Saturday 13 January 2024

Veterinary fees in the UK are often unjustifiably variable and inflated

Veterinary fees in the UK are often unreasonably variable and inflated

NEWS AND COMMENT/OPINION: The Times reports today that veterinary fees in the UK have become a minefield because they unjustifiably vary tremendously from region to region, from place to place and in general they have increased many would argue unreasonably. 

The changes have come about because of the purchase of a very large number of independently owned and operated veterinary clinics by big corporations including equity funds which are managed by accountants; businessmen who's objective is to extract as much money as possible from these businesses whereas in the past the primary objective by an independent veterinarian was to provide a good service.

The Times reports that dog and cat owners are facing inexplicable variations in prices with some chains charging seven times more than others for the same procedure.

A new business/website has commenced which recently looked into this to try and help pet owners navigate the minefield. It was started by Susie Samuel and it is called They have asked a large number of veterinary clinics and businesses owning and controlling these clinics to provide information about their pricing.

Three of the big six chains said that they would eventually provide all the information requested. However, the private-equity owned IVC Evidensia declined to provide the information. 

This business operates more than 1000 practices in the UK. They said that the "price is a single metric that does not reflect the quality of care or customer experience provided by our team." Comment: most people would see their response as trying to find a reason to not provide the information because it embarrasses them.

Here are some examples:
  • The cost of a consultations varies between £20 and £120 in the UK.
  • The cost of castrating a medium-sized dog varies between £100 and £760.
  • Prescription charges vary between £12 and £31.
  • The cheapest area for consultations is Dumfries and Galloway.
  • The highest prices are found in West London.
  • The most expensive prescription charge is in Canterbury.
  • The least expensive prescription charges in Plymouth.
  • Within the Birmingham post code, the cost of castrating a 35 kg dog varies between £155 and £500.
  • The variations on the above in Torquay are between £40 and £120.
  • As a whole, on average, the cost of a consultation in the UK is £47 but in Southampton it is nearer £60.
Veterinarians have been accused of failing to be transparent about their prices. It makes it difficult for customers to compare which is the major reason why, I suspect, that Susie Samuel has started her comparison price website mentioned above.

Her website provides visitors with the means to compare veterinary surgeries under a five-star review system. They found that the higher prices were not linked to better services. The 20 most expensive practices had an average rating of 4.4 out of five while the cheapest 20 has an average rating of 4.5.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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