Well, I think the key to the prices mentioned above is "the vet where i work" as customers don't get the same prices by any means.
In the town I am in currently, it costs $200 just to walk in the door as a new patient and this is what they call the "initial" visit, not including if your dog is sick. That's highway robbery.... So I do not take my dog to any local vet, I do the minor stuff myself and hope I have no emergencies. If I did, I would have to drive 50 miles and go to a farm vet who is more reasonable, about $35 for an office visit.
If you work at a vet's office, you get a discount, if you are a walk in, it depends on the vet.
And I honestly don't see vets always being that much of a help if things go wrong.... For example, look at that Pro Heart 6 heartworm shot. Here is a link to a forum about it:
Dogs are getting sick and dying and all the vets can do is tell you there is no way to remove that 6 months of poison which from the shot from your dog's body...
So I can not see what help a vet would be when the vet is the one giving this death shot in the first place?
Of course not all vets are bad nor incompetent, but one should realize that some are... and that vets are not infallible.
Another useful site about dog reactions to drugs is:
And a Merck vet manual is a good reference to have on hand.