Veterinarian cost comparison shows varying prices

8:09 AM, May 21, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - Some pet owners will do just about anything to ensure their pet lives a happy healthy life, but these days it can come at a pretty hefty price.

"We're trying to be the pet advocate," said Edina Pet Clinic's Dr. Jill Eversman. "We're not financial advisors."

KARE 11 called eight clinics in the Twin Cities along with one in St. Cloud and another in Mankato and asked them how much they charge for some of the most common procedures.

"You were calling on fairly easily price shopped items," said Dr. Ken Ambrose, of Minnesota Valley Pet Hospital, in Mankato.

The list included spays and neuters for cats and dogs, a popular thyroid test, heartworm test and a distemper vaccination and the prices were all over the map.

First, here's the list of the high and low prices for some of the more simple procedures.

T4 Thyroid Test
$60 Eden Prairie Village Pet Hospital
$28.95 St. Cloud Companions Animal Hospital

Heartworm Test
$61.50 Minnehaha Animal Hospital in Minneapolis, which includes a test for three tick-born diseases.
$30.46 Edina Pet Hospital

Distemper Vaccination
$57.50 Inver Grove Heights Animal Hospital, which includes a health exam.
$20.90 Grand Avenue Vet Center in St. Paul

The disparity in price is even greater for spays and neuters. Edina Pet Hospital ranks the highest in all categories for both dogs and cats.
On the high end it costs $650 dollars to spay a 70 lb. dog and $400 to neuter a cat.

In contrast, Minnesota Valley Pet Hospital in Mankato is the lowest. On the low end, it costs $104 dollars to neuter a cat and $231 dollars to spay a 70-pound dog.

So why is there such a price difference? One reason is the location of the clinic or hospital.

"Being out state, cost of living is lower, cost of overhead of operating a business is going to be lower, employment costs are going to be lower as far as what we have to pay employees," said Dr. Ambrose.

Another factor is equipment costs.

"Not every veterinary hospital has the equipment, monitoring devices and the staff that we have," said Dr. Eversman.

In some cases, animal hospitals use the same exact equipment that is used on humans and that cost can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

A veterinarian's education also has an impact on costs.

"The debt load of veterinarians coming out of vet school now is well into the six figures," explained Inver Grove Heights Animal Hospital's Dr. Jim Winsor.

Possibly the most overriding factor in price, is that pet owners are willing to pay out.

"A lot of pets are family members," said Dr. Eversman. "There's not any question about that in most of our clients minds."

"They're willing to make that commitment to their pets and get them quality care and extend their lives," explained Dr. Winsor.

No matter the price or the care, the clinic or the hospital, one thing every owner can pay attention to is their pet.

"They should be excited, they shouldn't be barking," smiled they should be going woo-hoo, I'm going to the hospital," smiled Pet Crossing's Dr. Kate Knutson.

Edina Pet Hospital
7701 Cahill Road
Blood Test Thyroid T4 $59.00
Spay cat $550-600
Spay dog $650*
Neuter cat $400-450*
Neuter dog $450-550*
Heartworm $30.46
Distemper $30.46
*Prices include blood work before procedures and all medications afterwards.

Eden Prairie Village Pet Hospital
7815 Terrey Pine Court
Blood Test Thyroid T4 $60.00
Spay cat $450
Spay dog $540
Neuter cat $368
Neuter dog $490
Heartworm $48.20
Distemper $21.86

Minnehaha Animal Hospital
4809 Chicago Ave. S.
Blood Test Thyroid T4 $42
Spay Cat $348
Spay dog $370
Neuter cat $199
Neuter dog $275
` Heartworm $61.50*includes test for 3 tickborn diseases
Distemper $28.50

Elm Creek Animal Hospital
327 Dean Avenue
Blood Test Thyroid T4 $58.55
Spay cat $253.50
Spay dog $349.50
Neuter cat $167.50
Neuter dog $280
Heartworm $53.55* includes 10 chemistry checks
Distemper $25.50
*Spays and neuters include pre-anesthetic check, lab work, surgical laser and pain meds

Inver Grove Heights Animal Hospital
7131 Cahill Avenue
Blood Test Thyroid T4 $51.00
Spay cat $241
Spay dog $364* includes overnight and pain meds
Neuter cat $175
Neuter dog $306
Heartworm test $41.50
Distemper $57* includes complete health exam.

Valley Creek Animal Hospital
9900 Valley Creek Road, Woodbury
Blood Test Thyroid T4 $59.50
Spay cat $365 w/blood work
Spay dog $360 w/o blood work
$435 w/blood
Neuter cat $315 w/blood
Neuter dog $390 w/o blood
$470 w/blood
Heartworm $59.50
Distemper $24

Grand Avenue Vet Center
1140 Grand Avenue St Paul
Blood Test Thyroid T4 $57.90
Spay cat $337
Spay dog $417
Neuter cat $248
Neuter dog $349
Heartworm $46.00
Distemper $20.90
Elk River
Barrington Oaks

*Declined to be a part of the survey and declined to give KARE 11 prices for its services.

Saint Cloud Companions Animal Hospital
Blood Test T4 $28.95
Spay cat $310
Spay dog $322.15-$378.65
Neuter cat $284
Neuter dog $305.15-$361.00
Heartworm $51.50
Distemper $21.65

*Neuters and spays require $73.10 for blood work prior to procedure

Mankato - MN Valley Pet Hospital
Blood Test Thyroid T4 $42.00
Spay cat $171
Spay dog $231 Neuter cat $104
Neuter dog $164
Heartworm $36.50
Distemper $36.00 

(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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