How much does a vet visit cost?
Ashburn, VA

How much does a vet visit cost?

Ashburn, VA

How much does a vet visit cost?

$40 – $80average vet office visit fee
$50 – $250average annual checkup cost

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$40 – $80 average vet office visit fee

$50 – $250 average annual checkup cost


Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Tara Farmer
Written by
Tara Farmer
Edited by
Tamatha Hazen
Fact-checked by
Kristen Cramer

Average vet visit cost

The average cost of a vet visit is $40 to $80 for the office visit fee, which typically includes a physical exam. The total vet visit cost depends on the pet type and reason for the visit. A routine annual checkup costs $50 to $250. Diagnostic testing, treatments, or surgery visits cost much more.

Average cost of a vet visit
National Average Cost* $60
Minimum Cost $25
Maximum Cost $175
Average Range* $40 to $80

*Average office visit fee before any testing or treatments

Get free estimates from vets near you.

Factors that affect your vet visit cost

The total cost of a vet visit can vary significantly depending on the reason for the visit and the services, tests, or treatments involved. Other factors that impact the cost include:

  • Practice type & location: A small, local veterinary office will likely charge less than a veterinary practice in a big city with advanced diagnostic testing and other higher-end services and treatment options.

  • Dog vs. cat: The total cost of vet visits for a dog may be higher than for a cat over your pet's lifetime. Dogs tend to be higher-maintenance pets overall. Additionally, most dogs are larger and weigh more than cats, so they typically require more medication for sedation and other treatments.

  • Pet’s age, breed, gender & condition: The testing, treatments, or services your pet needs will depend on what life stage they are in. The breed can also impact what ailments a pet may be predisposed to, which impacts the potential cost of their care.

Annual checkup visit

The cost of an annual checkup ranges from $50 to $250, depending on the type of pet, the clinic, and the services provided during the visit. During an annual check-up visit, a veterinarian conducts a thorough examination of the pet to evaluate its overall health and detect any early signs of illness, including the following:

  • Listens to the animal's lungs and heart

  • Checks the pet's stance, gait, and weight

  • Examines the eyes, ears, teeth, gums, coat, nails, skin, abdomen, and rear end for any abnormalities

  • Reviews the pet’s medical history

  • Asks about diet, behavior, urine and bowel habits, and thirst level

  • Administers vaccinations to protect against diseases like rabies, distemper, and kennel cough

  • Prescribes preventative medications for parasites like fleas, ticks, and heartworms

  • Runs basic tests like fecal exams and other bloodwork

  • Discusses behavioral concerns and advises on training

  • Recommends future care such as future annual exams, dental cleanings, or additional testing as needed

A veterinarian holding a puppy and kitten
A veterinarian holding a puppy and kitten

Dog & puppy vaccines

Dog and puppy vaccinations cost $15 to $85 per dose, depending on the dog’s size and the vaccine type. Vaccines play a vital role in protecting your dog against various diseases and viruses like parvo and rabies. Puppies typically need a series of vaccinations totaling $75 to $400+ for their first year.

Cat & kitten vaccines

Cats and kittens also require vaccinations to safeguard their health. Like puppies, kittens need an initial series of vaccines which makes the first year’s vet visits slightly more expensive. Some vets offer vaccination packages to lower the cost per dose.

  • Kitten vaccinations cost $10 to $45 per dose, or $150 to $350 on average for the first year.

  • Older cats need vaccine boosters every 1 to 3 years, depending on the vaccine. Adult cat vaccinations cost $40 to $150+ per year, not including the exam fee.

  • Vaccination costs for outdoor cats are usually higher than average as they include additional vaccines to protect them from viruses and infections they wouldn’t be exposed to indoors.

Senior pet care

Senior dogs and cats have specific care needs that differ from younger pets. As animals age, they may experience reduced mobility, poor eyesight, hearing loss, and various health issues.

  • Experts recommend 2 to 4 vet visits per year for senior dogs and 2 visits per year for older cats, to increase the chance of catching potential or fast-developing health issues early.

  • Senior dogs make up 44% of the pet population. The American Animal Hospital Association considers a dog a "senior citizen" during the last 25% of their estimated lifespan, so the age a dog becomes a senior varies greatly depending on the breed and size.

  • According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), a cat reaches maturity at 7 to 10 years of age and enters its senior or geriatric stage at 10+ years.

Microchipping

A microchip is a tiny transmitter device placed just under the pet’s skin that contains an identification number unique to your pet. When the vet runs a special scanner over it, the microchip transmits the information to help identify the pet and its owner.

The cost to microchip a dog, as well as the cost to microchip a cat, is about $20 to $60. Many clinics offer free or discounted microchipping at various times throughout the year. Some pet owners also bundle the microchip procedure with other veterinary services to avoid an extra office visit cost.

A veterinarian checking the microchip implant in a dog
A veterinarian checking the microchip implant in a dog

Emergency vet visit

An emergency vet visit costs anywhere from $100 to $800+, depending on the type of emergency and services involved. Each service or treatment has an associated cost, so the cost increases with each test, scan, medication, or treatment your pet receives. If your pet needs emergency surgery, expect a bill in the thousands.

Diagnostic testing

Diagnostic tests, such as blood work, X-rays, and ultrasounds, are often necessary to accurately diagnose and treat specific health conditions. The cost of these tests can vary widely, ranging from $50 to $500+, depending on the type of test and the complexity of the procedure. Common veterinary tests include:

Veterinary diagnostic testing cost by type
Pet test type Average cost
MRI $1,500 – $2,500
Pet X-ray cost $150 – $500
Ultrasound $300 – $600
Bloodwork $80 – $300
Heartworm test $40 – $75
Fecal exam or urinalysis $30 – $100
Allergy testing $195 – $300
Heartworm test $20 – $75
Senior/geriatric screening
(blood, urine, & x-rays)
$100 – $250

Surgeries & treatments

If your pet requires surgery or specialized treatment, the cost can be substantial. Surgeries can range from $500 to $5,000 or more, depending on the complexity of the procedure, the necessary equipment, and the duration of the hospital stay.

The table below lists the average cost for some common vet office surgeries and treatments.

Pet surgery and treatment cost by type
Surgery or treatment type Average cost
Ear or eye infection treatment $100 – $300+
Defleaing or deworming $20 – $50
Heartworm disease treatment $500 – $1,500+
Steroid injection $50 – $150 each
Dog spaying or neutering cost $200 – $650
Cat spaying or neutering cost $200 – $500
Dog slipped disc spinal surgery cost $2,000 – $4,000
Dog cataract surgery cost $3,500 – $6,600
Cat teeth cleaning cost $560 – $2,000+
Dog teeth cleaning cost $560 – $3,000+
Dog ACL surgery cost $xxx – $xxx
Cancer treatment / chemotherapy cost $3,000 – $10,000+
Tumor removal cost $100 – $1,000+
Hernia surgery $200 – $2,000+
Allergy treatment $300 – $1,000
Oxygen therapy $500 – $3,000
Wound treatment $800 – $2,000+
Hospitalization $600 – $3,500
Prescription medication $10 – $75+

Grooming

While not strictly a medical expense, many veterinary clinics offer grooming services for pets. Full-service grooming typically requires a separate appointment, but you may be able to add some individual services, such as nail trimming, during your pet’s routine checkup visit.

  • Dog grooming prices range from $40 to $75 for full-service grooming.

  • Cat grooming costs $30 to $70+ on average.

  • A quick nail trim or ear cleaning typically adds $10 to $15 to your vet visit cost.

Pet insurance

Pet insurance costs $180 to $960 per year for an accident-and-illness policy, depending on the type of pet and the coverage limits and deductible amounts you select. For vet visits related to covered illnesses and injuries, pet insurance may reimburse you for some or all the associated costs.

  • Most pet insurance policies do not cover pre-existing conditions or routine care.

  • Cat insurance plans typically cost less than insurance plans for dogs.

  • Many companies offer wellness plans that cover routine and preventative care not usually covered under a standard pet insurance policy.

Vet visit FAQs

How much is an emergency vet visit without insurance?

Emergency vet visits without pet insurance can be expensive, potentially costing hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the severity of the situation and the treatments required. If a comprehensive pet insurance plan is out of your budget, consider an accident-only plan which costs much less and could save you from an unexpected and costly emergency vet bill later.

Does pet insurance cover vet visits?

Most pet insurance plans do not cover vet visits for routine or preventative care. For vet visits related to a covered accident or illness, pet insurance typically covers certain parts of the visit after you’ve met your deductible, such as lab work, x-rays, other diagnostic testing, and surgeries, up to the percentage outlined in your policy.

Do vets do home visits?

While not as common as clinic visits, some veterinarians offer home visit services for a higher rate or an additional fee. This can be particularly useful for pets or pet owners with mobility challenges or for pets that experience high levels of stress during transportation.

Are veterinary services taxable?

In most states across the U.S., veterinary services are exempt from sales tax. This generally includes exam fees, testing, treatments, surgeries, medications, and other professional medical services for pets. However, pet food, toys, and over-the-counter retail products sold at veterinary clinics usually incur sales tax.

Tax policies can vary by state and local municipality, so check with your local authorities for the specific regulations in your area.

Choosing a veterinarian

When searching for veterinary services near you, follow these guidelines and trust your instincts to find a practice that meets your needs and aligns with your values:

  • Schedule an initial visit: Before committing, arrange a visit to the veterinary clinic without your pet. This allows you to tour the facility, observe the cleanliness and organization, and evaluate the staff's friendliness and helpfulness.

  • Inquire about their services and specialties: Ask about their range of services and if they can perform procedures such as X-rays or surgeries on-site. If your pet has specific needs, such as geriatric care, behavioral issues, or chronic conditions, ask about the clinic's expertise and experience in those areas.

  • Confirm their availability and preparedness: Inquire about the clinic's operating hours, including weekends and holidays. Determine how they handle emergencies after hours or on weekends, whether through an on-call vet, a dedicated emergency clinic, or a referral system.

  • Consider their approach: Determine if the vet's demeanor and communication style resonate with you and make you feel comfortable. Some veterinarians may be warm and nurturing, while others may have a more clinical and businesslike approach.

  • Ask about pricing and payment options: Inquire about the costs associated with various services, such as routine check-ups, vaccinations, and common procedures. Also, review their payment policies, accepted forms of payment, and any available payment plan options.

  • Ask about continuity of care: If the practice has multiple veterinarians, inquire about their protocols for ensuring continuity of care. It can be beneficial if your pet can see the same vet consistently, as they will have a better understanding of your pet's medical history and unique needs.

Questions to ask a veterinarian

When choosing a veterinary clinic, consider not only the cost but also the quality of services provided. Here are some questions to ask your potential veterinarian:

  • What are your qualifications and areas of expertise?

  • How long have you been practicing veterinary medicine?

  • Will my pet see the same veterinarian every visit?

  • Do you offer emergency services or have an arrangement with an emergency clinic?

  • What diagnostic equipment and facilities do you have on-site?

  • How do you approach preventive care and wellness plans?

  • Do you provide detailed treatment plans and cost estimates?


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