Thursday, July 17, 2014

What's Your Vet Charging You?

What's your vet charge for common services?

Is it on their web site? Is it posted in their office?

Why not?

Washington, D.C. is one of the most expensive places in America to live, and the Washington Humane Society charges (and openly lists) the following fees for comparison:

  • Regular Spay/Neuter Package (includes surgery, pain medication, e-collar and complimentary nail trim) $130
  • In-heat Spay additional $20
  • Pregnant Spay additional $25
  • Cryptorchid additional $20-$40
  • Over 100 lbs. additional $20
  • Aggressive Dog additional $20
  • Frontline flea treatment per dose $10
  • Distemper (DHPP) vaccination $10
  • Rabies vaccination $10
  • Nail trim $5
  • Microchip $35
  • E-collar $10
  • Heartworm test $20
  • Six months of heartworm preventative (under 50 lbs) $20
  • Six months heartworm preventative (over 50 lbs) $25

For the record, my own vet, which was voted one of the "Best Veterinary Hospitals" in the Washington, D.C. area has a web site but publishes NO pricing.

Again, why not?  I would complain, but I only see them about once every five years, as I do my own vet work for small wounds, shots, flea and tick, worming, etc.

How about your vet?  Google them and let's see how many out there actually report pricing!

And no, pricing is not everything, but since "no one goes to a bad doctor," it's not a small issue either, is it?


Viatecio said...

My employer does not list prices on their site, but we do give estimates to people who are interested in a particular procedure.

My jaw has dropped on several occasions.

The cat neuters still manage to raise my eyebrows. The cat spays are usually next in line. The dentals are almost always guaranteed to make me groan, but then again, most people seem to put that off until multiple extractions are necessary; I can't think of one dental we've done since I've joined that hasn't involved extractions of teeth that actually needed to go due to resorptive lesions or dental disease (not just "Oh, we'll take this one out for whatever reason").

People mention that they think about going to the spay/neuter clinic and the vet trots out stories of re-used, nonsterile instruments covered in another pet's blood being used on YOUR pet. And also that they've had pets run away in the past. And they don't have state-of-the-art EKG, Doppler, NIBP, and every-5-minute monitoring under anesthesia.

Oh, and pain medication is included. Nothing like making your pet feel well enough to run and jump around, then put the onus on YOU to "keep him/her quiet, leash walk only, restricted exercise and cage rest for 10 days." Taking into consideration, of course, that dogs recover as individuals.

"You get what you pay for," indeed.

And what sickens me to some degree is that the people getting price cuts and perks is the STAFF (of which I am one, and that I am complaining makes me something of a hypocrite in in certain ways). Not the people who can't afford heartworm or flea prevention. Not the people who can't even afford the basic exam and legally-required rabies jab. Not the good Samaritans who open their home to adopt what turns out to be a medical wreck and looked the least likely to be so (aka neither brachy nor achondro, good structure--just bad innards and/or genes).

It's not just the economy. Many vets are pricing themselves out of range, and while they are open to people going elsewhere for care (it's certainly the people's choice!), there's always a reason WHY they shouldn't. And the people are generally first to say that it's not from maltreatment by the vet or the staff--it's the prices. How true that is, I can't say. But it's what I hear the most.

Oy...there but for the grace of doG goes my paycheck...

Funder said...

My small animal vet has an almost completely useless website that looks like it was built in the 90s. You can get the phone number, address, and hours from it, but nothing else. My equine vet doesn't even have a website - I can find her phone number online, but only via third party sites like the yellow pages.

FWIW: The small animal vet charges reasonable rates, doesn't push for aggressive treatment, and doesn't mindlessly push extras like teeth cleaning. The equine vet is amazing, charges quite reasonable prices, and is as busy as she wants to be - she has no need to advertise.

Ruth said...

Wel, my vet has a website, and as such things go its not bad, though they don't list prices online. They ARE however willing to quote prices over the phone, even to people who aren't current patients ( though always with the cavet that the vet will need to do an exam if you aren't a current patient). As prices go they aren't the cheapest in town, but they're much more reasonable than some I've been to, and are open to "alternative" options such as titers instead of just insisting on automatically re-vacinating. They don't push extras and if theres a cheaper way to do things they usually offer that first.

PipedreamFarm said...

Our vet clinic does not list pricing on their website (which appears to be under construction). However, when we had issues with a pup in our last litter they did not charge us for two different office visits (the vet examined the pup both times) for the pup after it had been in a different e-vet hospital.

Simba said...

My vet has pricing on the website for all their routine stuff, basically everything except emergency and dental. They are also very good at giving quotes before starting treatment for absolutely everything, and generally come in at or under quote.

They are happy to advise you as to the bare minimum of care, and won't judge you for adopting a 'wait and see' attitude where appropriate.

I have had more than one vet bill there where I got a happy, healthy pet home which had been at the brink of death's door, and then the vet went out of the way to bring and keep the bill down as much as possible.

And yet you still get lots of complaints from people about how expensive they are, they always want to do all the bells and whistles. I've never felt pushed to make the most 'expensive' decision. I'd rather be told all the options, not just the ones that the vet thinks I would like.