Working Around the High Cost of Vet Care

I love our vets. They are bright and cutting edge, and have provided wonderful care for our fur kids for the past fifteen years. But, they are expensive. One dog’s annual will run us anywhere from $200-$350, depending on how many vaccinations are given, and whether or not we do a senior exam with special testing. Being on a fixed income, and having five dogs, it can be tough to come up with that over and over again throughout the year. Fortunately, our vets work with us, and will give us 60 days to pay. But to be honest, I don’t like being tied down to multiple payments. God forbid if anything goes wrong. So I’ve started looking for bargains where I can find them. If I can get vaccinations cheaper from the county or a clinic, I’ll take our dogs there for that. If I can get heartworm testing at half the price, I’ll go wherever it’s offered.


Check your local health department for rabies clinics in your county. You may have to stand and wait, but the savings are worth it!

Maria has been needing a rabies booster since August. I’d been hoping on a county shot clinic, but they reduced the frequency of them this year and I couldn’t get to the one in September. Our vets want $25 dollars for a rabies shot, and although that’s not a lot of money, Waldo and Rocket Boy both needed their annuals, one in September and one in October, and I knew that was going to rack us, so I was trying to save money wherever I could. I finally called a vet that I had used once to get a heartworm check for Taco, (exactly half the price of our regular vet) and they told me that they have rabies shots for $10.00, with no office fee. That last bit is important, because there are vets in the area who offer lower prices, but then they tack on an office fee, whether the dog has an exam or not. $10 for a   rabies, is less than half the cost at our vet’s office. So I made an appointment for Maria, and took her in.

While we were there, I wanted the vet to look at her paw because she has a bump on her toe that’s been worrying me. I’ve seen so many cases of dogs with a bump on their foot that turns out to be a mast cell tumor, that every time a see a growth on one of my dogs’ feet, I go in to panic mode. The receptionist asked me if I wanted an exam for Maria, so I asked the cost for that — $5.00.

Wait. That’s 9 times less than I pay our regular vet. Yes, you bet your boots I want an exam, (which was exactly the same as the exam she’d have had from our vet — and the bump…probably just a sliver of glass from the storm window she broke last week.)

The exam revealed that Maria could use a dental cleaning, and probably a few tooth extractions. I knew that, but it was something I was avoiding thinking about, because those are crazy expensive. When we first adopted Zoey, she had a bad infection in her mouth that was causing kidney issues. She needed an immediate dental, which resulted in the extraction of every one of her teeth. It was more than $800. We’d received help for that from a local rescue group.


Banana, brushing her teeth.

So, out of curiosity, I asked…”how much for a dental”. And although I’d been teetering, this is where I began to feel like we’ve been being ripped off for the past 15 years.

$100. Flat fee. Includes any extractions and post dental pain meds.

I’m not sure how to reconcile this. I love our vets and feel a sense of loyalty to them. But, wouldn’t more people take care of their pets and get them the vet care they needed, when they needed it, if it were always this affordable?

It’s kind of looking like the girls and I may be changing vets.

Do you live in the Greater Cleveland area and think you are paying too much for vet care? Here are some vets and clinics that might help you lower your costs (info is 11/25/16). (If you know of more that I haven’t mentioned here, please comment or email me.)

  • Premier Spay Neuter & Wellness Clinic    7876 Broadview Rd, Cleveland, OH                 216-573-7387                                                                                                                                             $10 rabies, $5 exams, $20 heartworm check, $100 all-inclusive dental. Great prices on spay & neuter.
  • Aaron Animal Clinic      7640 Broadview Rd, Parma, OH 44134                                               216-901-9980                                                                                                                                           Free exams for senior pet owners, pets adopted from shelters, and low income pet owners. Dental savings during month of November. Vaccination packages.
  • Gateway Animal Clinic  5606 Fleet Avenue, Cleveland, OH                                                      216-771-4414                                                                                                                                            Low prices all around. Good price on ACL surgery.
  • Quick Fix Low Cost Clinic  930 Lafayette Rd, Unit A, Medina OH 44256                               330-558-1540                                                                                                                                             $15 DHLPP, $20 Heartworm check
  • Copley Pet Vet  1245 S.Cleveland Massillon Rd. Suite 314 , Copley, Ohio 44321                 (330) 576-3095                                                                                                                                           $8 rabies, $14 DHLPP, $12 Bordetella, $16 Heartworm check.


We are also always looking for coupons for certain items we purchase for our dogs on a regular basis. If you have Rachael Ray Nutrish coupons,  Cesar coupons, or milkbone coupons that  you will not be using, please save them for us. Contact me if you have some to send.thanks

And if you come across an errant box of Purina Busy HeartyHides in your store, for God’s sake, send them to us!

I also have a wishlist of items that we just can’t afford, but that would make life a whole lot easier. It has recently been updated.

Things we need Up on the Woof


About yelodoggie

C.A.Wulff is an author, artist and animal advocate. She has been involved in pet rescue for over twenty-five years. She has written two books about her true-life adventures living with an ever-changing house full of pets: Born Without a Tail, and Circling the Waggins, and a guide to animal advocacy using the Internet as a tool: How to Change the World in 30 Seconds". Wulff also writes a pet column and book review column for the Examiner, and is a contributing editor for She attributes her love of animals to having been raised by Wulffs.
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3 Responses to Working Around the High Cost of Vet Care

  1. kathyg92256 says:

    Where I live, many of the vets in the area are part of a corporation so their prices are even higher than my regular vet; at least he offers a senior discount. For treats, dog food, etc have you tried I order from them almost exclusively but I also have many other animals so my order is always at least $49 (free shipping). Many of the items that they list are cheaper than my local Petsmart & Petco and I don’t have to go to the store (I hate shopping!).


    • yelodoggie says:

      Are they Banfield? We haven’t tried yet. I’ll check them out since you recommend them.


      • kathyg92256 says:

        Not Banfield; they are VCA Vet Hospitals. Chewy is great! I sent them an email just suggesting that in the future not to ship pill pockets with a 35 lb bag of dog food because they didn’t hold their shape very well. They answered almost immediately saying they would send me another package for free. Today I got a Christmas card from them.


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