Fee Estimations for Non Routine and Emergency Care
While we can provide set fees for predictable services such as Consultations, Vaccinations, Routine Desexings, Microchipping, Preventative Dentals and some others – this is not possible for all situations.
What is a Fee Estimation and What are its Limitations?
If your pet is found to be unwell then your vet will likely discuss the necessary next steps to treating the presenting problem. This may require further diagnostics such as X-Rays, Ultrasound or Blood Tests.
However – if the presenting problem points to an obvious condition without the need for further diagnostics then typically the next step is to discuss treatment plan options.
Understandably – you want to know how much this will all cost. And our honest answer can only be “We can’t be sure.”
If we could magically predict what those X-Rays will show up or what those blood tests can reveal, we’d be able to tell you more. But we’re only human and as doctors – we can only give you more information once we have established a reason for why your pet is experiencing these symptoms. Bearing in mind that many different diseases have common symptoms so guessing is NOT a responsible option.
Often times we need to start managing your pet’s symptoms quickly before a full diagnosis has been made. Your pet may be experiencing extreme pain or discomfort so our primary goal here would be to make your pet more comfortable while we continue to find the underlying cause.
This generally means admission into hospital to carry out the required treatment and further diagnostics.
The 24 Hour Plan
At this stage all we can do is provide approximate fees for the proposed 24 hour treatment plan. This includes:
- Required diagnostic fees as relevant – Blood Tests, X-Rays, Ultrasound or CT Scan
- Required supportive treatments – Medications including any pain relief, Intravenous Fluids, Oxygen Therapy, Sedation
- Further Veterinary Examinations and Treatment as determined by diagnostic results.
As you can see – we’re now in unpredictable territory. Everything we do will depend on what we find and how your pet responds to treatment.
Our responsibility is to give you a fee estimation based on worst case scenario – NOT best case scenario. If we give you fees based on best case scenario and this turns out to be NOT the case for your pet – then we risk being labelled as liars or rip offs through no fault of our own.
We don’t like being blamed for things we can’t predict so will always try to aim for the higher costs scenario whenever possible.
Overestimating fees protect you too. If you have budgeted for that amount and the final bill comes in under the expected total – then the outcome is positive for all of us.
Once a 24 Hour fee estimation has been made, a down payment or deposit will be required. The amount will depend on the fees as well as the type of services involved. A minimum requirement for most cases is 50% of estimated fees however in the case of intensive or critical care situations such as severe trauma or snakebite where immediate treatment fees may run into several thousands of dollars – more will be required.
When you are presented with a fee estimation and you know you will experience difficulties in paying the account in full – please tell us at immediately.
While we cannot offer internal payment plans, you can apply for credit through a 3rd party provider. We have been using Vet Pay for some time which has worked well for many of our clients.
If you wish to discuss Vet Pay options – please let us know at the time so we can help you through the application process. By doing this from our end it speeds up the approval process.
If your pet is in hospital – we will update you daily on progress and current account balance for the agreed 24 hour period. Once a new 24 hour period has started – a new fee estimation will be presented for your approval.
Let’s look at some typical scenarios
Your Dog or Cat has been Bitten by a Snake
This happens quite often over the Summer Months and is an Emergency situation. Owners have very little time to make decisions because if Anti-venom is needed then it needs to be given as quickly as possible to help save the pet’s life. This is the same drug that is used to treat human snake bite victims and is super expensive. Sometimes more than 1 vial needs to be given depending on your pet’s response to treatment.
It is not unusual for severe snake bite victims to undergo intensive day and night hospital treatment for several days or longer resulting in a bill that can reach many thousands of dollars.
On top of that – there are no guarantees your pet will pull through despite the all the best treatment.
Your Pet Has Suffered Severe Trauma
This could be through being hit by a car, attacked by another animal or has been seriously injured through other mishaps.
Again – immediate intensive care may be required to treat any life threatening shock and manage associated pain. Hospitalisation is required for consistent monitoring and required treatment through the critical stabilisation period.
Fees for this scenario also add up quickly. The first 24 hours can run into several thousands of dollars depending on the immediate needs of the patient.
In these cases – you unfortunately don’t have the benefit of time to make major decisions and there is nothing we can do to alter that fact. While we understand it is a big ask to make such a big financial decision under such emotional conditions – we don’t have the luxury of time without risking your pet’s life.
The best thing you can do to avoid these emotional situations is to have your pet insured. Even an accident or injury only policy should cover you for these emergencies.