15/07/2024

The Critters

For Nice Critters

Are Veterinarians Overcharging?

Are Veterinarians Overcharging?

Is my veterinarian overcharging?

Every day I talk to people about their pets, the illness their pets have and the veterinary bills they have incurred. One common conception pet owners have is that veterinarians are overcharging. Before we address that question I want to go over what it takes to become a veterinarian.

First is the simple task of getting in to vet school. Most Veterinary schools in the United States have a college credit equivalent of a four year Bachelor Science degree just to apply for their school. Applicants should have a grade point average of 3.4 or above. G.R.E. scores weigh highly on application. Hours worked or volunteered in veterinary industry and total understanding of the inner workings of a hospital and veterinary medicine average over 3000. All applicants must complete an oral exam.

When all this is done there are only 28 veterinary schools in the United States. This means a large percentage of people who apply to veterinary school will be denied admittance because there is not enough space. Now once the soon to be DVM has received his bachelor degree or equivalent and been accepted in to veterinary school now he or she will spend another four years in veterinary college. Once that is complete are Dr now must get licensed. He must pass both a national and state board examine before being allowed to practice medicine.

Once he has passed these exams he will go out in the working world and most likely take a low paying apprentice type position where he can learn from a more experienced Veterinarian.

Once our Dr is no longer an apprentice and is employed for a hospital his income will range depending on where he is. In Los Angeles, Ca where I live DVM make on average anywhere from 60 to 80 dollars per hour. The staff members around him make on average 15 dollars per hour. Each veterinarian requires on average 2.5 staff members. That means just in salaries alone when working on your pet it will cost 97 to 127 dollars per hour. This does not include the cost of any medicine, drugs, suture, equipment, or must I say the O so evil Profit for the hospital. That’s right the hospital needs to make a profit. Someone somewhere owns that hospital and I am sure he loves animal, but he also has a family to feed just like you. How about the down time? Businesses are not always busy. When they’re not busy the staff is still being paid that money has to come from somewhere otherwise the hospital would go out of business and there would be no one to treat your pet.

There is also the ever rising cost of equipment. The average x-ray machine in an animal hospital cost $50,000. Some hospitals spend double or even triple for their laboratory equipment. The Average surgery light cost $2500, Cages $5000, Surgery table $3000. Hospital expenses are higher than imaginable.

Of course there is the government as well. Local government comes up with new ways to make money every day. Hospitals receive a yearly bill for every lab machine they operate, every x-ray machine they have, for being a medical waste generator, for back flow devices on the plumbing and much more.