Veterinarian - San Diego
1540 Morena Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92110




The Why Behind Veterinary Prices

ABC’s 20/20 recently aired a story depicting veterinarians as “upselling” their services, calling into question the recommendations and ethical practices of veterinarians.  We feel that this recent segment greatly misses the mark when explaining the increased standard of care of today’s veterinary medicine and the costs associated with it.

Value is the underlying consideration that drives consumer decisions.  We have all heard the phrase, ‘what you pay for is what you get’.  This is no foreign concept when it comes to veterinary care either, but what often is not explained to pet parents are the costs behind veterinary care.  We will shed light first-hand on some of the reasoning behind these costs from the horse's mouth--aka from a veterinary perspective.

The majority of veterinarians are not gold-diggers.

Firstly, truth be told, veterinarians (including all of those here at Morena Pet Hospital) did not enter into this profession to get ahead in life.  Despite the economic hardship placed on many veterinarians from the start (student loans, foregone earnings associated with being in veterinary school, lower than average incomes compared to other healthcare industries, start-up costs of opening a practice, overhead expenses, etc.), the human-animal bond that are experienced even in our personal lives trumps those costs, which is what leads pet lovers to choose the veterinary profession.  Drs. Potter, Steib, and Zito did so out of their love for both pets and people.  The majority of veterinary professionals live in a modest home, work long hours (on their feet) to help animals all to live paycheck to paycheck on a steady income. 

Veterinary Medicine is costly to everyone.

It is disheartening when we hear such terms as “upselling” or “sticker shock” when associated with veterinary practices.  We are no strangers to veterinary costs ourselves.  A veterinary hospital, like all businesses, has expected costs (E.g. rent, utilities, tax, and insurance costs), not to mention the operational costs associated with maintaining a hospital facility with modern and up-to-date technologies and equipment, laboratory fees, food and medications costs, and salaries to provide a highly trained support staff.

In addition, the veterinary industry has changed dramatically over the years, now offering technological advances (once available only for humans) that have become readily available to pets too.  Items such as Cat Scans, MRIs, organ transplants, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and even stem cell therapy are amongst the current services and treatments that are now options for our furry companions.  However, with advancement in technology, also comes cost.

Some may be surprised to know that we at Morena Pet Hospital have experienced these costs on a personal level.  Although we work in the industry, it does not exempt us from making these same choices for our pets at home.  Many of our staff’s pets have had to undergo these same procedures (and costs) including kidney dialysis, chemotherapy, and orthopedic surgery to name just a few. 

Routine veterinary services are necessary.

According to the AVMA, veterinarians are seeing an alarming increase in preventable conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and dental disease in pets.  This is why veterinary medicine has shifted from responsive therapy (bringing pets in for care after clinical signs) to a more preventative care approach through vaccinations, spaying and neutering, dental cleanings, as well as wellness panels to test for pre-existing conditions and parasites, so one can treat the illnesses prior to symptoms.  Preventative medicine is the easiest, least expensive, and most important way to keep your pet healthy. Early detection ensures prompt action that may solve the problem before serious consequences occur.

We understand and agree that veterinary costs are rising too quickly, but that does not lead us to “make a quick buck” selling unnecessary shots, tests, and procedures to pet owners as ABC’s 20/20 segment lead audience viewers to believe. In fact, if you asked any veterinary team member what they dislike the most about our industry, making decisions based on finances instead of medical need is likely at the top of the list! If a recommendation is made, it is based on your pet’s individual lifestage and lifestyle and we are doing so because we want what is best for your pet.  As fellow animal lovers, we are committed to ensuring the highest level of support, information and service to give your companion the best possible care for a lifetime.  We never base our recommendations on our seeing dollar signs and make every effort to ensure that all fees are fair and responsible.

Stay tuned for our next blog featuring tips for affording pet care...


"ABC's Veterinary Care Segment Lacks 20/20 Clarity",, November 25, 2013,

"Is Your Veterinarian Being Honest With You", ABC 20/20, November 22, 2013,

"Meeting the Costs of Veterinary Care", AAHA, September 30, 2013,