Cost of a vet visit in 2023

There’s no denying the joy a pet can bring to your household, but raising your furry friend can be expensive at times – especially when you need to visit the vet.

While our Choosi Pet Lovers Report 2022 found that “money is no object for most pet lovers”, it can put a heavy strain on your finances when the bills add up. With the cost of living rising significantly throughout 2022, here’s what you might expect to pay to visit the vet in 2023 – and why having pet insurance can put your mind at ease!

Some of the findings were extremely illuminating in terms of the financial commitments of Australian pet owners. Almost a quarter (24%) of pet owners spend between $200-$499 annually on medical insurance, vaccinations and vet bills, while a further 20% pay between $500-$999. When it comes to emergencies, frugality seems to go out the window, with almost two in three (65%) owners prepared to pay more than $1,000 on medical emergencies for their pets.

Aside from it providing peace of mind, pet owners state the top benefits from having pet insurance are that it saves them money on expensive treatments (32%) and it keeps them from using their savings (24%) on expensive vet bills. More than a quarter (28%) also say it helps them save on additional treatment costs, like stays in a veterinary hospital or X-rays.

When it comes to the actual cost of vet visits for common ailments, what do pet owners generally pay? Here’s a helpful table with average prices for the top five most common conditions in dogs and cats as well as the maximum treatment cost across all ages, in 2021. More invasive treatments and complex surgeries will invariably cost more. These prices could have crept up a little over the last 12 months, so make sure you speak to your vet about the exact prices before you commit to any treatment:



Source: PetSure – Australian Pet Health Monitor 2022

What causes changes in the price of treatments?

The cost of a treatment listed above might be one price for you and another price for a different pet owner. This is because pets come in all shapes, sizes and varieties. You will need to consider:

  • Size: The size of your pet can matter when it comes to the final vet bill. For example, while a routine check-up on a puppy might be an everyday occurrence for a local vet, doing the same for a Clydesdale horse will likely be more expensive.
  • Location: You may find that vet services are cheaper in rural areas than in the city. This can be due to lower overheads like rent and utilities.
  • Time: A quick 10-minute consultation is going to end up a lot cheaper than needing multiple vets to evaluate your pet’s illness or injury over the course of an hour.
  • Complexity: Every vet is highly trained, and the clinic itself may have spent lots of money investing in their facilities. So if your vet visit requires multiple specialists and the treatment itself needs more than just the standard equipment, then your bill can reflect that.

Why do vet costs keep increasing?

With the cost of living going up, plus additional financial stressors like rising inflation and interest-rate hikes, having to fork out for expensive vet bills can be overwhelming. But the bottom line is that quality healthcare for your pet costs money to deliver.

While people in Australia get the advantage of Medicare to subsidise a percentage of their healthcare needs, there is no such publicly funded medical scheme for pets. So the onus is on the pet owners to cover all the costs of vet visits, treatments and medications.

Having access to 24/7 emergency pet hospitals, modern CT, MRI and ultrasound machinery means it may end up costing more to visit the vet these days. But as our Choosi Pet Lovers Report 2022 suggests, the vast majority of Australian pet owners are willing to accept higher costs in order to keep their pets happy and healthy.

Top trends in pet ownership

The report also uncovered a few interesting trends in pet ownership, particularly around spending sacrifices. Respondents said they would be willing to reduce their spending in the following categories if it meant they could afford quality healthcare for their pets:

  • Reduce spending on takeaway and eating out: 56%
  • Reduce spending on clothes, shoes and apparel: 53%
  • Reduce spending on going out and socialising: 52%
  • Reduce spending on personal care and beauty products: 44%

Pet owners have also seen increased health and wellness benefits for themselves because of their furry friends, especially during the pandemic. Over half (52%) said they had increased happiness from owning a pet during COVID-19 lockdowns, reporting that they think having a pet positively impacts their physical health (88%) and mental wellbeing (96%).

The benefits are worth it

While vet bills can quickly add up, the consensus is that Australian pet owners are willing to cover financial costs. The good news is you can reduce the impact of eligible vet bills by taking out pet insurance.

If you would like to be able to claim up to 85% of eligible vet bills, start comparing pet insurance quotes with Choosi today.