Veterinary Emergency Fees Are Higher Than Your Typical Primary Care Clinic – Here’s Why

Veterinary Emergency Fees Are Higher Than Your Typical Primary Care Clinic – Here’s Why

At Animal Emergency Hospital Volusia (AEHV), we are often asked why emergency services and diagnostics cost more than at the primary care veterinarian’s clinic. In reality, our prices are in line with local area veterinarians on many items commonly found at both clinics. However, prices on products or services not typically carried by primary care veterinarians such as blood, plasma, and antivenin are often higher. There are several reasons for this.

Availabilityas a 24/7 emergency animal hospital, we see patients with a variety of conditions. Therefore, we need to be prepared to handle nearly any illness or injury we are presented with. This requires additional resources such as more sophisticated blood analyzers, digital x-rays, a CT scanner, ultrasound equipment, endoscopes and more. The equipment we have at AEHV is often the same as in human hospitals. This investment ensures we have the tools to properly care for your pet in an emergency.

Speed – In an emergency, we don’t have the luxury of sending out blood tests or cytologies to an outside lab and waiting a few days for results. Two unique services we have available onsite for your pets are a STAT laboratory, for rapid results, and a digital cytology (fluid sample) service, where a board-certified veterinary pathologist will interpret a sample within one hour. In both cases, a diagnosis can be made quickly and accurately, allowing us to treat effectively.

Special Handling, Limited Use – Some of the products we stock are quite expensive and have a short shelf life as well. Others require special handling or refrigeration or freezing to maintain efficacy and are only used sparingly. Regardless, we have these in stock in case your pets ever need them.

Training – With all of the additional equipment required to diagnose and treat a variety of cases, our team needs to be highly trained in these specialized technologies. In fact, all of our imaging studies (x-ray, CT scans) are sent out to a board-certified radiologist for interpretation, giving you one more assurance that your pet is receiving the highest standard of care. Plus, we need to be staffed 24-hours a day, every day of the year. To stay on top of advancements, we invest heavily in continuing education for our doctors and technical staff. It’s how you know we are the best resource to help your pet.

Hospitalization and Intensive Care – Operating a veterinary emergency hospital means we are staffed to care for hospitalized patients, including those who are receiving intensive care. At the same time, we need to be able to receive new patients as they come through the door on a walk-in basis. This leaves for an unknown and ever-changing volume of patients. The resources we employ to keep our hospital open and fully functioning at all hours means we have higher overhead costs (staff, electric, oxygen, air conditioning, etc.).

Costs and Care for Your Pet

Emergencies are unexpected and stressful. So, we are strong proponents of pet health insurance for this very reason, as it helps eliminate the financial burden, allowing you to make decisions for your pet based on the best possible outcome.
If your pet visits our ER, they will be triaged (assessed for stability or need for immediate intervention). After the veterinarian performs an examination, you will be presented with a medical plan specifically for your pet’s condition. This detailed treatment plan will also outline the associated costs. We do everything we can to work within your budget as there are sometimes alternatives that can be offered that may not always offer the same prognosis but may still benefit your pet. We truly want to see your pet get the care it needs.

Payment Options

Along with accepting most major credit cards, cash, and local checks, we also offer payment options such as CareCredit and Scratchpay. Please ask if we may provide you with any additional information on any of these resources.

We hope you find this information helpful and can trust AEHV for your pet emergencies. A friendly reminder we are open 24/7/365 for any pet emergency!