Every 4 out of 10 American households own a dog. If you are one of them, chances are that you know how much cash and effort goes into maintaining a happy and healthy pooch. Of course, this cost is likely to be even higher if your dog happens to have a heart issue that warrants the attention of a veterinary cardiologist.
Generally, the nature of your dog’s condition, and where you live are likely to influence your dog’s cardiologist fees. Our guide below is meant to educate you on how much dog heart health specialists charge and why.
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How Much Do Dog Cardiologists Charge?
On average, a dog cardiologist visit will cost you between $200 to $500 per visit without pet insurance. (1) This amount caters for consultation, physical examination, and the echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart).
If you have been referred to a dog cardiologist, plan on visiting at least two to three times in order to have all the necessary tests and diagnoses done.
The cost of the actual treatment can vary widely based on the nature of the underlying heart condition and the age of the pet. In some cases, all it takes are medications to control the problem. However, in other cases, surgery may be required and that could take the bill even higher.
More on that later, but first, let us discuss the key factors influencing how much dog cardiologists charge.
Factors Influencing How Much a Dog Cardiologist Charges
Dog healthcare costs have risen dramatically over the past few decades. According to government data, the prices of vet services jumped 10% in 2021 – reflecting what could possibly be the biggest spike in two decades.
But what factors drive these costs? Let’s break them down for you.
Age of your Dog
Just like us, dogs take longer to recover with age. Likewise, senior dogs require a lot more attention at the vet than younger ones. Owing to this, you are likely to pay more for a cardiologist visit if your dog is within the last 25 percent of its life.
Also, the older the dog, the higher the chances that your cardiologist will recommend an invasive procedure to resolve any underlying problems. On the contrary, puppies can have some of their congenital abnormalities addressed using beta blockers thereby saving the cost of surgery and post-surgery rehabilitation.
The cost for the same pet cardiologist procedure can vary by as much as 400 percent. The driving force behind that disparity? Location.
Location determines the taxes your cardiologist has to pay with some states charging more than others. Besides that, different geographic areas have different basic overhead expenses with some charging exorbitant rent and service charges.
For instance, rent prices can be sky-high in the inner cities prompting vets located in such locations to charge a lot more than their counterparts based in the rural counties.
Logically, it costs more to treat larger dog breeds than small ones. This stems from the fact that larger dogs also need larger doses of medication to recover. Also, operating a large dog takes more time than a small one (for similar procedures) meaning cardiologists are likely to take the size of the dog into account as they arrive at their final fees.
Complexity of Surgery
Some dog surgeries are more complicated than others and, therefore, cost more. For instance, the cost of an open-heart surgery can be as high as $20,000 while that of a closed heart surgery can be half as cheaper.
Also, highly complex surgeries often mean that the dog will have to spend longer in the vet’s clinic to recover. Usually, the longer they spend in the hospital the higher their cost of care is likely to get.
Your Dog’s Overall Health & Fitness
Dogs with lots of medical complications tend to be a lot more complicated to treat and as such their cardiologist fees may be higher. On the other hand, dogs that are in great shape and with fewer health complications are likely to incur lower fees at the vet’s office.
Also, healthier and fitter dogs are likely to recover faster in case of surgery and respond better to medication. Faster recoveries are directly related to lower treatment costs.
Dog Cardiologist Cost Breakdown (Different Services) Explained
A typical visit to a dog cardiologist will involve paying for things like consultation, examinations, and treatments. Therefore, a better way to understand how much vet cardiologist charge would be by understanding how much they charge for some of the key services you’re likely to require from them.
Consultation & Examination Fees
The average consultation fee for a dog cardiologist in America is $110 to $200. This cost caters for consultation and capturing the dog’s medical history. In some cases, you might need to pay for a physical examination or blood pressure test – and as such, the total cost can rise due to such fees.
This is one of the most basic tests for diagnosing heart disease in pets. So, if you’re planning a visit to a veterinary cardiologist, chances are that this diagnostic procedure will be a part of the menu.
As its name suggests, this non-invasive procedure entails the use of high-frequency sound waves to create real-time images of the heart enabling the veterinary to observe how the heart is functioning. The test also provides them with information about the shape and size of the four chambers of the heart, the surrounding structures, and the heart valves.
The average cost of an echocardiogram is $200 to $350.
Electrocardiogram Test (ECG) Fees
While an echocardiogram checks the structure of the heart, the electrocardiogram test (ECG) is used to check the pattern of the electric pulses being generated by your dog’s heart rhythm.
Veterinarians use the ECG test to check if your pet’s heart electrical pulse is normal or unusual. A healthy heart will provide consistent shapes of waves. On the other hand, irregular or inconsistent waves may indicate the potential of heart disease.
So, how much does a dog ECG test cost? Well, while the actual figure may vary based on factors such as dog breed, location, and complexity, most vets charge between $25 to $100 per brief electrocardiogram test. Charges may go even higher for extended ECG tests.
Cardiac Auscultation Charges
The main purpose of auscultation is to listen to the heart sounds with the aim of distinguishing different pitches and timings. This is an excellent way to diagnose heart murmurs and other congenital heart defects.
Your vet will conduct this kind of test using a stethoscope which they’ll use to listen to amplified heart sounds. It’s important to be quiet during this session to allow your vet to identify any unusual heart sounds.
Being a non-invasive test, this test doesn’t involve the use of anesthesia and is therefore priced lower than other dog cardiologist exams at $50 to $100 per dog.
Dog Blood Testing Charges
Your pet’s blood can provide useful clues about their health. For instance, high quantities of bad cholesterol in the blood can point to an increased likelihood for a heart attack. Also, veterinarians can check for other substances in your dog’s blood to determine if they have heart failure or are at risk of fatty deposit build ups in their arteries.
As such, blood testing is one of the key services that might make it into your cardiologist’s fee list. In most cases, this test will set you back some $100 to $200 or thereabouts.
Chest X-ray Fees for Dogs
The chest x-ray is yet another crucial test that a pooch cardiologist can recommend. The procedure involves passing a small amount of radiation through your pet’s chest to produce an image. This image can be used to check for fluid build-up in the lungs and also whether the heart is enlarged.
Also, this test can be used to identify and rule out other possible causes of shortness of breath in your dog.
On average, a dog chest x-ray will cost you anywhere between $150 and $400 depending on the facility where you get it done.
More dog cardiologist costing details for other tests and treatment procedures can be found in the table below:
Conclusion – A Hefty Price Tag
In a nutshell, there are no “fixed” or “set” prices when it comes to dog cardiologist care. So, if you’re wondering how much a dog cardiologist will charge you, the answer is – it depends. While basic checkups will cost you below $200, some special tests and procedures can cost thousands.
Hopefully, you’ll find the facts and figures mentioned in this guide useful as part of your preparation process.