Figuring the Total Cost of Animal Health Care

One of the things to consider when thinking about owning a pet is how much animal health care will cost.

Pet Health Care

Having a pet is not cheap. If one does not adopt their puppy or adult dog from an animal shelter, which includes the price of vaccinations in the adoption fee, one will have be responsible for taking their pet to the veterinarian's office for a round of shots.

Vaccinations vary in price, as all veterinary treatments do. The cost for a rabies shot could run anywhere from $10 to $20. A canine 5-in-1 vaccine can be $18 to $30 and a feline vaccine can be $12 to $15. Microchips can run $25 to $50.

Another cost to consider is the price of prescription medications. A veterinarian may prescribe a medicine that can only be purchased at his or her office. Other prescriptions might need to be filled at a pharmacy.

Dog Health Care

When bringing a dog into the family, the decision will have to be made to spay or neuter. If you choose to fix your dog, the cost of the procedure will vary, depending on the size of the dog.

The minimum cost to neuter male dogs follows:

  • 25 lbs. or under: $45
  • 25-40 lbs.: $65
  • 41-55 lbs.: $75

The minimum cost to spay female dogs:

  • 25 lbs. or less: $60
  • 25-40 lbs.: $70
  • 41-55 lbs.: $85

If a dog were to need emergency care, this visit could cost as much as $300. If lab work needs to be done during this visit, the tests could cost up to $300 as well. Treating wounds or providing medications may cost at least $55.

Should a canine require surgery, the fees would be more expensive than an emergency room visit. The cost for surgery could run at least $1500, depending on the procedure. Anesthesia may amount to $130, and any additional tests may cost as much as $100.

Cat Health Care Costs

A cat is typically less expensive to treat, medically speaking. The cost would be about $30 to neuter a male cat. A female cat would cost at least $50 to spay.

Should a cat require a visit to the ER, one can expect to pay about the same amount it costs to treat a dog. Surgery costs, however, are lower for cats. A cat's surgery would typically cost about $924, with anesthesia being about $60. Should any testing need to be done, one would probably pay at least $50 in addition to the surgical fees previously mentioned.

Some veterinary clinics offer sliding scale fees to lower-income pet owners. One can also purchase pet insurance to cover many of the costs of animal health care.