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The Annual Vet Visit Cost: What to Expect

Budget Accordingly for Your Pet's Next Check-Up

By 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. The vet visit is also when certain conditions, like arthritis, can be identified and given treatment, such as Rimadyl (or Carprofen). 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.

Find a Vet in Your Area
More on Pet Care Costs

How Much Should Neutering a Pet Cost?
How Much Should Spaying a Pet Cost?
What Are the Pros and Cons of Pet Insurance?
The Cost of Cat Boarding: Economical to Luxury
What's the Cost to Kennel a Dog?

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.


Oh thanks for the support. I haven't been on in a few days because we just had a funeral for Gary. Funny thing is, I live in Scandinavia too! We should meet up.


I hope you're okay. Grief with pets is very hard. I went through a couple of months ago when my pet badger died of a Marijuana overdose. If you need anything Abe just reply to this comment. Maybe we could go for coffee. I live in Scandinavia so travel may be difficult.


Thanks for the support Harry, but Gary had some internal bleeding so i had him put down. Lets just say my mouth have never tasted such good pineapple before.




I have a pet pineapple called Gary. Recently, Gary has started having spasms. Should I take him to the vets or just give him medical Marijuana? Which works best?


oh wait he just died. its okay but if this happens to your hippo take him to the vet.


I have a pet hippopotamus and he is vomiting too. He also gets frequent blood noses and he has bad gas oh and he is pregnant. Are these symptoms of death because i want to find out before taking him to the vet.


Worms? No one will know until your dog is seen by a vet. Could be any number of things.


Thank you!!! I have a senior dog who needs to be checked for low thyroid, and i was told that the blood test was going to be $250!!! Since moving to Brighton, the cost of vet bills has skyrocketed, there are NO low cost vets here at all. And if you are a senior yourself, and on a fixed income, there is not ONE vet clinic I have called that will work with you, they just give you a 10% discount. As it is, she (my dog) is going without the test AND the medicine until I can figure this out.


WE must be paying through the nose in Colorado then, because all these 'national averages" I see here and on other sites are WAAAYYYY low for what we pay in Colorado, even at discount vets or low-income vet clinics or with discounts to shelters offered for fosters. I guess because Coloradans have so many pets we are considered to be able to afford higher costs? That doesn't seem right! We take in so many rescues from other states too! Our generosity is working against us, it seems. Since the rest of our costs (housing, commercial lease rates, gas and other business operating costs are NOT as high as either coast where I am seeing lower vet rates, test rates, medicine rates and since we have so many Vets and Clinics, its seems on every corner (so it is not a supply/demand issue) one must wonderf. From someone who knows: multiple pet owner of senior pets, adopter of medical special needs rescues and former foster. (and I have lived in other states where vet costs were lower).
PS. And yes, I obtained quotes for Pet Insurance the rates were exhorbitant for the senior pets I took in...thousands a year --I might as well pay cash.


I took my 14 yr old dog in for a once over, lets see.
Exam-office visit. $59.00
Nail trim. $21.94
Cytology. $42.34
Prednisone #30. $21.40
Ketoconazole #11. $24.28
Zymox. $31.89

Grand total. $200.85

I did call for a ear cleaning and nails trim. The meds well what can i do.

What does anyone think about this bill?? Thanks John




I have a pet duck


my puppy is 7 weeks old and he is vomiting and has diaherra what could be wrong?

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