How much is an emergency vet appointment?

Abbie Laughton-Coles
Abbie Laughton-Coles
Updated 5 October 2022  | 5 mins read

Having to take your pet for emergency medical treatment can be very scary. Getting your furry friend fighting fit again is your main priority of course, but the thought of being slapped with a huge vet’s bill afterwards can make it even more stressful.

Here’s what you need to know before choosing an emergency vet.

Key points

  • Your vet might outsource their emergency out-of-hours treatment if they’re not able to cater for it at their surgery
  • Details of where to go if your pet has an accident or illness at night or on the weekends will be detailed on your vet’s website
  • It will generally cost more to use an emergency vet because they work unsociable hours and are specialised

How do I know if my pet needs emergency care?

Accidents can happen when you least expect it and illnesses can progress quickly in animals, so it’s always best to contact your vet if you’re concerned about your pet. Generally, if your pet is experiencing any of the following, you should seek emergency vet treatment immediately:

  • They’ve eaten something toxic like chocolate, poison (rat/slug etc), medicine or chemicals
  • Unconscious or collapsed
  • Finding it hard to breathe
  • Drooling excessively or frothing at the mouth
  • They’ve had an accident and you suspect a broken bone or they’re bleeding profusely
  • They’ve been bitten by an adder or they’re having an extreme reaction to a wasp or bee sting
  • They’re having a seizure
  • A distended (swollen) abdomen
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea for a prolonged period of time
  • They’re showing signs of heatstroke

How to find an emergency vet

You’ll usually have access to 24/7 emergency medical treatment when you register with a vet, whether that’s at their practice or at a nearby veterinary facility (within an hour’s drive).

If your pet needs vital treatment during surgery opening hours, contact your vet to find out the course of action rather than just turning up at the practice, so they can be prepared for your arrival.

If it’s outside of surgery hours, you’ll be able to find the contact details for 24/7 emergency care on your vet’s website or there may be information on their voicemail message.

For vet surgeries that have emergency treatment facilities that differ from their normal location, it’s worth finding out where it is and how long it takes to drive there when you register your pet.

Costs around the UK

The average cost of an emergency vet’s consultation in the UK is £200, according to research by ManyPets in June 2022.

However, this can vary depending on where you live in the UK. An emergency vet appointment in Scotland was the most expensive on average at £245.72 and London was the cheapest at £172.25.

It’s worth noting that this price is only for a consultation and any treatment your pet receives will cost extra. There may even be different rates depending on whether you take your pet in on a weekend or bank holiday - sometimes the time of night will even affect the cost.

How do emergency vets work?

If your pet has an accident or becomes severely ill throughout the day, you can usually go to your local vet for treatment. Typically, they’ll have space during their opening hours to accommodate any emergencies.

When they close for the day, your vet may operate overnight with a small number of staff or have a vet on call to see to any emergencies.

Alternatively, you may be directed to a separate facility that operates 24/7.

Who provides emergency vet care?

If it’s not provided at the practice your pet is registered at, you may be directed towards a practice run by:

Vets Now

Vets Now operate over 60 out-of-hours practices nationwide and three 24/7 surgeries.

They treat around 200,000 small animals every year.


You may have seen this company operating inside Pets At Home stores. Although not all of these operate a 24/7 service, there are some emergency vet hospitals located around the UK.


MediVet is a huge chain of vets with over 400 practices around the UK, and 27 surgeries open 24/7.


MiNightVet works exclusively outside of normal practice hours for local vets, who must be registered with them to offer their services to customers.

Your vet will receive full notes and x-rays from MiNightVet, so that they have full knowledge of your pet’s condition for further treatment, if necessary.

Animal Trust

This is a charity which operates a number of emergency vet surgeries located in North Wales and North West England.

You’re able to take your pet even if you’re not a member, but you’ll be required to pay a £20 registration fee on top of the £65 out-of-hours fee before 11pm. Between 11pm and 8am, you’ll need to pay £139 for an out-of-hours consultation.

Independent veterinary hospitals

There are also independent out-of-hours veterinary hospitals available that will service a number of different surgeries in the local area.

You may even be able to register with them if you don’t want to use the emergency vet affiliated with your practice, for whatever reason.

Why are emergency vets more expensive?

Generally, they’ll cost more because their team is specially trained to deal with emergencies and they work overnight, as well as during weekends and holidays, to provide your pet with the best care.

They also usually have hi-tech equipment that you might not be able to access in a local surgery, like CT scanners and MRI machines.

Which emergency vets can I go to?

It’s usually dictated by the vet you’re registered with. If they don’t provide 24-hour emergency care, they’ll be linked with a surgery that does, the contact information for which will be available on your vet’s website.

Certain emergency vets (Vets Now and Animal Trust, for example) will see any pet though, so it’s always worth checking to see which ones are local to you if you need to get there quickly. You may be required to pay a higher fee than if you were registered with them though.

The first port of call should always be to contact your registered vet.

Do I have to pay for emergency vet care?

Even if you have pet insurance, you may need to pay for treatment before claiming it back from your insurer, but it will depend on the policy.

Alternatively, you may need to pay for some parts of the emergency care. You can find out whether this is the case by contacting your insurer.

You may want to think about putting some money aside, so that in the event of a medical emergency, you won’t have to worry about how you’re going to cover vet bills and can focus fully on your pet.

Does pet insurance cover it?

Yes, your pet insurance should cover the costs of emergency care, but there may be certain limits to watch out for depending on the policy.

For instance, you might only be allowed to claim up to a certain amount for out-of-hours incidents, which may not be anywhere near the actual cost you end up paying. It’s always best to check your policy carefully for exclusions and any limits.

Keep all receipts and documentation relating to any emergency treatment your pet receives as evidence to support your claim.

The payout will either be sent straight to the vets or to you.

Tips to cut the cost of emergency vets

Before registering your pet for emergency care:

  • Check out the vet’s emergency options – Before you register with a vet, make sure you’re aware of the emergency care they provide and the potential costs. If it’s outsourced to another surgery, see how much they charge on average. If the prices are extremely high, you may want to think about registering with another vet’s practice. Also, look at customer reviews to see how their standard of care is rated
  • Get the right pet insurance – Compare policies to find one that provides a high level of cover for out-of-hours emergencies, giving you peace of mind that you won’t have to shell out a fortune if your pet is seriously ill or has an accident
  • Look at where it is – This sounds obvious, but it can be costly if the emergency vet is located a large distance from your local surgery, especially if you don’t have access to a car. See whether there are any locally that you don’t need to be registered to which you could use instead
  • Question the costs – When you’re quoted for the cost of your pet’s treatment, you’re within your rights to look at a breakdown of what’s provided and query anything that isn’t necessary, or any fees you think you’ve been overcharged for

Tips for preventing pet accidents

You can’t prepare for everything, but you may want to think about:

  • Securing your home and garden – If your pet has a tendency to perform a disappearing act, think about eliminating their escape routes. Whether that’s closing a hole in the fence or putting a device on your windows which only allows it to open a little
  • Keeping toxic substances out of reach – Things like pest control poisons, medication and any food that’s known to be toxic to your animal should always be kept out of their way
  • Watching out for heat – Dogs especially may not realise that they’re overheating, which can be very dangerous. Always make sure they have access to shade and fresh water. Think about keeping them inside during extremely hot periods of weather and NEVER keep them locked in a car
  • Keeping up to date with flea and worm treatments – Certain worms, like lungworm, can cause a huge number of health problems for your pet and could even be fatal
  • Being cautious around other animals – If another animal is showing signs of aggression around your pet, make sure to keep them well away. The same applies if your pet has a tendency to get aggressive around other animals