Pet owners drop $500 on vet bills a year

Been to the vet lately?

Were you able to get out of the office for under $100?

Probably not.

And you likely spent a whole lot more over the course of a year.

A new AP/Petside poll found pet owners spend on average $505 at the veterinarian's office each year. Pet owners whose animals have serious medical conditions spent on average $1,000.

Seems pretty darn low to any of us with multiple pets, those who live in urban or suburban areas, and even those with single pets with really serious conditions or needing specialists can run into the thousands.

Cost of two surgeries to remove jaw cancer in a young dog? $2.5k.  To have two canine knees replaced, plus rehab? $20k.

Cost to spay a female kitten in Hunterdon County, NJ? $335.

Now, granted there are many low-cost spay-neuter programs out there, but there also are not many options for help when your pet needs major surgery.

Philly Dawg recommends asking your vet if they have a multi-pet discount, which can help ease the burden a little. Also you may want to discuss a payment plan with your vet. Sometimes they will grant long term customers this courtesy.

The poll found 60 percent of those who took a pet to the vet spent $300 or less on their animal's care, the average expenditure was boosted higher by the one in eight (13 percent) who spent $1,000 or more.

About one in six pet owners say their pet faced a serious illness during the year, and those pet owners spent an average of $1,092 on vet care.

The poll also found that pet owners with limited incomes would spend but more than half (52 percent) only took their pets to the vet for "serious conditions" because of the cost. 

That's a sad commentary on the cost of routine vet care, or some might argue, the reluctance of pet owners to spend money on annual exams and preventative vet care that could mean less money - and hardship - for the pets down the road.