Manitoba government plans legislation to govern veterinarian fees

WINNIPEG — If you are a pet owner, the Manitoba government wants to prevent the shock of an unexpectedly high bill.

The province plans to introduce legislation that would require a vet to be upfront about the cost of a visit so there are no extra or unexpected charges.

“You don’t want to bring your pet in and understand it’s around $300 and you don’t want to come back and find out it’s around $1,500,” said Ron Lemieux, the consumer affairs minister.

John Hayden knows that feeling.

“We had one shock and that was enough,” said the Winnipeg dog owner.

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Hayden once had a vet bill come out to be $100 more than estimated.

“You’re on the hook for that,” Hayden said.

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Some pet owners feel this legislation doesn’t go far enough.

“It would be ideal if we had an idea before we picked him up,” said Richard Neill, a dog owner. “But if they aren’t going to regulate the fee, what is the purpose of knowing before that?”

The province has no intention to regulate the cost for vet services.

“It’s not up to the government to be fixing prices quite frankly,” said Lemieux.

Global News called five different vets in and around Winnipeg and found prices can vary drastically. To spay a small dog, we were quoted prices ranging from $173 to $411.

“You can charge whatever you want to charge,” said Roxane Neufeld, with the Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association.

She says there is a list of suggested fees but it is just for reference and does not have to be followed.

The association suggests pet owners call around to different vets to price out services.

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