How Much Does It Cost To Become an Equine Veterinarian?

May 30, 2024 4:00:00 AM / by Chad Hutchison

If you love horses and want to become an equine veterinarian, there are some significant financial aspects to consider. One large factor is tuition, with four years of undergraduate school costing between $81,884 and $105,708, followed by four years at a veterinarian school costing between $78,479 and $255,146. 

From there, if you want to set up your own clinic, it could cost as much as $1,000,000 for a stationary clinic or about $250,000 for a mobile clinic. 

For many of us, choosing to become an equine veterinarian is more about our love of horses than making money, so we may not consider the finances involved. So, let’s examine those costs together.

What Are the Costs Involved in Becoming an Equine Veterinarian?


To become a veterinarian, you must begin with four years of undergraduate school and a Bachelor of Science in Biology, Veterinary, or Biomedical Sciences. An undergraduate degree generally costs between $81,884 and $105,708, depending on the school, where it is, and whether or not you’re a resident or out-of-state student. 

From there, you must enroll in four years of veterinary school to get your Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, also called DVM. That’ll cost between $78,479 and $255,146, again depending on the school, where it is, and whether you’re a resident or out-of-state student. 

Don’t forget to consider additional school costs, like textbooks, and your standard living expenses (rent, transportation, food, etc.).

Fortunately, there is some financial support that can help you pay for school. Funding is available through the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program, and scholarships are available through the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF).

Cost of Clinic

The other significant cost will be setting up your clinic, where you must purchase supplies and equipment, and setting up a stationary clinic could cost up to $1,000,000. Mobile clinics are cheaper since you don’t need to lease a clinic space. However, you’ll still need mobile supplies and equipment, giving an average cost of about $250,000.

Leasing a Clinic and Office Space

If you’re setting up a clinic, you’ll need a space with enough room for clients to drive their trailers and space to examine the horses, perform surgeries, take X-rays, and board them during recovery. As you might expect, the cost of such a space will vary considerably from state to state.

Many horse vets travel from farm to farm without needing a large clinic space, especially in rural areas. In that case, you need to design your clinic to be mobile.

Cost of X-Ray Machinery

Another critical equipment expense to consider is the cost of veterinary X-ray machines, which can vary significantly. If you’re looking at stationary machines designed for large animals, they can run from $35,000 to $100,000. 

Or if you need a portable X-ray machine for horses, these are usually a little cheaper, between $30,000 and $60,000. In either case, you’re going to want to explore your options to help you choose the best veterinarian X-ray machines

Cost of Other Equipment and Supplies

In addition to veterinary X-ray machines, you’ll need additional medical equipment like anesthesia machines, autoclaves, lighting, IV pumps, medications, surgical tools, and various small tools for taking samples and administering treatments. 

Staff Salaries

If you want a clinic space, don’t forget to factor in the cost of salaries for your staff. This can also vary significantly from state to state but expect to pay between $30,000 and $50,000 per year for each receptionist or technician you hire. 

What Are the Challenges of Pursuing an Equine Veterinary Career?

One of the biggest hurdles to pursuing an equine veterinary career is the length of time you spend in school (a minimum of about eight years, just like any other doctor) and the cost of that schooling, which could be from about $160,000 to about $361,000 for eight years. However, loans and scholarships can help make that more affordable, as can pursuing a veterinary school in your home state instead of going out of state. 

Other challenges of becoming an equine veterinarian are allergies, especially to hay, which could become problematic if you have to work near it constantly. However, some people do become used to it after a while, and their allergies affect them less. 

Being an equine vet is also physically demanding because horses are large and powerful animals. You want to ensure you’re in good shape to handle a sick or injured horse that may not be happy with you examining it. 

The other challenge is the emotional issue of watching animals in pain, which can be difficult for those with a love for horses. However, you also get to help the horses and watch as you ease their pain, so it goes both ways. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Years Does It Take to Be an Equine Vet?

It’ll take at least eight years to become an equine vet: four years of undergraduate school with a Bachelor of Science in biology or veterinary medicine, followed by four years in veterinary school to get your DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine). 

Is Being an Equine Vet Worth It?

If you’re wondering whether becoming an equine vet is worth it, and if you have a passion for horses, then it probably is. You’ll have a gratifying career and make money while you’re at it, typically earning between $85,000 and $270,000 per year.

Final Thoughts

If you want to become an equine veterinarian, you need to factor in the cost of tuition, whether or not you want a stationary or mobile clinic and all the various equipment you need. Becoming an equine veterinarian takes a lot of time and money, but it can be incredibly rewarding once you get there.

Don’t forget to factor in quality X-ray machines. Maven Imaging offers superior Veterinary X-ray Equipment at affordable prices, helping you provide the best possible care to the horses at your clinic.

Tags: Veterinary Practice

Chad Hutchison

Written by Chad Hutchison

Founder and CEO of Maven Imaging, Chad Hutchison has been in the medical imaging equipment market since 2003. As his business grew, he pioneered buying and selling medical equipment online and eventually began offering leasing and financing to meet market demands and help customers. His market expertise goes beyond traditional medical imaging and finance support, as he’s spearheading cloud-based lending solutions for vendors across the sector.