The Ultimate Guide to Vet Fees: Everything You Need to Know

For 17 million households in the UK, pets are an important part of the family. Whether you’ve got a mischievous dog, a curious cat or a cute little hamster, you belong to a nation of pet lovers.

But getting a pet isn’t as easy as turning up to the pet shop and making a purchase, and nor should it be. In today’s world, animal welfare is a top priority. So whether it’s for preventative or remedial treatment, you may well find yourself as a regular at your local veterinary practice. 

Many breeds of cats and dogs have common ailments that turn up in pets as a result of pedigree or hereditary illness. Below, we discuss how much they might cost you at a vet, so that you can make an informed decision on breed and treatments.

How much does it cost to see a vet?

When the potential costs for vet bills are assessed, it’s easy to see why many people favour Pet Insurance.

Many pet owners use the average vet fees tables to calculate exactly how much cover they may need for their pet. For example, if you have a dog whose breed is susceptible to cataracts, it’s useful to know the cost of treatment and ensure your insurance covers you for that amount.

With Pet Insurance, if your pet requires treatments, prescriptions and remedial therapies as a result of an accidents, illnesses and injuries are covered. However, routine treatments like flea or tick removal are not. 

Whilst Pet Insurance is a good investment, remember that it will not make your vet costs ‘free’ — in many cases you may need to pay an excess, and sometimes if treatment costs more than what you are covered for, you will have to pay the difference. Despite this, Pet Insurance remains a good option for pet owners who want the security of knowing they can take care of their pet if the worst should happen.

What is the cost of a vet check up?

A vet appointment usually costs between £40-£60. This will include a consultation and diagnosis. If your pet requires further treatment or referral to a specialist, this will be an add on to the cost of an appointment.

Dachshund with paw prints

Vet fees for dogs

33% of UK households have at least one dog, meaning that there are a whopping 12.5 million of them in the country. Their loyal and amusing personalities make them popular family pets, but they also require extensive training and discipline to ensure that they have good, obedient behaviour. 

Many pedigree dogs also suffer from hereditary disease as a result of inbreeding. Small, medium and large dogs may incur different vet fees as a result of their differing anatomies. You may also experience variation on these fees depending on the cost of living where you live.

Common dog ailments

Dogs may suffer from many illnesses and injuries in their lifetime. Although it’s not nice to think about, it’s important to educate yourself about these ailments so that they can look out for symptoms in their pet. 

  • Cataracts - old age, trauma or disease can cause cataracts in dogs.

  • Arthritis - if your dog is slower or less active than they used to be, it could be a result of osteoarthritis: a pain and stiffness in the joints.

  • Ear infections - ear infections are common in dogs that spend a lot of time outside. They can be treated with antibiotics.

  • Kennel cough - kennel cough is the dog equivalent to a cold. It’s easily transmitted from dog to dog.

  • Diarrhoea - loose stools can often be a symptom of another problem, lack of vitamins, for example.

  • Fleas and ticks - many dogs will get fleas in their lifetime, but ticks can be more serious. Make sure that they’re treated swiftly.

  • Broken bones - for young, adventurous dogs, broken bones can occur. A vet will set and repair the break.

  • Obesity - older dogs in particular may suffer from obesity, particularly if they’re less active than they used to be. 

  • Cancer - age and environmental factors can cause cancerous tumours in some dogs.

Dog vet costs

Costs to treat common dog illnesses can vary from practice to practice, as well as by breed, age and the size of your pet. This can affect the amount you may need to claim for any particular illness or condition. 

Here’s what you can expect to pay for common vet treatments.

Source: all treatment costs paid for claims against policies underwritten by Cranbrook Underwriting Limited between Jan 2015 and Dec 2020 and adjusted for inflation.

Short Term Illness

Average for Dogs

Top 10% Most Expensive Price for Dogs

Gastro-enteritis

£622

£1,585

Vomiting

£603

£2,585

Weight loss

£1,844

£3,944

Respiratory condition

£431

£806

Loss of appetite

£490

£661

Lethargy

 

£428

£1,838

Lump

£686

£3,221

Diarrhoea

£479

£1,744

Ongoing Treatment

Average for Dogs

Top 10% Most Expensive Price for Dogs

Lameness

£690

£2,825

Skin allergy

£680

£2,645

Cruciate rupture

£2,587

£4,566

Cruciate disease

£2,509

£4,516

Tumour

£970

£4,539

Arthritis/DJD

£405

£1,119

 

Dachshund with paw prints

Cats

With 27% of UK households home to a cat, there are estimated to be around 12.2 million felines in the country. With a curious and independent nature, they’ve long been one of the most popular pets. 

Common cat ailments 

Cats can either roam the outdoors or spend all of their time inside. For obvious reasons, outdoor cats are more likely to pick up disease, although if noticed early, most of these ailments can be successfully treated. 

Some pedigree cats will suffer from long term health conditions as a result of inbreeding. 

  • Respiratory infections - an infection of the ears, nose, throat and sinus can be spread between cats due to licking, sneezing or coughing.

  • Diabetes - as a result of hormonal insulin, some cats may need their blood sugars regulating

  • Cancer - as a result of hereditary and environmental factors, some cats may develop cancerous tumours

  • Chronic kidney disease - older cats may develop kidney failure as a result of eating something poisonous 

  • Rabies - outdoor cats can contract rabies if they are bitten by another infected animal

  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus - cats may contract FIV after being bitten by another infected animal

  • Feline Panleukopenia - FPLV affects the cat’s immune and nervous system 

  • Feline Leukemia Virus - FeLV is a common disease in cats, but it is preventable with vaccination

Cat vet costs

Costs can vary from practice to practice as well as by breed, age and the size of your cat. This can affect the amount you may need to claim for any particular illness or condition. 

Here’s what you can expect to pay for your cat.

Source: all treatment costs paid for claims against policies underwritten by Cranbrook Underwriting Limited between Jan 2015 and Dec 2020 and adjusted for inflation.

Short Term Illness

Average for Cats

Top 10% Most Expensive Price for Cats

Gastroenteritis

£394

£826

Vomiting

£689

£2,550

Weight loss 

£481

£721

Respiratory condition

£383

£1,748

Loss of appetite

£168

£291

Lethargy

£1,504

£3,711

Lump

£614

£1,042

Diarrhoea

£464

£1,499

Ongoing Treatment

Average for Cats

Top 10% Most Expensive Price for Cats

Lameness

£335

£1,066

Skin allergy

£600

£1,393

Cruciate rupture

£844

£1,697

Cruciate disease

£1,317

£2,711

Tumour 

£1,293

£1,392

Arthritis/DJD

£525

£1,402

Vet Fees FAQs

How much does it cost to neuter a pet?

Vet costs may vary depending on numerous factors. But on average, it might take between £165-£365 to spay a female dog and around £110-£300 to castrate a male dog. 

Cats cost less than dogs to be neutered. On average, it costs around £40-£80 to neuter a male cat, and around £50-£100 to spay a female cat.

What is the cost of a prescription from a vet?

Prescription costs can vary from practice to practice as well as by breed, age and size of pet. Expect to pay between £10-£15 for your pet’s prescription. Some medicines, like flea and tick treatments, may be available over the counter for a lower price.

How much are emergency vet fees?

As emergency vets provide specialist services out of hours, the cost for your pet’s treatment is likely to be higher. Expect to pay above average amount for a consultation, with extra services being an additional cost on top of this.

Vet fees

Pet Insurance can be a great way to ensure that should the worst happen, your pet’s health is prioritised — helping you do right by your pet, every single day. 


Learn more about Swinton’s Pet Insurance here.

Other guides