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The American Animal Hospital Association strongly suggests that all pet owning families consider their ability to meet unexpected expenses that may be incurred for veterinary care. In accident cases and serious illnesses, costs may quickly run into the hundreds or thousands of dollars. Ethical Veterinarians make their clients aware of the services and products that are available and the estimated cost of those services, and then provide guidance in their choices and decisions. AAHA strongly encourages you and the Dr. or Practice Manager to discuss any concerns. Every pet owner has different ideas about what is acceptable and affordable pet care.

The extent of care given to any animal is ultimately determined by its owner. Your veterinary bill is a reflection of the costs of maintaining suitable facilities, equipment, and properly trained personnel to provide the level of care that is expected in Companion Animal Medicine today. Remember that the original cost of the animal has no bearing on the cost of services rendered. Despite the fact that quality veterinary care for companion animals can run into considerable expense for owners, it is important to point out that veterinary medicine is, year in and year out, among the lowest paying of all the health professions. Most of your payment goes to pay for employees' salaries and benefits, sophisticated equipment and supplies, mortgage or rent, real estate taxes, insurance, utilities, and the expense of continuing education.

Although it may feel as if you are paying more for your pet's health care than your own, chances are that you probably have health care insurance for your own needs. Consequently, you may never see the total bottom-line figure for your own doctor bills. When human health care costs are added up-including insurance, deductibles, and pharmaceutical costs, there is no comparison to the much lower veterinary care costs. Traditionally, the difference is that in most cases, veterinary care is paid for directly by the pet owner, not by a third party.