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Understanding Veterinary Fees & Health Insurance

We are frequently asked as a profession to explain the breakdown of costs associated with providing veterinary services. Each veterinary practice is a private small business and as such will have differing overhead costs and fee structures.


Small Animal Practice


Data from 2014 ABVMA economic survey


Veterinarians in pet hospitals provide increasingly sophisticated care for dogs, cats, and other household pets. Indeed the range of diagnostic and therapeutic services that are available today are comparable in many ways to those available to people through the health care system.

Compared to human health care, the cost efficiency of provision of veterinary care is excellent. We as a profession strive to continue to provide the best value possible for an increasing array of services.


Mixed and Large Animal

Data from 2014 ABVMA economic survey


In the case of farm animal care and prevention programs, it is difficult to draw direct comparisons with human health care systems, as for small animal care. However for almost all farm producers the proportion of the overall budget spent on veterinary costs is very small. Added to this, it has been demonstrated in several studies that appropriate expenditure on veterinary care in the farm budget results in enhanced overall profitability.


Mixed and Large Animal veterinarians strive to partner with farmers and producers to enhance the efficiency of operations, contributing great value to agricultural businesses.


Alberta Veterinary Medical Association

The veterinary profession in Alberta has continued to evolve to better meet the needs of both farm animal producers and companion animal owners. Standards of care are stringently monitored and veterinarians are better trained and equipped than ever before. Studies over a number of years have illustrated clearly that veterinarians continue to provide an excellent value to cost ratio for their services.


Any questions on the costs of provision of veterinary services should in the first instance be directed to your own veterinarian.


Pet Health Insurance

Veterinarians and Veterinary Technologists are acutely aware of financial issues facing owners of companion animals. With an ever-increasing human animal bond, owners are demanding more and more advanced veterinary care for their animal companions. This intensifies the demand on practitioners to develop a higher level of expertise in their field and consequently, a greater expense to pet owners.


The challenge is always how to provide the level of care owners expect for an affordable fee and still keep the practice financially viable.


Through pet health insurance, owners can be assisted in unforeseen accidents or diseases in their pets. When a situation occurs they can consent to the necessary treatment without the fear of being unable to pay or having to rearrange their financial priorities. On the other side, the veterinarian can offer to attend to the patient’s needs with the most effective techniques without worrying about the client’s ability to pay. However, the biggest winner is the pet. No longer do animals need to receive less than optimal treatment, or worse yet, be euthanized for simply financial reasons.


It has been proven that health care insurance has extended the lives of many pets. The ABVMA encourages the concept of health care insurance for companion animals and the development of pet insurance products in Alberta.


Are there any support organizations available in Alberta?

Tails of Help  

This registered charity helps fund essential veterinary care for ill or injured pets of owners who are experiencing financial hardship, in particular seniors, disabled, or low income pet owners.


Animal Cancer Therapy Subsidization Society (ACTSS)

ACTSS is a registered charity dedicated to bringing affordable modern veterinary cancer treatment to veterinary cancer patients. They provide subsidies to dedicated pet owners as well as educate animal owners and veterinarians on the availability, uses and benefits of advanced cancer therapies in the treatment of veterinary cancers.


Alberta Helping Animals Society (AHAS)

AHAS is a registered charity dedicated to helping people in Edmonton who are living in poverty and receiving social services. AHAS Home Veterinary Services provides no-cost house call services in Edmonton and surrounding communities to vulnerable people who are unable to access regular veterinary care.