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The Annual Vet Visit Cost: What to Expect

Budget Accordingly for Your Pet's Next Check-Up

By Meredith Alling. August 13, 2013 | See Comments

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The Annual Vet Visit Cost: What to Expect

Annual vet visits are important in maintaining your pet's health for years to come. Learn here what an annual check-up may cost so you can budget before your next visit.

Taking your pet to the veterinarian once a year is a must. These annual check-ups are an opportunity for the physician to give your four-legged friend a once over, and it’s also when your pet will receive their vaccination boosters and undergo certain health tests. So what does a standard vet visit cost?

These visits play an important role in maintaining your pet’s overall health, and every owner should expect to spend a certain amount on an appointment each year. Here we’ll break down the typical cost of an annual vet visit.

Basic Costs

Once your dog or cat is into adulthood, these are the basic services that every pet parent should expect to pay for at the annual vet visit.

  • Office Call: This is the cost of the appointment and physical examination, and can vary widely depending on your geographic location and the veterinarian, or clinic, that you choose. The average cost is $45-$55.

  • Vaccine Boosters: Vaccine boosters are shots administered after the initial dose to keep the vaccine effective. Some of your pet’s vaccinations may require boosters while others may not, but most pets require 2-4 boosters each year. The average cost for booster shots ranges between $18-$25.

  • Heartworm Test: This annual test checks for heartworm disease, which is a serious and potentially deadly condition caused by parasitic worms. Blood testing for this disease generally costs $45-$50.

  • Fecal Exam: Fecal exams are performed to identify gastrointestinal parasites, and the importance of this testing as part of the annual check-up has grown in recent years. The average cost falls somewhere around $25-$45.

Additional Costs

Depending on your pet’s age or medical condition, you may need to pay for additional services at the annual vet visit.

  • Geriatric Screening: Older pets (typically 7 years and up) will require geriatric screening. This is a more comprehensive exam that may include complete blood work and chemistry, urinalysis, x-rays, and more. The typical cost for this type of exam is $85-$110.

  • Dental Cleaning: A dental cleaning is performed when your vet sees gingivitis in your pet’s mouth or notices bleeding during brushing. Many pets have their teeth cleaned once a year at the annual check-up. This procedure generally costs $70-$400, and will vary for dogs and cats.

  • Allergy Testing: Just like humans, dogs and cats can develop allergies and will typically exhibit symptoms such as itching, licking, and sneezing. If you suspect that your pet is suffering from allergies, your veterinarian may suggest an allergy test. Allergy testing is performed one of two ways -- with an intradermal skin test or with a blood test. Skin testing generally costs $195-$250, and blood testing generally costs $200-$300.

  • Surgery And Other Health Issues: If your pet has to undergo surgery, or has other health issues that require treatment, the cost can run into the thousands depending on your pet’s specific issue.

Taking your pet to the veterinarian once a year shouldn’t be treated as optional -- it’s a necessity. Be sure to budget for the visit along with any additional costs that may arise. If you are having trouble paying for your pet’s annual health care, you may want to look into purchasing pet insurance or a prescription plan for pets, such as PetPlus.

Want to spend less on vet visits?

Sign up for PetPlus, the first ever prescription plan for pets. Find out how much a membership will help you save.

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This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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