Vet Bill for Cat Tooth Extraction

in Pets & Pet Care
14 replies 36.5K views
Just took mum's elderly cat (10 years) who has lost a lot of weight for blood tests - all came back clear. Vet said he had a lot of plaque and a tooth that needed removed. I booked him in last week for this to be taken care of. Was quite shocked :shocked:to receive a bill for £297 - is it just me or is this quite pricey - was expecting it to be somewhere in the region of £200 at the most. Vet thought they had told me the cost (which they hadn't) but then again I did not ask. Just wondered if anyone else thinks this is "over the top"? I live in Glasgow. Cant clam it back on the insurance as the cat needed to have had a "dental" examination in the last year before they will pay out. I am beginning to wonder whats the point of the insurance policy as his excess is now £115 and his blood tests came in at around £138 - vet charges money to complete the form, so cant claim them back either.
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  • Dental work can be more expensive than expected, especially if also taking into consideration bloodwork, fluids, dental X-rays and the time taken to perform the work. Dentistry involves more than just pulling out loose teeth - well, it usually does, depending on the extent of disease! All teeth need to be examined, probed and checked via X-ray if necessary. Extraction of a tooth may take a while if the roots are still firmly in place.

    My cat's dental last year was around the £700 mark. Most of his teeth were removed, he just has the canines left.

    Do you have an itemised statement that breaks down the cost of the procedure? If not then ask the practice to provide one, as this will give you a better idea of where the money has gone and enable you to ask questions about anything that is not clear. If you are still concerned then ask to speak to the practice owner or manager.

    Dental work can be frustrating, especially when one practice will do a fixed price of £150 and the next is charging £400 for the 'same' work. When phoning around for prices I would always recommend asking questions to see what is included in the estimates given - bloodwork, anaesthetic monitoring such as blood pressure, fluids, dental X-rays etc. Not all dentals are created equal, unfortunately.
  • AzmatazAzmataz Forumite
    137 Posts
    Last year I had two cats who needed dentals separately. One needed a molar extracted (total £324) and the other needed a canine removed (£296). They both got pre-op blood screening which is usual for older cats (10 years+) to see if they're safe to go under the GA. Those tests alone cost around £50.
    Unfortunately, I don't think the price your Mum paid is unusual. :( Yearly vaccination trips enable a dental to go through on the better insurance policies because the cat is seen by a vet at least once every 12 months. Afraid it's too late to be any help for your Mum, but hopefully others reading this will think carefully about yearly vax.
  • Thanks very much for the prompt replies Azmataz and Shoshannah. I think it was just a shock being hit with such a bill. I cant believe how expensive veterinary care has gotten. Having had a poorly cat for over 3 years myself I know it is not cheap but I also think that vets have us over a barrel - cause we all love our pets and dont want to see them in pain. I just hope that this tooth extraction helps with the weight loss - if not then the next step is proper "x-rays" to see if there is anything there. I hope not - such a lovely little cat. :(
  • ScottsLass wrote: »
    Thanks very much for the prompt replies Azmataz and Shoshannah. I think it was just a shock being hit with such a bill. I cant believe how expensive veterinary care has gotten. Having had a poorly cat for over 3 years myself I know it is not cheap but I also think that vets have us over a barrel - cause we all love our pets and dont want to see them in pain. I just hope that this tooth extraction helps with the weight loss - if not then the next step is proper "x-rays" to see if there is anything there. I hope not - such a lovely little cat. :(

    Veterinary care is expensive - I've paid out over £1500 for my old (uninsured) cat in the last twelve months - but surprisingly little goes into the vets' pockets. Overheads and drug costs are so high these days. Only a small percentage of practices are making a profit each year. Most are breaking even and the worst is yet to come, so we are told. :(

    I do hope your mum's little cat is okay. It's awful when they are elderly and not very well.
  • edited 27 January 2014 at 1:50PM
    headpinheadpin Forumite
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    edited 27 January 2014 at 1:50PM
    Shoshannah wrote: »
    Veterinary care is expensive - I've paid out over £1500 for my old (uninsured) cat in the last twelve months - but surprisingly little goes into the vets' pockets. Overheads and drug costs are so high these days. Only a small percentage of practices are making a profit each year. Most are breaking even and the worst is yet to come, so we are told. :(

    I do hope your mum's little cat is okay. It's awful when they are elderly and not very well.



    I'm not sure that I'd agree. The overheads should not be that expensive and are often an asset rather than a liability. Staffing levels often seem excessive to me. Our Vet has two or three people on the reception desk and they normally out number the owners by two or three to one. If you know the price of drugs you will understand that the Vet's mark up is obscene. I agree that some drugs can be expensive, but the routine drugs that are used in the majority of cases on a day to day basis are a fraction of the cost to the vet practice compared to the cost that you will be invoiced.


    It is a sad fact that vets use our love of our pets as a way to keep their bills inflated. Most people will have not enjoyed a pay rise or only received a very small one over the past 3 - 4 years. Do you think that your vet's "labour" costs have remained frozen over the same period? I think probably not!!!!


    Whilst some insurance companies may challenge the costs they do not really care too much as all they do is put your premium up to cover the increased charges incurred. You only need to see how much the cost of pet insurance has risen over the past few years to appreciate that someone is making a fair few £££ at our expense. I am not a great lover of insurers and think they could do more with their leverage, but at the end of the day we are the mugs getting stiffed and we have no option if our pets are not to be the losers. It might be called blackmail in any other situation.
  • I think I am with you on this one Headpin. One of my own cats had an underactive thyroid for over 3 years (sadly was PTS in Nov). I would pay for a prescription from my vet (but only when I had got the bloods tests done) every three months. I would then order tablets online from a reputable company. I saved a lot of money compared to if I had got them from the vet. Its just Big Business. No wonder people are dumping their pets when they get older/have ongoing medical issues - they just cant afford the costs which, as you say, have been rising whilst people's wages havent. :(
  • edited 27 January 2014 at 2:43PM
    ShoshannahShoshannah Forumite
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    edited 27 January 2014 at 2:43PM
    headpin wrote: »
    I'm not sure that I'd agree. The overheads should not be that expensive and are often an asset rather than a liability. Staffing levels often seem excessive to me. Our Vet has two or three people on the reception desk and they normally out number the owners by two or three to one. If you know the price of drugs you will understand that the Vet's mark up is obscene. I agree that some drugs can be expensive, but the routine drugs that are used in the majority of cases on a day to day basis are a fraction of the cost to the vet practice compared to the cost that you will be invoiced.


    It is a sad fact that vets use our love of our pets as a way to keep their bills inflated. Most people will have not enjoyed a pay rise or only received a very small one over the past 3 - 4 years. Do you think that your vet's "labour" costs have remained frozen over the same period? I think probably not!!!!

    I do know the price of drugs. Mark ups are always necessary on anything if any business is to make money. Practices are always faced with charging more for their services (including consultations) and their products (including drugs). If drug mark ups come down, consultations etc will have to go up.

    For every £100 the average independent practice brings in, about £10 is profit. That profit has to cover marketing, new equipment etc.

    Prices of drugs online will always be less. They can and do buy drugs in bulk, which veterinary practices - or at least the smaller, independent practices - are physically unable to do. I know for a fact that some drugs are sold online for less than what practices can buy them for. And practices are not allowed to purchase from the online pharmacies, so there is no contest there.

    I can't really argue this, it's old ground and I know how difficult it is to get the point across. And there may well be a difference between the corporate chain practices and the independent practices (who are decreasing in number - so many have been forced to merge or sell up because of hard times).

    I do agree that pet insurance prices are becoming increasingly prohibitive.
  • Oh and between 2010 and 2013 I took a pay CUT, for what it's worth.
  • Person_onePerson_one Forumite
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    Shoshannah wrote: »

    I can't really argue this, it's old ground and I know how difficult it is to get the point across.

    We're very well shielded from the cost of our own medical care in this country, I think people really struggle to get their head round how much these things actually cost when the most a lot of us ever pay is £7 odd for a prescription or £18 for check up at the dentist.
  • inkieinkie Forumite
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    OP - think that what you have paid is quite reasonable for a dental. We paid well over £300 last year for a scale and polish and an extraction.
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