SVA Statement – Responsible Pet Ownership and Veterinary Fees

By Admin | News

Mar 21

1 The role of the Singapore Veterinary Association (SVA) includes (i) supporting and fostering the character, status, interests, honour and dignity of the veterinary profession and; (ii) informing and acquainting the government & public of Singapore on matters relating to veterinary science and the veterinary profession.

2 While the fees charged by veterinarians and veterinary clinics are not regulated and is an open market, veterinarians are required to adhere to the Code of Ethics for Veterinarians and relevant licensing conditions. The relevant sections are appended for reference.

3 Veterinarians and veterinary clinics are reminded to perform their work with integrity, and as laid out in the Code of Ethics.

Cost of Veterinary Healthcare

4 The cost of providing healthcare in veterinary medicine is a reflection of the cost and ongoing maintenance of medical equipment, rental and skilled manpower to set up and run a veterinary clinic. In Singapore, veterinary services are not subsidised and reflect the true cost of quality healthcare. In order to carry out a thorough examination or perform a procedure, some animals may require anaesthesia or sedation, which may increase the cost of the veterinary care. In addition, unlike General Practitioner clinics in human medicine, many veterinary clinics offer a full suite of services including dentistry, advanced imaging, on-site blood tests and surgery.

5 While veterinarians join the profession out of the love for animals, this must be sustainable in order for them to continue to offer their services. There are avenues for pro bono veterinary services, and these are reserved for the most needy animals.

Advice to Pet Owners and Members of the Public

6 A pet is for life. As part of being a responsible pet owner, members of the public are urged to understand the responsibilities that comes with owning and caring for a pet. The foundation of responsible pet ownership includes the provision of basic needs such as housing, food and water and veterinary care, both routine and unexpected.

7 Pet owners and members of the public are urged to clarify the veterinary fees involved with their veterinarian prior to acceding to any services rendered. Preventative veterinary care such as vaccinations and routine health checks help to reduce unexpected health issues.

8 Pet owners are encouraged to take up pet insurance as an option to mitigate the cost of unexpected veterinary fees. Alternatively, pet owners may choose to plan and set aside funds for their pet’s veterinary needs.

9 Pet owners are recommended to establish a good relationship with their trusted veterinarian for the ongoing care of their pets. Pet owners may opt to seek a second opinion from an alternative veterinary clinic as required.

10 For chronic conditions which require ongoing management, certain patients may require regular check-ups to prevent the disease from escalating to a life-threatening emergency, which in turn would require intensive and, therefore expensive, medical intervention. For example, chronic kidney disease can lead to a uremic crisis if left untreated. Also, diabetes can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis if blood glucose is not well controlled. Once again, pet owners are encouraged to discuss feasible and practical options with their trusted veterinarian.

11 In a situation where an owner feels like they are no longer able to provide for their pet, SVA strongly discourages pet abandonment. Pet owners are encouraged to speak to their trusted veterinarian on the options that could be available if they are no longer able to provide adequate care.

Statement issued on 15 March 2019

Singapore Veterinary Association Executive Committee

[Extracted from Code of Ethics for Veterinarians]

  • Section 2.2 (i): “To pursue the work of his profession with integrity.”
  • Section 16.2: “Discussion of professional fees with the client should cover treatment options and prognosis, and all likely charges (including ancillary or associated charges, such as those for medicines/anaesthetics and likely post-operative care) in each case to ensure that the client is in a position to give informed consent. An estimate of the total fees should be provided to the owner, preferably in writing. The owner should be informed that additional charges may arise during the course of treatment.”
  • Section 16.3: “If during the course of treatment it becomes evident that an estimate or a limit set by the client is likely to be exceeded, the client should be contacted and informed so that consent to the increase may be obtained.”
[Extracted from Veterinary Centre Licensing Conditions]

  • Section 4.1: “Information on charges for standard and routine services and procedures including consultation, vaccination, sterilisation and teeth scaling shall be clearly displayed at the reception or in the waiting area.