The Society for Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS) has published its 2015 Fee Survey, which has revealed wide variations in the fees charged between different practices.
Within the small animal sector, the survey showed an increasing divergence between prices for routine procedures such as vaccination (up 3.3% to 7.3%) and other procedures such as pyometra (up 15.6%) or a cat dental (up 17.5%). The biggest rise was for an out-of-hours call out, which was up 18.6% – perhaps reflecting the increasing cost of providing this service.
Equine fees show an overall drop of 3.5% on the bundle price, comprising initial routine examination, five-stage pre-purchase examination, routine dental examination and float, a colic examination and the cost of sedation/waiting. Although many of the individual equine procedures showed a fee decrease, 79% of equine practices reported they had increased fees over the past year.
For large animal vets, the fees were more tightly constrained by the commercial realities of farming. This year, the overall price rise for the bundle of fees, comprising routine calving, foot trimming, elective caesarean and hourly rates for fertility work and herd health schemes, was 4.1%. However, 47.8% of large animal practices reported an increase in fees charged over the past 12 months.
Nick Stuart, SPVS president, said: “We all know the industry is facing real challenges and this is reflected in the fee survey, with equine practices in particular decreasing many of their prices on last year. However, the survey also shows the fees vets charge vary widely, particularly in the small animal sector.
“While some of this can be accounted for by differing overheads, it does provide a fascinating insight into the various financial models that exist and challenges practice owners to review how they construct their fees. It also suggests there is scope for practices to grow their profitability and understanding the market will help them with this.”
For more information, a copy of the survey, or to join SPVS, visit www.spvs.org.uk