former veterinary office worker speaking (l) dog treats on 100 dollar bills and stethoscope veterinary bill concept (c) former veterinary office worker speaking (r)

MargJohnsonVA/Shutterstock @kastorskorner/TikTok (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

Former veterinary office worker says lab test charge on your vet bill is a ‘scam’

'Vets rip you off when you're vulnerable.'


Stacy Fernandez


Posted on Sep 20, 2023   Updated on Sep 20, 2023, 9:37 am CDT

In a trending TikTok video, a former veterinary worker shared just how much your pet’s office may be upcharging for lab tests.

The video started off with a popular stitch of @tacoreacts asking, “What’s a company secret that we shouldn’t know, but you’re just like, ‘Fuck it, I hate this job.’”

Kastor (@kastorskorner) then pops in to share that he worked at a veterinary hospital in Connecticut for about two decades, handling a lot of the billing paperwork.

As people came out of the pet doctor’s office upset and worried, he had to be the one to hand them a bill in the hundred or thousand-dollar range.

People would most often zero in on the lab work costs since it tended to be one of the highest, if not the highest, charges on the bill.

“When I say I felt bad, it’s an understatement of the year,” Kastor says.

As the person having to input the expense into the computer, he saw that these tests they were charging hundreds or thousands of dollars for really only cost the hospital $10-$40 on average while the customers were paying $150 or more.

“Sometimes Vets rip you off when [you’re] vulnerable,” Kastor wrote in the caption.

@kastorskorner #stitch with @Taco reacts sometimes Vets rip you off when your vulnerable. #tacoreacts #veterinarian ♬ original sound – Kastor’s Korner

The video has garnered more than 42,000 views and over 120 comments as of Wednesday morning.

Pet owners have long complained that getting medical care for their furry (or nonfurry!) companion can come at such a high cost that they tend to avoid the vet unless absolutely necessary—fearing getting an astronomical bill at the end.

While the average vet visit costs around $61 in the United States, other routine procedures can run a higher bill. Take a dog for example. Their routine checkup can cost $50-$250, dental cleaning $70-$400, treating a wound can run $800-$2,500, and emergency surgery can go anywhere from $1,500-$5,000, the Zebra reported.

There can also be a price difference based on the state or city in which a person seeking care is located. The average dog dental cleaning in San Francisco costs nearly $400, while it’s closer to $330 in Omaha.

Several commenters shared their vet experiences.

“Moms cat got beat up bad, vet wanted $1k, they insisted it was the only option. Mom asked about putting him doen, all of a sudden there are cheap [options],” a top comment read.

“The first vet I worked for didn’t give an employee discount. But they let me use my pto to pay from some of the tooth removal for my foster,” a person shared.

In response to a commenter who said the upcharges are common knowledge, Kastor said that there are smarter choices pet owners can make, particularly putting in the effort to find vets “who listen to owners.” He added that most people don’t have pet insurance and end up paying out of pocket for these costs.

“It’s ok to leave a practice if you don’t feel heard,” Kastor wrote.

While one commenter tried to justify the price saying the vet needs to mark up the price to pay overhead costs, Kastor said he thought the price difference was too much.

“Yeah 150% is fine we get that. But 1000% mark up? Really that’s ok?” he wrote.

The Daily Dot reached out to Kastor via TikTok comment.

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*First Published: Sep 20, 2023, 9:36 am CDT