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Prices for small animal ultrasound vs. horse ultrasound

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  • Prices for small animal ultrasound vs. horse ultrasound

    So I was told that my cat's abdominal ultrasound examination (prompted by excessive vomiting / regurgitation) would be $450. This price includes a consult with a specialist who can read the results, which my regular vet doesn't do.

    Holy crap that's expensive. I don't think ultrasounding my mare's suspensories (which we did a number of times) ever cost that much.

    Is this common? Is small pet ultrasound just a total racket?

    Thoughts? Anyone else want to compare what they are paying? Or tell me somewhere in MD to get the same exam more affordably?
    I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
    I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09

  • #2
    WOW! I had a heart ultrasound on my cat, and it was half that price! I've also had my horse ultrasounded (kidneys) for WAY less than that.


    • #3
      Yes, thats cheap.

      At our hospital its $495 for abdominal (but the one performing the ultrasound is the boarded radiologist, shes not having a tech take the images and having them sent for intrepretation).

      The cost for a tendon etc. is $225. Theres a huge difference in the amount of detail in the abdomen, and scan time is generally 30 minutes for a complete exam.

      I know some people who have the vets come to their clinic to do the ultrasound get charged $1000, as their clinic marks it up 100%.

      Nothing wrong with waiting a bit and seeing how symptomatic treatment goes if money is a concern.


      • #4
        Also, many vets do "FAST" ultrasounds, looking specifically for fluid - these are usually $60.

        JumpQH - "heart" ultrasounds (cardiac) are often much cheaper as they are one organ to image, in the abdomen theres 9. Cardiac ultrasounds generally are $250 here with a cardiologist


        • #5
          I find the horse vet less than the some small animal vets. MY small animal vet always tells me the cost. He even called me on the phone right before the operaton for a torn ACL on my 16 yr old cat, "are you sure, it's going to cost $1,000 just for the surgeon". I like my vet, he's a dog person but great with my cat who at one time was the terror of the female vets.
          All the rest of the small animal practices are horribly expensive period.


          • #6
            Another general difference with large animal and small animal, is that in small animal often the instruments we use are human grade, not portable. Image quality in portable ultrasound machines is not nearly as good as in the human ones. They are just fine for basic things like bladder imaging, fluid checks etc. but for fine details (like measurements of the GI layers) its important to have a good machine - which costs a LOT of money to purchase and maintain. This is why generally, small animal is more pricey than large animal.


            • #7
              Originally posted by SquishTheBunny View Post
              Also, many vets do "FAST" ultrasounds, looking specifically for fluid - these are usually $60.

              JumpQH - "heart" ultrasounds (cardiac) are often much cheaper as they are one organ to image, in the abdomen theres 9. Cardiac ultrasounds generally are $250 here with a cardiologist
              Gotcha! Didn't realize that.


              • #8
                My clinic offers "outpatient ultrasounds" done by a board certified radiologist for $288. He does the exam, a complete report...calls your vet and sends them a report and talks to the owner. FNA makes it $500. "Inpatient" in other words, if your pet is being seen by another service, it is 321.00. Again, done by a board certified radiologist.


                • #9
                  Those are excellent prices Beckham - does the hospital not charge extra on top? The cost of a portable machine is much less, so it can keep the costs down significantly. However, usually the hospitals double the cost to the clients

                  The FNA's we do are only $60, its crazy how much prices can vary by location!


                  • #10
                    Our cardiac and full abdominals are $325. Cardiac takes almost the same amount of time as full abdominal with all of the measurements and things that are done. Plus those darned ribs get in the way! We got a new digital human grade machine just last fall (my OB's office has the same brand!) that came with 3 different probes. Images are transferred to our patients' electronic record. Single organ system (mostly rechecks or urinary tract) is about 1/2 price. FAST scan for fluid is about $90.

                    This fee does not include the exam, which is a minimum of $45 (outpatient only, DVM doesn't talk to the client much except for clarifying if they want aspirates or something, but confers with the referring) up to $125, which is the full hour with the specialist and a long consult afterwards regarding findings, recommendations, etc.
                    Life-long horse lover, dreaming of the day when I have one of my very own.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SquishTheBunny View Post
                      Those are excellent prices Beckham - does the hospital not charge extra on top? The cost of a portable machine is much less, so it can keep the costs down significantly. However, usually the hospitals double the cost to the clients

                      The FNA's we do are only $60, its crazy how much prices can vary by location!
                      The hospital doesn't, which is surprising. The radiologist can recommend to the client that the patient transfer to surgery or IM or something when they are there, then he talks to the other specialist and transfers them. Or. after he speaks with the rDVM, they may ask the owner to immediatley come back to that clinic, or make an appointment, etc. It works well most of the time, when the client understands we are performing a service for their vet...it is when they start asking for treatment recommendations, etc, that it can get sticky, Sadly, 90% of the time, we are giving bad news. Many times we are doing a cancer hunt.


                      • #12
                        Abdominal ultrasounds at my vet clinic are 500. I have no idea what my equine vet charges.
                        My blog: Crackerdog Farm


                        • #13
                          Abdominal ulstrasounds at the internist was $500, a fast ultrasound at my vet looking for bladder stones was $75.


                          • #14
                            Our internal med specialist does all our ultrasounds, and it's about $450 or so for her exam and full abdominal ultrasound. You can have an "outpatient ultrasound" done for about $325, where the report is typed and sent to your regular vet, but you don't get to talk to the specialist. We've found this to e really beneficial for things like checking to see if a splenic tumor is affecting other organs before the regular vet does surgery.
                            You can't fix stupid.... but you can breed it!


                            • #15
                              We desperately try to get our referral clients to understand that if they want to confer with the board-certified specialist for a half hour about prognosis, treatment options, etc. that they will have to pay a higher consultation fee than the $45. Doesn't always work!
                              Life-long horse lover, dreaming of the day when I have one of my very own.


                              • #16
                                I am surprised the internests are doing the ultra sound and not a radiologist and some places. Is there a staff radiologist to read them. Our internests will stick the probe on a patient sometimes, then if they really suspect something or want it anyway, they sign the patient up to have the ultra sound done by a radiologist. We can do bi-cavs as well if they are looking for another mass, etc. Echo's are done by a cardiologist.


                                • #17
                                  No, our internists have been doing all the ultrasounds now for years, we don't hav a radiologist on staff. If there is something they're not sure of we can send it to a radiologist for review, but it's rare they fin something our internist 'missed' so to speak. We do have a cardiologist at the other location, but our one internal med dr will do an echo if needed, usually for patients too unstable to transfer or as a quick "check this murmur before surgery" kind of deal.

                                  I work at a private specialty hospital, not at a university. We have internists, surgery, neuro, optho, cardio, oncho, radiation, behavior, rehab, exotics and ER
                                  You can't fix stupid.... but you can breed it!


                                  • #18
                                    We don't have a radiologist either, but we do have an internist and an ER/critical care specialist. They will often confer on interesting cases.
                                    Life-long horse lover, dreaming of the day when I have one of my very own.