Breaking down your vet bill

2016-06-07 06:00

A VET bill should usually have the practice’s details, including VAT number and practice number; it must detail the VAT portion (the vet must pay to SARS) and any discounts.

It will usually contain a mixture of professional fees - consultation time, vaccinations, surgical and anaesthesia time, boarding – and materials expended – injections, tablets, sedatives, bandages, food, lab fees.

The mark-up on over the counter medications and prescription meds in SA is usually in the region of 25 – 100%. Before you go “whoa!” remember that this means a box of tablets costing you R400 less VAT (goes to SARS, R49) and less the price the vet paid (R175) probably includes the drug packet and label (R3), less shrinkage (R5, accounts for overall expiry and loss of all stock), and non-vet salaries plus rent, maintenance etc. – after all the vet can’t charge you “rent”, “electricity”, “Telkom”, “Afrox Medical Gas” and “insurance” – he works out those costs and spreads them through all his accounts. They account for 30% (Staff) + 45% (Other costs) = R130.

So the vet has now earned R38 for those tablets. Of course the practice must save some money for future repairs, upgrades, and other rainy days so it takes about half. The vet is left with about R20. This equates well with a 2014 survey showing profitability of vet practices stood at 2 – 10%.

So f you get a R4,000 bill, and ask for a 10% discount, the vet and practice get nothing to save. So that money has to come from somewhere or someone else.

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