Fees, costs & estimates
SASH fees and costs are generally similar to other 24/7 pet emergency and specialist hospitals. They are comparable or lower than the cost of human healthcare if government payments and subsidies (like, but not limited to, Medicare) were removed.
No pet or disease condition is identical to another, which means pricing and estimates can vary significantly. If you would like to obtain a rough guide, contact us on 02 8874 9994 to speak to a Clinical Services Consultant, who will do their best to provide you with as much information as possible. However, it should be noted that not all services and procedures are the same, and those that are more bespoke are extremely difficult to price without examining your pet. For all procedures, only after an initial consultation, will it be possible to provide a more accurate estimate, which generally will consist of a high and low range.
Consultations are essential in order to determine an estimate of costs, as these vary greatly with variables such as animal age, sex, size, disease state, course of treatment, and owner input. Only after a thorough assessment is made, is a veterinarian able to provide an accurate estimate. If you have financial concerns, a consult is also the best time to raise these issues. Although SASH is best known for its industry leading, gold-standard level of care, other treatment options may also be explored so you are able to make the most informed decision.
While veterinary fees are not regulated, there is healthy competition between specialist and emergency hospitals which ensures costs are comparable. Large discrepancies in prices between hospitals are normally indicative of a difference in consumables, expertise, the medical devices being used and the labour costs required. When comparing the costs of veterinary care it’s important to compare “like-for-like”.
Due to the complex nature of specialist veterinary care, it is possible that diseases and conditions undergo unpredictable changes, even after a veterinary consult. In the event that the cost of treatment is likely to exceed the initial estimate, our veterinarians will do their best to keep you updated with their new plan and estimate, so that an informed decision can be made.
Residents of Australia are fortunate to enjoy universal healthcare, a system in which taxes fund government-subsidised healthcare (e.g. Medicare). Even private human hospitals receive large sums of government funding, which allows them to remain operational by charging clients less. For many decades, the cost of purchasing MRIs for human hospitals was heavily discounted which partly explains why veterinary MRI costs are greater. Unfortunately, there is currently no government funded healthcare for pets, which means the bill is paid entirely by the client. However, if you were to remove all government funding and subsidies from human hospital bills, you will find these costs are generally comparable or even much more expensive than veterinary health care.
Secondly, some comparable procedures for pets can be more expensive than the equivalent human procedure. In human medicine, most patients can be instructed to remain perfectly still for extended periods. However, this is not possible for most pets, so sedation or even general anaesthesia is required. In these cases, seemingly straight-forward procedures, under best practice, will require the attention of a additional staff, consumables and time to ensure best patient outcomes.
Generally, specialist practices are considered to be “more expensive”. However, it is also well accepted that the level of care and expertise received from a specialist veterinarian, for the management of cases in their specific discipline, is higher than that of a general practitioner. This is often reflected by the duration of the consult, which is often much longer for specialist veterinarians (e.g. one hour instead of 15 minutes). For more information about what a specialist veterinarian is and various terms related to veterinarians, read this article.
SASH team members can sometimes provide very general advice over the phone. However, it is often not possible to speak to a veterinarian about a specific pet if they are not yet a SASH patient. Specialist veterinary care starts with an initial consult, during which, an in-depth evaluation is performed before being able to provide correct advice, diagnosis, and treatment options. This is often not possible over a short phone conversation.
For some departments and cases, remote consults may be possible and can be arranged by our Client Services team. However, for other departments a physical examination may be the most important part of the consult, which will require the pet to be in the same room as the veterinarian.
Yes. Even if you have seen a local veterinarian, and they have recommended a specific procedure or service, a consult with a SASH specialist department is still necessary. This is the value that specialist veterinarians can provide, as their opinions may differ. Specialists will be more familiar with more or different procedures, services, and options, which may result in your pet requiring a different diagnostic or treatment pathway. This can only be determined after a consult. In the interest of your pet’s welfare and finances, only appropriate and required diagnostics and procedures are performed.
We understand that in stressful times, paying unexpected bills may be difficult. As such, SASH offers a number of financing options such as Vet Pay, Zip Pay, and Zip Money. Some of these operate under the “buy now pay later” model, and can help with cashflow. SASH also advocates for pet insurance, which can help with the life time care of the pet.
If you have pet insurance, we offer GapOnly payments for participating insurers. This means if your insurance provider is part of the GapOnly network, you can claim your insurance benefit BEFORE you make a payment, and you only need to pay the remaining balance. So you’re not out of pocket while you wait for a claim to be refunded.
Wherever possible, we will work with you to provide a recommendation based on your finances while making clear the impact on the level of care we can provide, so that you are making an informed decision.
SASH vets do not receive commission for cases they see. SASH believes this is the best to encourage team members to provide the best possible care in the best interest of the patient and client. It also fosters cross-functional, and multidisciplinary teamwork, which is critical to receiving the best possible clinical outcomes, especially for complex cases. There is therefore no incentive for SASH vets to overtreat or overcharge Many of our specialists and emergency vets are attracted to working at SASH because of our commission-free culture which allows them to give their unbiased opinion and seek the opinions and input of the largest offering of specialists departments in Australia.