Home Lifestyle Pet owners, you could be overpaying on your vet fees

Pet owners, you could be overpaying on your vet fees

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We’d do anything for our pooches(Picture: Getty Images)

From dogs and cats to parrots and rabbits, we’d do anything for our beloved pets — and that includes paying extortionate medical fees.

However, you could be paying way more at the vet than they need to.

UK watchdog, The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), announced it would launching a probe into the veterinary sector to investigate whether pet owners are being forced to overpay.

In the UK, there are 16 million pet owners and yet, the CMA estimates that the vet market makes a staggering £5billion a year.

The CMA is concerned that customers are not being given enough information to make informed choices, and made to overpay for medicines and prescriptions.

The investigation will look into whether consumers are given limited choice, and whether vet profits are ‘consistent with the levels expected in a competitive market’.

We may be paying too much for vet care(Picture: Getty Images)

It’s possible that, in future, certain information may become compulsory to provide, and maximum prescription fees may be introduced.

Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the CMA, said: ‘We’ve heard from people who are struggling to pay vet bills, potentially overpaying for medicines and don’t always know the best treatment options available to them.

‘While we’re aware of acute staff shortages and difficult working conditions for vets, we consider a formal market investigation is essential to ensure good outcomes for the millions of pet owners in the UK as well as professionals working in the sector.



The CMA’s top three tips for pet owners

1. Look further than the closest vet

Many pet owners said they choose a vet based simply on how close it is to where they live. It might feel convenient, but fees and services do differ between practices so check to be sure it’s the right one for you.

2. Ask if there are other treatment options

Getting a treatment that works for you and your pet is what matters most. It’s important that you understand why your vet has recommended a particular treatment or test. But if you’re not sure about a treatment, or you’re worried about the cost, speak to your vet.

3. If it’s not urgent, consider buying the medication elsewhere

When it’s an emergency, we just want to get our pet the medication they need as quickly as possible. But if your pet needs non-urgent care, then it can be cheaper, even when you include your vet’s prescription fee, to buy the medication elsewhere – such as an online pharmacy or specialist pet shop. Around a quarter of pet owners were not aware of this.

Source: Gov.uk

‘The independent inquiry group will now take this investigation forward and, in the meantime, we’re publishing some tips to help pet owners better navigate vet services.’

The CMA said it will take time to investigate the situation, in order to provide potential solutions.

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