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Is my mom getting ripped off at the vet? How can we tell?

This forum is for dog lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your dog.

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Big ears, bigger- heart
Barked: Thu Nov 6, '08 10:01am PST 
(This is my very first post on Dogster! Thanks in advance for your help).

Hi! My name's Chip. My mom got me about 7 months ago and we saw a super friendly vet right away. Things seemed a little expensive, but not crazily so. Then, a few health problems popped up - slight heart murmur and a possible thyroid issue. I feel fine, but mom worries all the time! She's extra worried that our vet is ripping her off on diagnostics. A "wellness blood panel" was $120 and a thyroid panel was $150 - they didn't charge for the office visit or a blood draw but wowza! That much money could have bought a lot of dog toys!! Mom is torn because she loves the vet but hates feeling like she's getting ripped off. Also, there are probably more tests down the road for us, so that's even more money. They want to do a chest x-ray to see what my heart looks like for $175, plus extra if I need a sedative! What would your parents do?? Thanks!
Mr.- BoJangles

Behaving doesn't- always work for- me
Barked: Thu Nov 6, '08 10:12am PST 
I won't lie, blood work is expensive, especially if it is specialty blood work that is sent out for testing. The chest x ray price sounds about right too. We are located in Pennsylvania.

You lucked out that the vet didn't charge an office visit with the blood work! We are always charged an office visit, it just depends on who we see. If the vet sees us it is 40 dollars, if the tech sees us it is 25 dollars per office visit. It doesn't matter what we have done, from a nail trim to bloodwork to vaccines, we are always charged.

I like our vet, they have saved my dogs lives and I appreciate it! Vet care is expensive, believe me we know that here!

Oh and welcome to dogster!wave

My mommy <3's- me!!!!
Barked: Thu Nov 6, '08 11:39am PST 
Those prices sound about right. Our little pup had to have surgery which was about 2,000 but they had to do preliminary blood work and a sonogram. The sonogram was 400 alone. It is very expensive. That's why I reccommend a pet insurance policy but you have to be very careful about the company you choose because we had ours for less than 2 months after our dog got sick and they didnt cover any of her expenses because they considered it a "birth defect" only a few insurance companies will cover birth defects and unfortunutely I didnt do enough searching. But yea those prices seem about the norm for any vet.


The Wise Cracker
Barked: Thu Nov 6, '08 12:02pm PST 
If you're very concerned, call around and do price checks at other vets.

Boxer Gentleman
Barked: Thu Nov 6, '08 12:09pm PST 
Depending on where you are, that's about right. A thyroid blood test costs me about $80 at my current vet. My old vet (we only wish he were still our vet!) it was about $100. Then the medications are an added cost. Xrays, EKG.... any of that we have paid $200 each for in the past. Totally depends on your area, but it sounds pretty much in the ball park of most vets.
Rosalita Lola "Rosie"

Love is never- being told you'- naughty!
Barked: Thu Nov 6, '08 12:47pm PST 
Blood work can be expensive. I nearly faint whenever I got to the vet!

Pups can have a congenital heart murmur and it never be more than very small and live a very normal life.

But please note that it can be extremely hard for a vet to determine if a heart murmur is present when listening to the chest/heart of an excited dog. Respiratory sounds can mimic a heart murmur when breathing is fast enough to approximate the heart rate.

I just found this on a vet site "Since cardiac ultrasound exam is by far the most effective method of evaluating heart murmurs, I'd skip things like ECGs to get the ultrasound exam, if a choice has to be made between tests". X-rays are not good enough to see a slight heart murmur, it will show an enlarge heart.


Good luck sweetie.

Big ears, bigger- heart
Barked: Thu Nov 6, '08 1:52pm PST 
Thanks so much, everyone. I appreciate your input.

I do realize that health care is expensive, and I'm absolutely committed to getting Chip excellent care.

What initially concerned me about the price of the thyroid test was this thread then I started worrying about all the prices. But now I'm thinking, while they're not a discount vet, that the prices aren't crazy either. And I do love them - super friendly & responsive. Our first office visit lasted about an hour just because I had so many questions!

I did call around when I initially selected the vet, and their office fee ($51) was about the same as other vets in the area. It seems harder to compare the diagnostics, though, because some places separate out the costs (office + blood draw + test) whereas ours is inclusive.

Also, I did a ton of research when I got Chip, and we ended up with a Petplan insurance policy (high deductible but no coinsurance and low premium). Unfortunately, each of his recent incidents have been unrelated (paw infection + thyroid + heart murmur) so I have to meet the $200 deductible for each.

And Rosie - thanks a million for the heart murmur info. I think maybe the x-ray is not the right diagnostic for us, even if we do need to get more information. I will ask about the ultrasound.

I'm so happy (in- eeyore voice)
Barked: Thu Nov 6, '08 2:37pm PST 
Those prices are very reasonable. I have to have my dogs tested almost monthly for various things since all my dogs have serious medical issues. A thyroid test for my one is 225.00. This is done for her every 2 months. I took 2 in recently and had the complete thyroid and a test for pancreatotis for the other and the blood work for both came to 375.00 I do not pay for exams and such since my vet is also a close personal friend. I think you need to consider what this means for you. I also get complete blood work that includes other values needed. The fact they do a "total" type evaluation helps me to rest easy knowing that they are doing such detailed blood work

Whose bed?? Why- would YOU think- that?
Barked: Thu Nov 6, '08 3:14pm PST 
Vet care is expensive. Moira had a yeast infection in both ears this week. The office call, test, 2 meds and 2 Frontline were $125.00. Ouch! I don't know about blood work. I haven' t had any done in 3 years. It does seem like the price quoted for a blood panel before Moira's spay was $75, but I turned it down.

I would call around. I know four of the five available vets here are very comparable in price. The fifth advertises more affordable, but I have not checked into it because I am satisfied with my vet. I can't imagine just opening a lower cost office that she has the high tech equipment that mine has available, either. One of these days, I will make a phone call for curiosity's sake. My back up vet is a country vet without the equipment, but lots of knowledge.

Edited by author Thu Nov 6, '08 3:18pm PST

Sushi & Sake

We are NOT- foxes, got- it!??!
Barked: Thu Nov 6, '08 5:39pm PST 
Hmm here thyroid and blood tests are in the $40s. Perhaps with the 32$ office call.
And I thought my vet was expensivelaugh out loud
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