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Average Yearly Vet Bills

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  • Average Yearly Vet Bills

    On average, what would you say your yearly vet bills are?

    Trying to make a point with the hubs that my horse won't end up with a $5,000 vet bill every few months...do we have an eye rolling smiley?

    I believe in the last year I've only spend approximately $1100. That includes:

    Emergency call last month
    Coffin Joint injections/lameness eval.

    I am very aware that bills can add up and I have read the threads where someone ends up with several thousand dollars from one incident. But on average?

  • #2
    Make sure you never buy my black Walker

    He will drastically raise the curve for your vet bills ;-)

    Not counting him, knock on wood and don't jinx myself, my vet bills have only been for pulling Coggins on two horses that travel....

    Knocking on wood again.............

    And a third time............


    • #3
      Well, it really depends on the breed/activity level/age, etc.

      Last year I spent less than $700 on my young, low-maintenence Haflinger. Vaccines, coggins, 2 vet visits, and a float. However, most TBs are a different story and I would estimate $1500 minimum.

      I would definitely stress the importance of having a veterinary nest-egg. Even the most relaxed horses can take a bad step or eat something they shouldn't. I would also recommend insurance if your husband doesn't want any HUGE suprises.


      • #4
        I'm at about $3000 for my two TB's this year. That includes shots, coggins and emergency calls. I am overly cautious and have the vet out for "minor" things since the ONE time I wasnt overly cautious, my horse ended up needing a $5000 surgery. So I would rather spend $200 twice a year on minor lameness than the surgery cost!
        Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
        White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

        Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


        • #5
          My vet bills usually are next to nothing. Coggins on the horses that show is usually about it. I do shots and worming. Teeth are about $60 (dentist) - my vet "lost" his floats 'cuz he hates to do teeth.

          This year I think I've spent a grand total of ~$400, and that includes gelding 2 colts. It's a rare year that I spend more than $1000, and I have a decent size herd. They very rarely hurt themselves or get sick.


          • #6
            Usually my vet bills are low..

            250 or less for routine stuff (floating (usually every 1-2 years), vaccines (usually only do them once a year, unless I'm showing a lot, coggins) and around 500 for non-routine.

            That being said, I've been blessed with well behaved sturdy horses. I just got insurance on my young TB, bc I'm not as optimistic about his ability to not need a lot of non-routine work. The premium was less than $300, and gives me a lot of peace of mind.

            I keep my bills low by handling a lot of the stuff I know I can handle on my own (thanks to a lot of years of pony club). Sometimes there will be a nasty cut and i'll second guess myself, and I'll call the vet out, but she ends up telling me to do the same thing I was going to do. I keep SMZs, and Bute on hand (and get a script and buy it online). This way if it's something minor I don't need the vet to come out, or if it's something major and I call the vet I can go ahead and start bute or antibiotics if she tells me to.


            • #7
              Originally posted by AliCat518 View Post
              I'm at about $3000 for my two TB's this year. That includes shots, coggins and emergency calls. I am overly cautious and have the vet out for "minor" things since the ONE time I wasnt overly cautious, my horse ended up needing a $5000 surgery. So I would rather spend $200 twice a year on minor lameness than the surgery cost!
              This is me too. My tb had major hock surgery two years ago so I am more likely to call the vet for minor lameness than the average person. My vet bills break down for two horses like this:

              700.00 dollars in x-rays a set for each horse

              280.oo dollars for shots and coggins

              140.00 for misc exams

              470.00 for allergy testing and exams.

              Tomorrow the vet will be coming to do an lameness exam and pull blood for a Lyme test and I will be ordering allergy shots for the tb next month. So if I have done the math right I will have spent around 2000.00 dollars for the year. Now I do have to say that I am having a rough time with my tb this year. Usually my vet bill would be under 800.00 dollars.
              ~\"Think today so you will be here to think tomorrow\" Burma Shave~


              • #8
                I would also recommend insurance. Once large animal hospitals discovered they could make money billing large rates to insurers their rates for the uninsured went through the roof.

                One year, for one horse, where nothing went wrong equaled:
                $280 for spring shots, WNV, strangles, rabies, coggins, Lyme titer and dental check.

                $80 for fall shots, $25 for sheath cleaning, $45 for powdered bute to keep on hand, $30+ for a tube of banamine for the same reason.

                Total for one horse, no other problems is $460 a year. I have two horses.

                Anything beyond this is not what I call average bills. I am one of those you read about in previous threads who paid $4600 one year for colic surgery, and $15K fourteen months later for colic surgery at the same hospital, for the same length of stay. The horse whose surgery was far riskier (and cheaper) lived;the horse whose surgery was more routine, with more expensive aftercare, did not. Basic quote for the first surgery was $5,000. Basic quote for the second, (remember it is only fourteen months later) was $8,100. Hubby is right to be concerned. Get insurance, and get care credit.
                "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein



                • #9
                  Mine are really low as well. I have and OTTB.

                  So far this year...also knocking on wood...

                  Rabies/Coggins - $74
                  5 pack plus WNV (Self Given) - $24
                  Floating - $70
                  Eye Ulcer - $123 (unplanned visit)

                  So as of now my total is around $291.
                  Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
                  Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
                  Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
                  Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook


                  • #10
                    I'm afraid to answer this question haha - knocking on wood first so I don't jinx myself.

                    My horse's vet bills have been pretty low. I've had the current mare 6 years and aside from annual checkups, floating, and 2 unexpected farm calls (she has had an eye ulcer twice in the same eye since I've had her) she's been pretty low maintenance. Maybe $500 a year average?

                    Tip - we do our own vaccines, and that can be a nice savings if you learn to do it yourself.
                    *Wendy* 4.17.73 - 12.20.05


                    • #11
                      Really low: 2 horses $834 total for 2010. Both are in very good health, not under heavy work, live out 24/7 360 days of the year.
                      <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


                      • #12
                        I hopefully don't jinx myself, but my total for one 17 year old mare this year so far is $260 for vet, $60 for dental. I've owned her for 13 years, and I think this is pretty average for us. She has been remarkably healthy (madly knocking on wood ).
                        *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*


                        • #13
                          Mine are usually low ( almost nothing). The biggest bill I have ever had was a freak accident in 2005 and it was $300. I do my own shots, worming. I do teeth as needed. Coggins only if needed. My horses are very healthy on average. Last year at this time I had the vet out twice when the horses contracted strangles from our new arrival. I think the two calls added up to 60.00 total. I haven't needed him since, I can live with that..............


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MtyMax View Post
                            Trying to make a point with the hubs that my horse won't end up with a $5,000 vet bill every few months...do we have an eye rolling smiley?
                            what do you do with your horse?

                            sport horses usually cost a bit more than non sport horses.

                            for instance. same horse but different uses.

                            when used for trail:
                            usual 450 for the wellness program which includes everything he needs for general health.
                            + stifle injection.

                            when used for eventing:
                            usual 450 for wellness program which include everything he needs for the year.
                            + legend every 6 weeks
                            + hock injections/stifle injections/back injections/SI injections
                            + supplements

                            and this is without acute lameness.
                            My TB cost me 10K two years in a row due to an injury. I rehabbed him and then had to sell him to pay off the debt. And that was WITH insurance. So yes, even with insurance you can really dig a hole.

                            but on average. no, if you keep them at home they will not cost you thousands every few months. : )
                            Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                            • #15
                              Oh I won't even bother adding up actual costs. I do know my averages are higher than those listed since the costs in my area are expensive - vet call fee is $90, dental is $185, etc. So the costs will be higher for just basics. That is IF I ever got by with just basics!

                              I highly recommend insurance. Every year I've had it I have received more in payouts than the premium.


                              • #16
                                Mine are always pretty low. Knock on wood, no emergancies for several years. Cost also depends on if I show and what vacs or coggins, most things I do myself except dentals. Costs per horse:

                                Rabies - 10
                                West Nile- 22
                                3way - 14
                                Dentals by a vet/dentist - 165 to 200
                                That's it as long as everyone stays healthy!


                                • #17
                                  About $200 per year per horse in a good year. One bad year, we spent thousands ($1000 for the echocardiogram and exam by the medical specialist, $2,000 to the surgeon, another $1,000 in medicines) on one horse and over $1,500 on the one who had a puncture wound that got infected.

                                  I think it makes sense to have insurance or to have a special bank account that is your self insurance fund. If you put $2,000 year one and then $1,000 per year thereafter into the catastrophic illness fund for your horse, you hopefully will have enough money when you have a catastrophic illness.

                                  Be frugal when you are comfortable being frugal. Our neighbors get together and split the shipping on overnighting a vaccine order each spring. Yes, we take a small risk of having a reaction and not having a vet here, but that is a risk we are willing to take. If you are not an experienced, do it yourself type, you should plan on spending extra on routine vet fees. It is better to spend the money on a vet visit than to worry.


                                  • #18
                                    $1500/yr if you include the adequan and legend I get from my vet
                                    so that's those, plus the full shebang of vaccines, dental, wellness exam, plus one lameness exam for something.
                                    chaque pas est fait ensemble


                                    • #19
                                      Between 200-300 a year. My mare only needs floated every other year. I do vaccinate for the mosquito diseases every 6mos as I'm in Florida. So spring and fall shots. Coggins ect.
                                      I've had only one vet call outside of routine in 6 years, it was a choke in 06 or 07. (knock wood lol)


                                      • #20
                                        It varies drastically. I have the vet out once annually for spring shots (Coggins/rabies/all others) and teeth. I do fall boosters myself, I have been giving horses shots for 20 years.

                                        Emergency calls as needed. Spent $1500 in end of life care/euth for my old junior jumper last winter. Have had a few other large vet bills over the years (one colic surgery (lost horse), one week in intensive care for neuro EHV-1 (horse survived). So I have spent as little as a few hundred, as much as over $10k in a year on vet bills. I just make sure I have a good cushion in the bank in case I need it.