problems, hormonal skin conditions, perianal tumors, mammary tumors, uterine and ovarian conditions, as well as injury due to motor vehicle or aggressive behavior whether or not your pet is spayed or neutered
Behavioral conditionsCovers behavioral consults with, and/or medication prescribed by, a licensed veterinarian.
Dental coveragePlans include coverage for periodontal disease. For pets age 0 to age 2, there is no teeth cleaning requirement in order to have periodontal coverage. For pets aged 3+, Pets Best will verify with your vet that a teeth cleaning was completed in the previous 13 months under general anesthesia. As long as the teeth cleaning comes through with no signs or symptoms of periodontal disease, your pet will have coverage if this develops.
Prosthetic devices and wheelchairsWhen prescribed or provided by a licensed veterinarian to treat a covered accident or illness.
EuthanasiaCovers euthanasia for humane reasons.
Coverage while travelingYour pet can be treated by any licensed veterinarian anywhere in the US, Canada, or Puerto Rico.
Exam feesPlans include coverage for exam fees when your pet is seen by a licensed veterinarian for covered accidents and illnesses.
Acupuncture and chiropractic treatmentsPlans include coverage for acupuncture and chiropractic treatments administered by a licensed veterinarian.
Physical rehabilitationCovers hydrotherapy, cold laser and physical therapy.
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As you can see, pet insurance covers surgery, prescription needs, and much more in most cases. If you have a furry friend, or you’re thinking about purchasing one, pet insurance is a good thing to consider.

Should I purchase pet insurance?

Purchasing pet insurance is a great idea if you own an animal. This is especially true if you have a dog or a cat, as pet insurance is more likely to apply to them than to any other animal you acquire.

We recommend that you do some online research to determine which companies in your area are offering pet insurance. You can also compare quotes from multiple companies simultaneously to determine who will offer you and your family pet the best deal on coverage.

In fact, you can use our free quote tool below to begin searching for pet insurance today.