TAMPA - How much would you pay to save your pet? According to estimates by the American Pet Products Association, Americans will spend over 13 billion dollars on general and specialty veterinary care this year. It's that last category - specialty care - where costs can skyrocket.
“A primary veterinarian takes care of the regular care for your pet, such as vaccinations and checkups every year, "said Angie's List founder, Angie Hicks. "A specialty vet is going to focus on different areas of medicine. For example, dermatology or physical therapy – just like your regular doctor and their specialists.” Medical specialties such as cardiology, oncology, neurology and internal medicine – once reserved for human health care - continue to expand into the realm of veterinary care. According to a nationwide Angie’s List poll, nearly 47 percent of respondents say they’ve sought veterinary specialty care for their pet and of those, 27 percent say they have spent more than $2,500. “When going to a specialized veterinarian, you need to plan ahead for the costs. Talk to your general veterinarian about how much it’s going to cost so you are not surprised," said Hicks.
Specialty care is more expensive due to additional training, equipment and facilities. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recognizes 21 veterinary specialty organizations that oversee 40 distinct specialties. The number of specialists in each discipline varies, but some - such as oncology - have relatively few across the globe. “When hiring a specialty veterinarian you are going to do the same research you would for a regular veterinarian," Hicks said. "You want to check their board credentials, their experience – how long they have been practicing. The same type of steps you would use in hiring a specialist for yourself.”
Angie’s List Tips: Navigating veterinarian specialty care
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