As we all know, veterinary clinics charge an arm and a leg in Hong Kong. Taking cats and dogs to see a veterinarian for cat and dog sterilization or even a common cold can cost a pretty penny, while serious illnesses can break the bank without any doubt. So, it is best for pet owners to have a rainy day fund for unforeseen circumstances.
However, the charges of Hong Kong veterinary clinics are all over the map. MoneySmart will give you the lowdown on the approximate prices of various medical treatments to give everyone a ballpark figure and more information about pet insurance!
How much does a vet visit cost? Hong Kong veterinary service price overview
Don’t get surprised when you find out that charges vary at different vet clinics. Most veterinary clinics in Hong Kong adopt an itemized fee structure. Generally, the more serious the pet’s condition, the more fees will be charged, and multiple visits may be required. Below are the charges for some common veterinary medical services provided by clinics:
|General Veterinary Service Charges
|Basic consultation (excluding medication)
|Check-up and vaccination fees
|X-ray (per piece)
|Ultrasound (per site)
|Feline AIDS/Feline Leukemia Test
|Heartworm prevention shot
|Rabies/Mad dog prevention shot
|DHPPiL (6-in-1) vaccination shot
|Neutering/Spaying fees (excluding clinic fees and anesthesia, etc.)
|Cat – Male
|Cat – Female
|Dog – Male (depending on size)
|Dog – Female (depending on size)
|Dental fees (excluding clinic fees and anesthesia, etc.)
|Tooth extraction (per tooth)
|HK$350-500 (depending on tooth condition)
|Operating room fee
|General anesthesia (depending on size)
|Hospitalization (depending on size)
|HK$600-1500 per day
|The above charges are for reference only.
For minor illnesses, clinics typically charge only consultation fees and medication fees, which range from HK$500 to HK$800, depending on the medication. However, if a cat or dog requires surgery, such as tumor removal, the fees will be much more complicated, including consultation fees, general anesthesia fees, operating room fees, and medication fees. The cost of a single visit can easily exceed HK$10,000.
One quick tip here: remember that the charges are not standardized. If you have any questions about the charges during a visit to a veterinarian, you should communicate openly about your thoughts and budget.
More about pet insurance in Hong Kong
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s best to keep your furry friend in good health, but as they age and develop conditions like cancer and diabetes, medical expenses can add up quickly. Along with exam and hospitalization fees, owners may have to foot the bill for a variety of tests and treatments, resulting in a large sum of continuous and sizable expenses.
If you want to keep your mind at peace, you might want to consider getting pet insurance for your furry friend.
What does pet insurance cover?
The answer is not as simple as “everything” or “nothing.” Basic plans usually cover veterinary consultations, x-rays, hospitalization, and surgery, but the more comprehensive ones can offer protection against a range of potential risks, such as lost pet advertisement fees, funeral expenses, and trip cancellations.
And it’s never too early to consider pet insurance since most companies offer plans for pets as young as 6 months old and as old as 8 years old.
If you are interested in learning more about pet insurance in Hong Kong, check out our article: Hong Kong Pet Insurance Comparison 2023.
What if you don’t have enough cash to cover the surgery cost?
In case you don’t have enough cash, neither a insurance plan to cover the surgery cost, credit card installment plans or small personal loans can be viable options.
Credit card installment plan
If your pet suddenly falls ill and you need to pay a large sum of money in a short period of time, you can opt for a credit card installment plan. The interest and fees are generally lower than those of finance companies, and the approval time is faster than that of personal bank loans.
Moreover, veterinary expenses generally fall under “local spending,” which meets the rebate conditions of most credit cards and can save some money by earning cash back.
Here is a list of credit cards that offer the most cash back on spending: Hong Kong Cash Back Credit Card Comparison.
Small personal loans
If your pet requires major surgery, you can apply for a personal loan as an alternative to using credit cards. Personal loans typically have a repayment period of up to 5 years, which can help stabilize your cash flow and reduce your immediate financial burden.
Here are a few HK$200,000 personal loan offers with a 3-year repayment time:
Unclear vet fee structures can lead to extra charges
According to the Consumer Council’s report, which was released in October 2022, nearly 60% of the 28 complaints were related to price disputes. Here are 3 cases that show disagreement over charges:
Unused services cannot be refunded until the installment has been fully paid
A complainant sought a refund of unused services but was informed that it could only be arranged after 12 months, when the repayment to the bank had been completed. The clinic eventually arranged a full refund after the complainant provided a record of the full payment.
Large discrepancy between the quoted and actual cost of treatment
A dog owner took his pet to Animal Clinic B for a medical procedure that was quoted at $65,000, but the final cost ended up being nearly double that amount. That happened because the complainant signed a consent form at the time of admission, which listed the estimated cost of all possible treatments during the medical procedure.
No minimum charges specified for each drug type
A Hong Kong veterinary clinic charged a complainant HK$1,251 for 4 kinds of drugs and a consultation fee, including $70 for 5 anti-allergic tablets priced at HK$2 each and HK$61 for 8ml of deworming medication priced at HK$2.06/ml. The clinic explained that there was a minimum charge of $70 for each kind of drug, but the receipt did not provide any terms about the minimum charge.
Final tips—Always ask for more information about pet treatment charges
Before visiting a vet, it’s always best to ask for more information to avoid being overcharged.
- Check the Veterinary Surgeons Board (VSB) website for registered veterinary surgeons to verify a valid practicing certificate;
- Lodge a complaint with the Veterinary Surgeons Board (VSB) if there is suspicion of professional misconduct or negligence by registered veterinary surgeons;
- Communicate with the vet about the treatment plan and fees before confirming the pet’s treatment, and keep in touch during treatment to track changes in treatment methods and fees;
- Understand the refund policy and arrangement details for unused treatment fees before paying a deposit for complex treatments;
- Check receipts and details before payment. Raise and resolve disputes with the vet clinic as soon as possible.
Pets are like family members, and as owners, we will always do our best to accompany and care for them. Even if it comes with financial difficulty, we should never abandon them. There is always a solution!
Frequently asked questions—Hong Kong Veterinary Clinics and Animal Hospital Fees
How much does a vet visit cost?
A basic consultation (excluding medication) costs around HK$300-350.
How much does a DHPPiL (6-in-1) vaccination shot cost?
A DHPPiL (6-in-1) vaccination shot costs around HK$900–HK$1300.
Where can I check if a veterinary surgeon is qualified?
You may check the list of Registered Veterinary Surgeons with Valid Practising Certificates on the Veterinary Surgeons Board (VSB) website.
If you’re worried about the high cost of veterinary care, consider getting pet insurance to keep your furry friends healthy and happy. Check out our article for the best options to fit your budget and your pet’s needs.
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