Choosing the right veterinarian for your pet

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We all want to make sure our pets get the best possible care from a veterinarian, but that doesn't mean you have to break the bank. (WPVI)

We all want to make sure our pets get the best possible care from a veterinarian, but that doesn't mean you have to break the bank.

Veterinarian bills can really add up, especially if you have a sick pet, but the good news is, you don't have to pay extra for good service.

Checkbook Magazine surveyed tens of thousands of subscribers and did some mystery shopping to find local veterinarians who offer quality service and low prices.

Kevin Brasler of Checkbook Magazine said, "A lot of the veterinarians who received the highest ratings from our consumers also charged low prices. You don't have to pay more to get the best possible care."

If you know what procedure or treatment your pet needs - call around for prices.

Checkbook Magazine found it's easy to get prices from vets to do apples to apples comparisons and the prices vary widely.

"We found price differences of 100%. Some vets charge at least twice as much - at least - as their nearby competitors," said Brasler.

To spay a 7-month-old, 25-pound dog, Checkbook's mystery shoppers got prices ranging from $164 to $752.

To spay a 6-month-old cat - the low price was $80.00. The high price? $586.00!

And to clean the teeth of a 4-year-old, 65-pound dog - prices started at $135 and went up to $674!

Checkbook Magazine has this advice on pet insurance:

*Determine what you would do if your pet required expensive medical care.

*Many pet owners will pay anything to save their pets, others won't.

*If you're in the latter group, pet insurance is not for you.

*If you belong to the pay-any-price group, consider pet insurance only if huge vet bills would severely strain your finances.

Checkbook Magazine's tips for choosing the right pet insurance policy:

*Be aware that no plan covers pre-existing conditions

*Carefully review the policy, including fee schedules. Red flags are large co pays; high annual premiums; and limitations or exclusions for conditions that might require costly care (such as cancer) or chronic conditions that require continual care.

*Stick with plans that offer a set schedule of fees for specific conditions and treatments, or that pay a percentage of total costs.

*Don't pay extra for some plans "wellness care" options.

*Watch out for annual premium hikes

6abc viewers are being offered a FREE one week subscription to Checkbook Magazine, which will give viewers free access to full ratings of vets, and the article, without a subscription! To claim just visit

For tips on choosing the right policy - go to the saving page.
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