How Much Should Veterinarians Charge for Laser Therapy?

By December 21, 2017Laser Therapy

You may already know that laser therapy improves patient outcomes by preventing inflammation and scarring, speeding up recovery time, and reducing pain. What you may not know, though, is how much to charge for laser treatments to maximize your return on investment while keeping your prices reasonable for clients. 

Without a fee schedule, you might wind up losing revenue by undercharging or leaving laser therapy off the invoice entirely. Every time you administer laser therapy for free, you devalue your services, and the client will expect the treatment to be free in the future. 

 Below is a guide to help you create a fee schedule based on national-median pricing: 

  • Post-Surgical Incisions 
  • Oral Treatments 
  • Wounds 
  • Surgeries 
  • Acute Traumas 
  • Chronic Pain Conditions 
  • Benefits of Offering Laser Therapy Bundles 

Post-Surgical Incisions: $8-$15
Using laser therapy on post-surgical incisions has become standard practice, and with enough surgeries per week, it adds up to a solid revenue stream. The price is virtually unnoticeable to clients, but what they will notice is how quickly their pets heal and how minimal the scarring is after recovery. Pet owners tend to judge the success of a surgery based on the appearance of the incision scar, and scar prevention is one of the primary benefits of laser therapy.   

Oral Treatments: $8-$15
Swelling and pain are normal after oral treatments such as tooth extractions and gingivectomies. Laser therapy can reduce pain and swelling after these treatments, which not only makes the animal more comfortable but also decreases the required doses of potentially harmful pain medication. Clients typically do not have to follow up after oral treatments, but if you have an opportunity to administer laser therapy twice, it would certainly benefit the patient.   

Wounds: $15-$35
Wounds probably make up a substantial portion of your weekly caseload. As one of the most versatile modalities in the industry, laser therapy can treat burns, road rash, ear infections, lick granulomas, and a long list of other deep-seated and open flesh wounds. 

Class IV therapy lasers promote both granulation of the tissue bed and epithelialization of the surround tissue to close the wound. If a skin graft is necessary, laser will increase the stability of the graft.  

Not all wounds are the same size or intensity, so it is important that you have a flexible fee schedule. One approach is to create price categories based on the number of treatments required for particular wound types. For example, the cost to treat minor wounds (1-2 treatments) would be $15 per session; the cost to treat medium-intensity wounds (2-4 treatments) would be $20-$25 per session; and the cost for large wounds (3-6 treatments) would be $30-$35 per session.   

If a wound is particularly severe and requires an extensive treatment plan, it may be best to include laser in the office visit charge. In this case, it would be appropriate to lower the cost so you don’t overwhelm the pet owner. 

Note: See “Benefits of Offering Laser Therapy Bundles” below. 

Surgeries (Growths, Orthopedics, Anal Glands, etc.): $25-$35
Multiple clinical studies have shown that laser therapy can reduce healing time and improve patient outcomes when administered before and after surgery. Before surgery, just as an athlete would be prescribed rehab to stabilize the affected joint, laser therapy can enhance the local chemical environment of tissue in a way that decreases recovery time and improves the quality of repair. Post-surgically, beyond just the incision, laser can jumpstart the healing process and strengthen the surrounding tissue.  

The fee structure typically mirrors the number of laser treatments. You might administer laser once during surgical prep, once after surgery, and one to two times during follow-up visits. Laser may also be part of the rehabilitation plan. Depending on the frequency of treatments, the price per session usually ranges from $25-$35.  

Acute Traumas: $25-$35
Sprains, strains, fractures, roadside accidents, and other acute traumas can be immediately treated with laser therapy to reduce pain and inflammation. The treatment protocol depends on the severity of the trauma, but often, 3-5 treatments over two weeks is appropriate—with the cost per session around $25-$35.  

Chronic Pain Conditions: $25-$35
Whether they are geriatric patients or have long-standing pain from pre-existing injuries, laser therapy can increase range of motion in the joints, reduce pain and inflammation, and increase the overall quality of life for patients with chronic pain. In some cases, laser will enable you to decrease the doses of Rimadil and other liver- and kidney-damaging pain medications while maintaining the same activity level of the patient.   

Chronic pain conditions are usually deep-seated and require more treatments upfront to initiate a response. The usual recommendation is 3 treatments in the first week followed by a steady decrease in frequency depending on the patient’s response. Eventually, the patient should only need a periodic maintenance treatment once every one to two months. Again, the standard rate is $25-$35 per treatment.  

Benefits of Offering Laser Therapy Bundles
It’s no secret that pet owners like to feel that they are getting a discount on veterinary services. Since laser therapy is most often not a one-and-done modality, one way to appease your clients is to offer “laser therapy bundles” at 15-20% off, or a “buy 5 treatments and get the 6th free” deal. In addition to pleasing the client, bundling laser treatments will ensure that you are paid up front, and it will increase the likelihood that pet owners will return for subsequent appointments.  

Conclusion
Laser therapy is beneficial for 80% of veterinary patients, and some practices use it on every patient as a part of the standard office visit. The price is virtually unnoticeable for pet owners, but with so many applications, laser therapy offers a substantial revenue stream for veterinary clinics. With a detailed and flexible price plan, you can maximize your return on investment while ensuring that your rates are reasonable for clients. 

If you would like to learn more about laser therapy, or for information about SOUND’s® laser systems, call 800-268-5354 or click here.