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What did you pay at the vet?

Marketplace watchdogs (and cats) across Canada joined our investigation. 

We asked you to send in your vet bills, and got e-mails (with cute pet photos) from across the country. Keep ‘em coming: we’ll be updating our map as we hear from you

Explore what people near you are paying for basic services including a consultation, wellness exam, spay, neuter, dental cleaning and abdominal x-rays. (The dots on the map indicate, approximately, the city or town only; they do not indicate the address of the pet owner or vet.)

This not scientific research, it's an informal survey of what Marketplace pet owners tell us they are paying for common procedures across Canada and an illustration of how costs may differ.

Vet bills can be difficult to compare. Different clinics have their own ways of breaking down costs, and costs for procedures can depend on the needs of an individual pet, the equipment used and other factors. As always, if you have questions about what’s on your vet bill, talk to your pet care professional.

When we asked the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) about costs, here’s what they told us: “We are very cognizant of what is going on with the economy right now and that clients are stretched,” CVMA president Dr. Jim Berry told us. “We live in the same economy, we're working in it, and veterinarians will do whatever we can to make sure that the health care choices that we are working with her, with your pet, to deliver, are the appropriate ones for the pet's health and welfare and certainly we will do whatever we can to make sure those, those healthcare options are affordable.”

Here are some notes on the costs we’ve included in our map. Consultations In this category, we included bills that listed a fee for consultation/examination. This is the fee you might be charged if you brought your pet in to see the vet because you were concerned about the animal’s health. We did not include any testing that was conducted in the exam, only the fee to see the vet.

Wellness exam

As we showed in our program, Barking Mad, some vets recommend annual vaccines as a way of getting pet owners to bring their pet in for an annual visit. Annual visits are important for your pet’s health. However, for this category, we excluded the cost of vaccinations and bills that seemed to include vaccinations in the cost of the annual visit. We also excluded geriatric wellness exams from our data.

Spay / Neuter

The cost of spaying or neutering your pet -- something you, admittedly, only have to do once -- can vary depending on the size of your pet, especially for dogs. For this service, we included any fees for anesthetic, IV and painkillers, and blood work where that was done. We excluded any additional services that might have been provided at the same time, such as having a microchip inserted.

Dental cleaning

As we did with spaying and neutering, we included anesthetic, IV and painkillers in our survey, and we included blood work when that was done. We excluded the cost for any extractions that were done at the same time. 

X-rays

For this category, we included the costs for x-rays, including a set-up charge and an interpretation, when these services were separately billed. These bills were for two views, which is often the standard for this procedure. Keep sending in your bills and we will update the map with your vet bills and pet photos.