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Do you use multiple vet clinics?

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  • Do you use multiple vet clinics?

    Does anyone else use multiple vet clinics for the same animals? Let me explain. I take 3 dogs and 2 cats to Vet Clinic A for basic things like vaccinations, cat neuterings, ear infections, that sort of thing. I started using Vet Clinic B for occasional things (sometimes routine stuff) because I need a clinic for emergencies and it's nice for them to know me and the animals. The only reason I don't go to them for everything is because A is quite a bit cheaper and when I have 3 dogs and 2 cats a little savings is helpful. I also buy Frontline and Heartguard at Clinic A because it is the cheapest place.

    Clinic A will not get you in for emergencies/urgent situations. They offer to keep the dog overnight and look at it in the morning. Hmm, dog will be more comfy at his own house, thanks. They also told my co-worker to bring her dog to another clinic for an emergency. I once dropped off a urine sample on a Monday for possible UTI and got results back Wed. Maybe that's normal, but I wasn't really happy about it. They also are quite busy, so if you are needing vaccinations they get scheduled a month out at times. (This isn't an issue other than there have been times the dogs need vaccines now because we are boarding them and they need Bordatella or 4H is starting and they need a booster. So I go to Clinic B.) I'm just giving examples as to why I like to have another clinic that knows my animals.

    Anyway, I had a less-than-routine issue this spring and ended up just having the dogs' heartworm tests done at Clinic B since I was there. I stopped at A to get Heartguard and they told me to have the test results faxed. I stopped back and they wouldn't sell it to me. They told me I had to get it at the other place. Fine, and thanks for telling me that last time.

    Am I being a cheapskate for bouncing back and forth? I guess I am done with Clinic A and will just have to cough up the extra money. And I can always find cheaper meds online if I want to go that route. I was just a little pi$$ed that they refused to sell me Heartguard. But maybe they only stock enough for their regular customers? My dogs/cats were there last fall for vaccinations, so it's not like it has been years.

  • #2
    The Heartgard issue may have had to do with when the dogs last had an exam. While there is some flexibility in interpretation, the general rule of thumb is that in order to prescribe a medication (in this case selling you the Heartgard), then the pet needs an exam within the last year in order for it to be considered an active veterinary client patient relationship.


    • #3
      I would personally stick with one vet, and for emergencies know your closest emergency hospital. Generally, the emergency hospital will send records back to your regular vet.

      I think for routine things like mentioned above something that fits into your budget is idea. However, ensure your vet is willing to send you out for second opinions when needed.


      • #4
        I use several vets for my large animals. I use one vet for my small animals. I have also used a local emergency clinic for after hours stuff, and have also been referred to CSU for oncology. But really--one main small animal vet.

        There are several things with clinic a that would not make me happy...the lead time to get an appointment would be the killer. I would not use them at all.

        If clinic b checks all your boxes, barring cost, it might just be time to suck it up and accept you've got to pay a bit more. If there are any other issues, it might be time to find a new clinic all together.


        • #5
          I use one vet for cats, another for dogs, and a third for horses. It boils down to which vet has the most expertise with the critter in question. I wouldn't take the same animal to two different vets unless I needed emergency or specialist care. I want the vet who is treating my animals to have the complete records of weight gain/loss, shots given, and so forth.


          • #6
            I do this with my horses:

            Vet A - routine stuff, vaccines, teeth, a cut that needs stitches, and he's affordable and takes payments. He is also very close, 10 minute drive, and willing to put things out on the steps for me if I need it (bute, gastrogard, etc). He sees my horses regularly enough that he is very familiar with them, and is comfortable with over the phone discussions and the dispensing of "routine" medications like bute.

            Vet B - a lot more expensive, but he is a much better vet in regards to lameness issues, colic, emergencies, etc. I used him for spring shots one year and almost died when I opened the bill. He was about 4 times for expensive than Vet A. However, because I want to have him available to me when I need him, I will use him for diagnostic stuff since usually that happens about once a year anyways Abscesses, chiro, etc.

            Vet B knows that I regularly use Vet A and he doesn't seem to mind. He is busy enough that he doesn't get bent out of shape that I don't use him for regular routine stuff, as he's quite a drive away anyways. Vet A knows that I use Vet B for emergency stuff, and he doesn't mind because he's getting my business every year for all my routine stuff which adds up also.
            "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


            • #7
              I need to consolidate my vets. I have one vet who does farm calls. She does my horses, "barn" cats, and I had her do shots for my older, more frail cat this year as I figured it was less stressful than a vet visit. For that older cat, I take her to a clinic for non-routine and blood tests plus I get her fluid supplies there (farm call vet in not in a convenient location). The dogs generally go to a third vet as that one also does large animals if I have an emergency when farm call vet is out of town so I keep my status as one of their clients. My fourth cat also goes there as I haven't seen a reason to change him. It's confusing I'm afraid but farm call vet was my only vet for a long time but then sold her practice. By contract, she couldn't practice in my county for 5 years so I started vet shopping. That's now the vet where the dogs go. Honest truth is I took kidney issue cat to a third vet when I didn't really like one of the vets at the second clinic. That vet has since left. Confused? Me too. I figure I'll consolidate once older cat is gone but I want to maintain client status at two clinics since farm call vet works alone and isn't always in town. Oh and when I need more diagnostic work, I haul the horses to Woodford Equine.
              Last edited by Holly Jeanne; Apr. 24, 2013, 12:16 PM.
              Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Goethe


              • #8
                I also use two small animal vets—Vet A for routine stuff because they don't insist on (or even recommend) a barrage of expensive tests when you come in for simple issues, and Vet B for more complicated issues where I want those tests to know what's going on.

                Vet B is a long drive from my house, and both clinics know I use the other when appropriate.
                "Dogs give and give and give. Cats are the gift that keeps on grifting." –Bradley Trevor Greive


                • #9
                  I generally use one vet. By that, I mean I use one vet for all regular care. There is another I would go to for emergency care because my regular vet is not available for emergencies after hours. And then I have had occasions in the past to use a specialist clinic (for ophthalmology, cardiology, and oncology).


                  • #10
                    I use two vet clinics. I started working at a small animal vet clinic about 2 years ago. A cat that I acquired after I started working at my clinic goes where I work. My other pets go the vet that I have used for the last 20 years. Routine blood testing and radiographs are done at the clinic where I work because I get the employee discount on these services. Meds are also purchased at the clinic where I work. Records are shared fully between the two clinics. Both my vets understand the situation and have no problem with it. The system works well. My employer has more diagnostic/treatment equipment such as ultrasounds, laser, etc. My other vet can do services such as chemotherapy (very handy as I had dog with lymphoma) as my employer does not work with chemotherapeutic drugs. Communication is important. I really like both of my vets!!!!


                    • #11
                      Vet A- former employer and my go to vet for medication when I am visiting my parents

                      Vet B- day to day vet at home

                      Vet C- Annual shots since they do them for super cheap

                      Vet D- Emergency Vet open when vet B and C are not

                      My animal. My money. I haven't have anyone complain yet. Vet B wouldn't accept a snap test from vet A so next time I visited my parents I bought a years worth from vet A. They have a right to their policy and I have a right not to spend $20 to redo a test done a week ago at another vets office.


                      • #12
                        I use my daughter and the clinic where she works for most problems. I use the local mobile vet surgeon for complex care or the vet hospital for complex care. You never know what kind of vet care you will need and who will be most available to provide that care. When you have an emergency, it is good to be an established client at more than one practice.


                        • #13
                          yes I do. I have 3 vets that I support on a misc. schedule and one main vet who sees most of my pets. We have a new vet opening a clinic around the corner from me and I will probably drop the least used and start with the new vet. For surgery and more invasive things, I use my main vet but for routine vaxx and minor things, I will support the others that I like as well.


                          • #14
                            I think it depends on the area and the services offered.

                            When I worked at a clinic in State A, we did take care of emergencies also. As such, we were MUCH more likely to go the extra mile for a client/patient we were seeing for routine stuff too. If someone went to a cheaper facility for routine vaccs and such, we were not as likely to go in at 3am when they had an emergency. We actually did charge more for on the emergency fee if it wasn't what we considered a "regular client".

                            Here in VA? VERY common for people to use more than one clinic. And at the clinic where I work, they don't seem to care. However, they also won't make much effort to work ANY patient in on emergency, they just refer to the ER clinic for a gazillion dollars more even if we technically COULD work them in.

                            I prefer to have a relationship with a veterinarian. Even if they don't do ER services, I'd rather have a good relationship with a vet that knows me and my critters than skip around price shopping because when you need someone to be following up on a situation, you want a good vet. Not just a cheap one.

                            As for your heartguard situation, no...I doubt it's an issue with supply. It's more than likely a doctor preference/policy. As long has you have a current HWT and exam with that doctor, they should've been able to fill the script. But some doctors are more into the "relationship" thing than others. Many won't even fax in a script to PetMeds or what have you (legally, they are supposed to in many states no matter their personal preference though.)

                            I recently moved and established my critters with a doc that is in a different clinic than the one I work in now. That clinic is actually cheaper than the one I work at and frankly, I want to keep taking my dogs over there. BUT...I also wanted to establish my critters at my clinic because while I don't get a discount, I do have a payment plan available so I wanted to kind of straddle both clinics.

                            No one here seems to take issue with that but I KNOW it would've been a prob back in Iowa or back in MI.
                            A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                            Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                            • #15
                              I use two vets for my horse. Vet A is close by and I use them for coggins testing and call them when my horse has a mild colic or the time I though my horse broke his tail. I would call them for any stitches my horse might need as well. They do most of my horse prescriptions as well, if I call and ask for bute or banamine they send it to me right away or I can pick it up.
                              Vet B is farther away and expensive. He is a specialist and will not allow people to list him as their primary vet. I use him for any lameness issues, acupunture, hock injections, and he also makes sure my horses farrier work is correct.


                              • #16
                                I use two equine vets. One is 5 minutes away and I use them for shots, coggins, colic, stitches and any emergency. The other vet is further away and harder to schedule but they are much more experienced with lameness issues in sport horses.

                                I switched vets around a few times with my cats, one older clinic with an older vet had little experience dealing with my FIV cat beyond putting him down. The other cat specialty clinic was great with any specific cat oriented issues but was expensive and far away. I settled on a vet that is closer, less expensive, and very good with cats. They are very good about breaking down the level of treatment I can do according to my budget.


                                • #17

                                  Vet clinic A for sports medicine, prepurchases, vaccines, wounds, etc. Sometimes for reproduction.

                                  Vet clinic B for specialized reproduction work


                                  Vet clinic C--local. Routine stuff. I'm new to the area, so I'm still figuring them out. Also can and have used vet clinic A for the dogs/cats.

                                  Vet clinic D--ER vet clinic.

                                  My two cents--it is best to have one clinic for the annual stuff just to avoid record chasing.
                                  DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


                                  • #18
                                    I have one vet I love

                                    There are also another that I sometimes use. Vet A I have been with for over twenty years. With 4 pets with allergies, I feel I contributed to the building of the new facility in a major way! Now, they prefer that you make an appointment. They are almost never on time, and after you get called into the little room, you generally wait another 15-20 minutes to see the vet. Irritating to say the least. There are also two younger female vets I don't care for. Vet B smaller cramped office, always filled with people and pets. They are quite a bit cheaper and although there are always filled, the wait is never as long, and they don't do appointments. I don't have a relationship with these guys, but it does depend on how broke I am and what is wrong with the animal. Sorry about the paragraphs but new computer won't let me drop down.
                                    Another killer of threads


                                    • #19
                                      I stick with the same veterinarians because I'm happy with the care and I like the relationship that I and my animals have with them. My small animal vet is part of a larger conglomerate so they are pricy....but I TRUST my vet there.


                                      • #20
                                        Ours is complicated, lol.
                                        Vet A: Local/close-by (when he isn't 3 hours away on a call) one-man practice. Does our routine horse and barn cat care. (Shots, minor lameness/injury/illness, etc. Refers stuff he can't/doesn't want to handle to bigger clinic) NOT expensive at all, and is great at what he does, will drop everything if needed to care for an emergency, even if he ends up sending it to someone else.

                                        Vet B: Has multiple veterinarians, horses only. Has both a hospital and mobile unit. Fairly pricey, but service is fabulous. Use them when Vet A is unavailable, or unable to do whatever procedure the horse needs.

                                        Vet C: Large university hospital, more $$$ than B, also further away. Use them for more complex things.

                                        Vet D: They do all animal species, are quite expensive, good but not fabulous care. Use them for emergencies if needed. Both hospital and mobile.

                                        Vet E: Does small animal. House cats and dogs go there. Typically refers after hours emergencies to Vets F and G, although will do emergency care for regular clients depending what the emergency is. F and G are partenering clinics who do emergency and after hours care.

                                        In a nutshell, horse stuff is primarily done by Vets A and B. Wierd/complex stuff goes to C.

                                        Barn cats are seen by A for routine stuff (spay/neuter, shots)

                                        House cats/dogs are seen by E, or potentially A. Could go to D, F, or G for an after hours emergency.

                                        Any animal could go to (or be visited by) Vet D if other options were unavailable for some reason.

                                        All of the vets know that other vets may also see the animal, and will send records and information to whoever needs it.

                                        Meds (for horses, dogs, or cats) are often purchased via prescription or Vet A, regardless of who prescribed it.