Why Are Veterinary Services Expensive?

Basic grooming commonly starts at 250 pesos, while your local salon probably offers haircuts starting at 40 pesos.

Radiology services can go as low as 150 pesos for a single organ, while X-Rays for pets will typically set you back for more than 1,000 pesos.

The list of comparison between human and veterinary health and wellness prices goes on.

Which is why you probably keep on wondering: Why the heck are veterinary services “expensive”? Another question could be, are these rates only high in the Philippines? Let’s find out.

1. Cost of equipment and supplies

The number one reason why veterinary services are costly is because veterinary practice requires specialized equipment and supplies to diagnose and treat a wide range of animal conditions. This equipment can be expensive to purchase and maintain, and these costs are often passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices for veterinary services. Especially in the Philippines, the pet industry is still at its early stages compared to outside, and as a result, there aren’t many competitions between distributors of veterinary equipment and supplies. We will discuss this further in Limited Competition below.

2. Cost of education and training

In the Philippines, the average years to complete veterinary training and gain a professional license is 7 years. Education and training can be expensive, and we can also factor in the fact that veterinary medicine is in demand in the country, moreso than human medicine. The simple concept of supply and demand applies to this, as veterinary clinics offer the highest salary they can afford to secure a veterinarian. This potentially contributes to the cost of veterinary services and fees.

3. Cost of running a business

Running a veterinary clinic involves many of the same expenses as any other type of business, such as rent, utilities, advertisement and marketing, insurance, and staff salaries. These expenses can add up and contribute to the overall cost of veterinary services.

4. Limited competition

In many areas, there may be limited competition among veterinary clinics, which can limit the availability of lower-priced services. Competition doesn’t only involve the clinics themselves, there’s also less competition in distributors of veterinary equipment and medicine, providers of veterinary clinic management systems, distributors of food and other pet supplies, etc. We can expect that as the pet industry grows, the competition will be more diluted, and you can expect some improvements on the rates.

5. Emergency and after-hours care

Veterinary clinics often provide emergency and after-hours care, which can be more expensive due to the added cost of staffing and operating outside of normal business hours. Not only that, but there are few clinics who offer emergency and after-hours care. Again, with the limited competition, they can charge as high as 1,000-1,500.

Is it just the Philippines, or is it the same everywhere?

No, it’s not just here in the Philippines. If you look outside, you’d be shocked to find out that they are 2-5x more expensive than our rates. On top of that, some countries even require pet licenses to own a cat or a dog. We can actually consider ourselves lucky because our prices are considered cheap when compared to other countries. Some clinics charge as low as 150 pesos for a check-up. That’s a measly $3. In the US? It can range from $50-$250.

How can we save money on veterinary bills?

This is a topic that deserves its own article or discussion. But to give you an idea, here’s a list of how you can save on your next veterinary visit:

  • Don’t neglect preventive health care
  • Get an insurance plan for your pet
  • Check out promos from the likes of Royal Canin. Did you know that they have a “Bring my pet to the vet” campaign? The offer free check-up to a list of participating clinics all over the country. Click here for more information.

Disclaimer: Written with the assistance of ChatGPT.

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