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What's your threshold for saying "no" to a vet bill?

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    #21
    My wonderful, long-practicing but still up-to-date and even cutting-edge, small animal veterinarian calls this the "shotgun approach," and he's not in favor of it.

    But then, he's an excellent differential diagnostician -- not every doctor is.

    Comment


      #22
      It really does seem like the small animal practices are higher and higher. Don't any give multiple pet households a discount? My small animal vet has gotten alot more expensive in the past few years and sometimes I don't feel like the level of care is there. I tried a couple of other practices and they were also high. One practice I took a very lethargic kitty in to see. He had labored breathing. They did some x-rays on his chest and found a mass that was big and probably malignant, so in view of his condition, I opted to euthanize. My bill was $225! Are x-rays that much now? And euthanasia? It has really gotten exorbitant and I give all my vaccinations and don't vaccinate my older pets unless there is something going around. My cats almost all live in the house and there is one barn cat. They are all spayed/neutered, were all rescues or something similar. My German Shepherds live inside or in their dog room with a fenced deck, patio and pen. They go with me to the barn, on my property and completely private. My Border Collie is now 15 and I know she doesn't have much longer - is deteriorating. She strictly inside except to potty and the Yorkie is the same. My vets - both small animal and equine - have done my work for 40+ years, so I know most of them and staff quite well. They trust me to administer meds and know what I think of SD dog food - pure crap! I've gone to the nth degree for my animals on many occasions and never argue about a bill, but the small animal vets seem to just be alot more expensive of late. I don't get it.

      Comment


        #23
        Originally posted by TKR View Post
        It really does seem like the small animal practices are higher and higher. Don't any give multiple pet households a discount? My small animal vet has gotten alot more expensive in the past few years and sometimes I don't feel like the level of care is there. I tried a couple of other practices and they were also high. One practice I took a very lethargic kitty in to see. He had labored breathing. They did some x-rays on his chest and found a mass that was big and probably malignant, so in view of his condition, I opted to euthanize. My bill was $225! Are x-rays that much now? And euthanasia? It has really gotten exorbitant and I give all my vaccinations and don't vaccinate my older pets unless there is something going around. My cats almost all live in the house and there is one barn cat. They are all spayed/neutered, were all rescues or something similar. My German Shepherds live inside or in their dog room with a fenced deck, patio and pen. They go with me to the barn, on my property and completely private. My Border Collie is now 15 and I know she doesn't have much longer - is deteriorating. She strictly inside except to potty and the Yorkie is the same. My vets - both small animal and equine - have done my work for 40+ years, so I know most of them and staff quite well. They trust me to administer meds and know what I think of SD dog food - pure crap! I've gone to the nth degree for my animals on many occasions and never argue about a bill, but the small animal vets seem to just be alot more expensive of late. I don't get it.
        $225 is shockingly cheap for an exam, xrays, and euthanasia. Granted it was at the emergency vet, but I put a cat down for the same reason earlier this year and xrays were $80 per view and euthanasia was ~$120 and the exam was $100. My total bill was over $500.

        Comment


          #24
          Just want to chime in how much I appreciate my vet clinic. They always discuss step by step approaches as well as the kitchen sink version, and they never are judgmental about limits we have due to finances. Their in-clinic exam fee (not including any tests and meds) is $35. A few weeks ago when I picked up my current rescue project, 3 kittens orphaned too young from a feral mom, and I took them in for assessment and advice, they charged me just one exam fee, saying those little waifs were too small to count as a full cat each. Last week when the friskiest of the kittens suddenly turned droopy, stopped playing, and had a fever, they didn't have any appointments but gave me a course of antibiotics without exam to jump right on it. $19, and he's feeling better. It's a four vet practice, but all four are of similar mindset. And they do give a multi pack discount for spay/neuter if three or more, so I'll use that in a few months. Love my vets.
          Now available in Kindle as well as print: C-Sharp Minor: My Mother's Seventeen-Year Journey through Dementia. 10% of my proceeds will be donated to the Alzheimer's Association.

          Comment


            #25
            Our 7 month old puppy as in a similar situation. Very runny poo, no blood, active, no signs of temp etc. The vet I use did a stool sample ($55) first, not even an exam. Giarrdia...$12 meds. Said if stool was not off we’d have to do further testing, which is reasonable.

            Moved a year ago and I used a recommended vet first. He seemed to be the “test everything “ type. Didn’t listen to me. One of my cats ha rodent ulcers. I know this, I know the signs, I know the treatment but it is prescription only. He insisted on an $85 exam ea time. I changed vets.

            Comment


              #26
              Sigh. This thread is so timely. I’m sitting here in my car at the vet office feeling guilty because I didn't agree to routine bloodwork during an appointment for med refill. The vet didn’t even mention it when she called to chat. It only came up when the tech called with the estimate. The reasoning the tech gave was she had elevated liver enzymes in the past. ...but that was over a year and a half ago and related to carprofen use. She stopped carprofen as soon as the results came back and her last bloodwork in Nov 2019 was normal. If it wasn’t worth the vet bringing it up I feel like she couldn’t have been that worried about it?
              They wanted to do another heartworm test until I pointed out that she just had one in May. I think maybe it’s time to move on...

              Comment


                #27
                OP, I'm with the others in questioning some of the tests this particular vet wanted. Real head scratchers. Glad dog is better but still...huh?

                Every vet I've had knows me when it comes to the bill. I can be really nasty when I want to and have no problem doing a line by line deletion of some items. I also explain up front and loud keep saying it til it gets thru their heads that I am not wealthy, I'm the sole income earner, have no credit cards and no husband to tell "just work more hours." I have a lot of cats but not a lot of money. That being said I'm currently digging out from under a several hundred dollar vet bill where the vet I was using did a bunch of procedures without my authorization. I came to pick up my cat - that had just gone in for a HEAD x-RAY - and found he had run expensive labs, pulled some teeth, used sedative, etc etc. I was livid and let him know right now. They have never pulled that again. One other vet - I told him what lab panel I wanted run that I knew would hit the highlights we were interested in, straight up refused x-rays and he did it anyway. I chewed him up one side and down the other, refused to pay, used tech as my witness as to my very clear instructions and they had to eat the bill. Sorry not sorry.
                "Cats aren't clean; they're covered with cat spit."
                - John S Nichols (1745-1846,writer/printer)

                Don't come for me - I didn't send for you.

                Comment


                  #28
                  If your pet had elevated liver enzymes in the past, it would be near negligence to not recommend a recheck. This is how good doctors practice. Don't blame the doctor because you don't want to do it or can't afford. I love these threads written by people who have no idea how to run a hospital or how much it costs. The only people being millionaires from vet med are people like Mrs. mars who is buying all the practices. Why are people not willing to buy practices? Huh, could it be because it's too expensive and clients don't appreciate it anymore?

                  Comment


                    #29
                    My small animal vet will give me all options, and what diagnostics he would like to run, but very understanding if I feel I can't afford something, or if I just feel that I prefer to wait on something. He is expensive but so are all of the vets in our area, and he and his partner are excellent, as is the entire staff, and I feel it is money well spent.

                    The OP's vet seemed to be okay with her decision not to pursue the treatment and tests he wanted to run, so in that case I don't think I would be leaving him too quickly, since he seems to have excellent facilities and is available 24/7 and OP seems to be otherwise satisfied with him. I would feel differently if the vet was giving OP a hard time and insisting on expensive testing despite her objections.

                    Comment


                      #30
                      I've been going to the same Vet since 1990. The original vet was awesome - very reasonably priced, excellent doctor in every way - and did not charge to euthanize his long time clients animals. Then he sold the clinic. The new Vet has raised her prices every year - then her office manager lied to me. I took my cat in for his routine blood work for hyperthroidism. I do this every time I need a rx for his meds. this time she said they would have to charge an exam fee - I said why? she said because it's a new law. I said 'what law'? she gave me a print out. I took it home and called the veterinarian association - asked it it was a law - they said NO - that if you get the bloodwork before the meds, that is all that is needed - not an exam --so I switched vets after a couple of other issues and although this one is just as expensive, they are more thorough and professional and they explain the charges. Veterinarian care has tripled and I will not be replacing my animals once they pass away.

                      Comment


                        #31
                        There is a law that there has to be a valid doctor-patient relationship to prescribe meds. A yearly exam is required. Some practices require every 6 months. That's equivalent to 3 years in human years. Would your doctor prescribe drugs with only seeing you every 3 years?

                        Comment


                          #32
                          Why do you guys insist that beta have suddenly become nefarious? Old times vets went to school when it cost 5000 A year. Now vets come out owing half a million dollars in student loans. So practices have to pay for that, along with rising prescription prices, equipment, etc. That's why ok doc brown was cheap and no one else is. We're not trying to get rich. We just want to live indoors with heat, electricity and food

                          Comment


                            #33
                            Originally posted by shiloh View Post
                            OP, I'm with the others in questioning some of the tests this particular vet wanted. Real head scratchers. Glad dog is better but still...huh?

                            Every vet I've had knows me when it comes to the bill. I can be really nasty when I want to and have no problem doing a line by line deletion of some items. I also explain up front and loud keep saying it til it gets thru their heads that I am not wealthy, I'm the sole income earner, have no credit cards and no husband to tell "just work more hours." I have a lot of cats but not a lot of money. That being said I'm currently digging out from under a several hundred dollar vet bill where the vet I was using did a bunch of procedures without my authorization. I came to pick up my cat - that had just gone in for a HEAD x-RAY - and found he had run expensive labs, pulled some teeth, used sedative, etc etc. I was livid and let him know right now. They have never pulled that again. One other vet - I told him what lab panel I wanted run that I knew would hit the highlights we were interested in, straight up refused x-rays and he did it anyway. I chewed him up one side and down the other, refused to pay, used tech as my witness as to my very clear instructions and they had to eat the bill. Sorry not sorry.
                            Bet the local vets just love you. When you've pissed them all off or stiffed them for work they've done, where are you going to go?

                            Comment


                              #34
                              Originally posted by sockmonkey View Post
                              Why do you guys insist that beta have suddenly become nefarious? Old times vets went to school when it cost 5000 A year. Now vets come out owing half a million dollars in student loans. So practices have to pay for that, along with rising prescription prices, equipment, etc. That's why ok doc brown was cheap and no one else is. We're not trying to get rich. We just want to live indoors with heat, electricity and food
                              For me, it isn’t what they charge, I understand expenses and such. It’s recommending testing etc when it isn’t really necessary. My example was cat with rodent ulcers. Had them most of his life, no changes, but meds are prescription. This vet wanted a $85 exam ea time. Ea time, he looked at him & said yup, rodent ulcers. I understand once a yr, I’d agree if I felt he was worse, etc. But it’s routine for him. He did end up giving me oral meds instead of shot, but that was after 4 exams in 4-5 months.

                              Comment


                                #35
                                Originally posted by Sandysmom View Post

                                Bet the local vets just love you. When you've pissed them all off or stiffed them for work they've done, where are you going to go?
                                Agreed. But if you took your carin for a tune up and they replaced brakes too...especially if you specifically said do nothing but a tune up. would you just pay it?

                                Comment


                                  #36
                                  Originally posted by Sandysmom View Post

                                  Bet the local vets just love you. When you've pissed them all off or stiffed them for work they've done, where are you going to go?
                                  If the vet did anything without prior authorization...how is shiloh "stiffing' the vet?

                                  If any vet went ahead and did anything without my permission there would be hell to pay.

                                  If any vet used a sedative on my cat and pulled its teeth without my permission, I'd be dealing with them in court.
                                  Mean Girls grow up to be Mean Women

                                  Comment


                                    #37
                                    Are there vets at this clinic that are NOT the practice owner?

                                    If it's big fancy clinic, the practice owner has put a lot of money into it. While he might not admit to it, or might not even realize he's doing it. He sees a bottom line. You might want to try another vet at the clinic before you toss them altogether. I worked for a vet that owned his own practice. You could tell when he'd just met with the accountant/financial guy.

                                    For a 7 month old puppy with diarrhea and no other issues, as you describe, I would have thought a routine fecal, perhaps a giardia test, then probiotics and flagyl would have been sufficient. If it kept happening, then yes, bloodwork and xrays, but to start with seems like overkill to me. You SHOULD have all your options presented to you, by any doctor, human or animal, but you are paying for their expertise. Doing xrays on a puppy with diarrhea is just silly unless you've all tried other things and it hasn't resolved. Unless you like, watched the puppy eat a brillo pad. Then yeah, go for the xrays.

                                    Comment


                                      #38
                                      Originally posted by CindyB59 View Post

                                      For me, it isn’t what they charge, I understand expenses and such. It’s recommending testing etc when it isn’t really necessary. My example was cat with rodent ulcers. Had them most of his life, no changes, but meds are prescription. This vet wanted a $85 exam ea time. Ea time, he looked at him & said yup, rodent ulcers. I understand once a yr, I’d agree if I felt he was worse, etc. But it’s routine for him. He did end up giving me oral meds instead of shot, but that was after 4 exams in 4-5 months.
                                      I had a very similar experience with an elderly cat on thyroid medication.

                                      Not only did I feel gouged financially, by all these completely unnecessary tests, but I also felt terribly sorry for the poor old kitty cat, who absolutely hated being shoved into a carrier and dragged in to the clinic be jabbed again and again.

                                      But what can you do? If the animal needs meds, they need meds, and the vet has you over a barrel. You really can't say, "NO."

                                      Comment


                                        #39
                                        Originally posted by Ruth0552 View Post
                                        Are there vets at this clinic that are NOT the practice owner?

                                        If it's big fancy clinic, the practice owner has put a lot of money into it. While he might not admit to it, or might not even realize he's doing it. He sees a bottom line. You might want to try another vet at the clinic before you toss them altogether. I worked for a vet that owned his own practice. You could tell when he'd just met with the accountant/financial guy.
                                        We had another thread awhile ago about different types of vets and how they choose to run/build their practice and how much they charge. I was basically crucified and piled on by the “usuals” on here.

                                        If a vet wants to build a big fancy clinic with all the bells and whistles and the up to date machinery, they need to recoup their costs and overhead. I have absolutely no problem with this as long as they are honest and upfront.

                                        What I do have a problem with are the vets that “choose” to run their clinics like this that get angry at the clients that “nickel and dime” them or go to a cheaper vet because they can’t afford their high prices.

                                        Running any tests or doing any procedures without getting full permission from the owner is not only morally/ethically wrong but I believe illegal?

                                        I have always asked for a printed estimate of anything I have done at a vet clinic. My old mobile vet that I moved away from(and dearly miss), was the one that told me to “get everything in writing” from any vet before anything is done.

                                        Mean Girls grow up to be Mean Women

                                        Comment


                                          #40
                                          I shopped around a good bit for my small animal vet (and actually I ended up with a dog vet and a cat vet) and it had nothing to do with what they charge. I feel like, with my horse vets, they are part of the team that keeps my horse healthy, at it's best etc and that we work together. But with many of the small animal vets I've had interactions with, I feel like they think I'm an idiot who needs to be talked down to and that I can't possibly have any experience or knowledge in caring for my animal. Oddly the 2 small animal vets I've found that I'm happy with both have techs who horse people.
                                          No mourners, no funerals

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