Friday, April 03, 2015

Saving Big Money With a Ball Point Pen

When a veterinarian submits a "prospective bill" before doing the work, look it over and see what you can cross out.

  1. Are you being double billed? It happens.
  2. Has the vet or vet tech tacked on procedures that you do not want, such as teeth cleaning? It happens. Teeth cleaning in dogs is almost never medically necessary. Dog teeth and human teeth are not the same for one simple reason: a dog is dead at age 15, not at age 80.
  3. Has the vet tacked on a bunch of expensive pre-anesthesia tests? If your dog is not old, is in fine health (other than perhaps a wound), and has done well with anesthesia before, consider skipping it.
  4. Is this vet trying to test for heartworm in a dog that is under 9 months of age? That's a scam or a mistake -- cross it out and consider changing vets.
  5. Is the vet anxious to sell you Rimadyl for pain? Cross it out and say you'll give the dog buffered children's aspirin in the proper dose instead.
  6. Is the vet trying to sell you year-round heartworm medication even though you have a real winter in your area? That's a scam -- cross it out.
  7. Is you veterinarian pushing annual vaccinations and "boosters?" Forget it; all vaccines after the first year are good for the life of the dog. Your vet knows this, or should. A rabies vaccine is the only one that needs to be renewed (for legal reasons) and then only every three years, and you do not need to get it done at the vet. The cheapest rabies tag in your community can be gotten from the local animal shelter.
  8. Has your new puppy been spayed or neutered? Ask to take it home that day. Some veterinarians are big on keeping pets overnight, but this is medically unnecessary and just another "tack on charge." In many cases, your dog will spend the night at the vets without an overnight attendant even being on duty. Why would you pay to leave your dog in a cage far from home with no one to even check up on it?
  9. Ask the vet for a prescription for a generic and get the prescription filled at WalMart or Costco for a few dollars. You can do this with a large number of pet medications, including antibiotics, and you can even get antibiotics without a prescription. If WalMart or Costco don't have the drug you are looking for, and you will need it for the life of the dog or cat, see if it can be ordered mail order. And yes, you can ask for a double-dose and split the pill for your dog, same as is done for humans.
  10. Are you kenneling your dog at the vets while on a short vacation? Just say NO to the "guilt" charges they will suggest adding -- nail trimming, baths, "vaccine boosters," and those "extra walks" that will either not be done or will be just a "once around" a 12-foot yard. A kennel is not a spa, and a short trip out of town is no reason for you to allow yourself to be gouged. Remember: the dog will be walked so the crate does not have to be cleaned and the dog washed (for free!).

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seeker said...

We had a dog suffering from kidney failure left alone overnight at the clinic and she died, alone in a strange cage, at the office. Never again.
Back in the day, my old vet would take the dogs home with him to watch them. He did our first JRT because he had to overdose her to spay her as 'she kept on dancing'.
Lots of good advice but, of course, people disagree with the rest because hey, their vet tells them so. Oh well. I believe you for the shots, but lots of competitions require the shot records and when I can't produce them I'm frustrated. So, I'm stymied there. But its not worth my dogs health in the long run.

Debi and the Jack/Rat Pack.

Fall Charmz said...

Hi terrierman - thanks for this great list!

Also, would like to chime in here with a story of how it pays to double check fees before agreeing to service.

Back in 2006, our black lab got cut in our yard while playing with his brother. We later found out that the injury - a gash in his skin - came from a screw on the underside of the pole that held up the trampoline netting (which we filed down so it never happened again).

anyhow, we went to a vet at "Petsmart" - which was way across town but our former dogs used to be on the wellness plan (um I mean "rip-off" plan) with them and we were new to the area and still finding the right vet for our newest set of dogs.

anyhow, long story short, the vet at Petsmart walks out and says it will cost between 850 and 1050 to sew up our dog.

Things were moving fast - it was really hot in there and we all had winter sweaters on while the heat was glaring -- my two young sons were with me - and well, it was the vet;s cocky attitude that really had me leave to check on other options. Because after I started reading over the proposed fees, he interrupted and said it would likely be at the higher end of the quote - just so I would know….

so we left - which was difficult because any injury on a dog - even just a gash - feels so traumatic.

Then when we got home, the first local vet I called listened to my story and gave me a quote of apprx. 225.00 over the phone. We went there and with some antibiotics it was all under $250 - yeah!!
the pup needed a few stitches (which came out and we had to go back for a free re-sew) but we ended up staying with that local vet for about 5 years - and our friends with a Rottie rescue still go to him on our referral.

all that to say that I really agree with your point about reading over and crossing out things that might not be really needed - and also - sometimes it helps to call around and and get quotes - it could pay off like it did for us.

have a nice weekend and Happy Easter!