I'd like a discussion here on emergency vets why their charges are justified why they are more than the "regular" vet, etc.
1. Their charges may seem like a lot but consider - they have no regular, reliable client base. No one makes appointments. They may see several dogs a night, they may see very few dogs a night. They are there, the doors, while in my experience locked, in the other sense they are "open" when no one else is. They still pay utilities, rent, staff salaries regardless. They do not do routine wellness exams, trim nails. They are up all night.
2. They are often equipped to better deal with emergency situations (bloat, wrecks) than perhaps your regular vet
They may have equipment that your regular vet doesn't have.
3. They are there when your vet is sleeping, unreachable, out of town, etc.
1. Level of expertise depends on who is on duty that night. You may get the gastro specialist when you need the trauma specialist or vise versa. Or you may get the all around best vet for whatever you need.
2. $ See the above. Yup. They usually cost more - probably 3x what a regular vet charges.
3. They may not be as close as your regular vet. The one here is 40 miles away. Or they may be closer - in Arkansas, they were probably 5 to 15 miles closer than my regular vet.
4. You may not have one. (In which case in my experience, the local vets rotate who is on call. - think Wyoming.) In this case, you may get the vet you would not choose to see.
So to me, No they are not trying to rip you off - they are providing a service when you need it, when it might save your animal's life. The judgement may not be perfect, they do not know your animal as your primary vet does. But they are not trying to take advantage of you. They are trying to provide the service you need when you need it.