Am I getting ripped off by my vet?

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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Princess not- just a name its- an attitude
Barked: Tue Jun 2, '09 6:18am PST 
Recently my husband and I have been feeling like our vet is incredibly over-priced. Marta had to get xrays of her hips and knees a few months ago and it cost us $400. We were not expecting this at all. On saturday we took marta to the vet again because she has a small growth on her chest, its about the size of one of her nipples, in fact the vet thought it was a nipple at first. Its so small that I completely expected them to just give her a local anesthetic and remove it (im a nurse and this is what we do with people). However, I was quickly informed that they would be completely sedating her and it was going to cost us $580! I'm completely blown away and feeling taken advantage of. My husband had to go back and ask for the price the next day b/c they didn't even offer that information. I love my dogs and I give them the best of everything, however, I hate feeling like I'm being judged by my vet as a bad pet owner if I ask the price of a procedure. Are these prices completely crazy? Should I find a new vet? does anyone else have a similar experience?

"why should I- leave my chair?"
Barked: Tue Jun 2, '09 6:26am PST 
I have found that vets vary wildly in prices, sometimes it can be a good thing to call around. It is one of those tough situations because vets are like our doctors you don't just want to switch without knowing them. I am in the same boat right now with my vet, I love her and she does great with all my animals. She used to be one of the cheaper vets in town, but now she has begun to outprice the more expensive vets in town.The average price in our town for an office visit is 35.00, now my vet has jumped that to almost 50.00 where as other vets are still the same for that. That price wouldn't be bad, if it included something other than walking in the door. I think we have every right to ask the price for a procedure, without being bad pet owners.

Princess not- just a name its- an attitude
Barked: Tue Jun 2, '09 6:31am PST 
When our other puppy moo was neutered (by a vet associated with the rescue we adopted him from) I was concerned that the staples holding his incision closed were too loose so I called to ask if my vet could just take a quick look at them. Well they charged me $43 (the price of a standard office visit) to take a look and tell me they were okay.

Kiona CGC

The Prettiest- Princess

Barked: Tue Jun 2, '09 6:45am PST 
In the future, ask your vet for an estimate before they do any work that details exactly what the expenses will be.

And while I know it is frustrating to pay for an office visit, you have to remember that you were asking for vet to set aside time in their work day to examine your dog and make a medical determination on the status if the dog's incision site. Why should that be free? Would you expect your doctor to see you for free for a checkup?
Lady- (1999-2013)

Barked: Tue Jun 2, '09 6:46am PST 
Vet prices vary a lot. When Lady had her ACL surgery, there was a HUGE price range from place to place. We had her diagnosed at our normal vet, then called around for the best price for the surgery (our normal vet does not do ACL surgeries so we had to go someplace else anyway). Also, I have noticed that our normal vet is less than 1/2 the price of some others for spaying. I would call around and see if there is someplace that fits your needs and your budget.
Mr.- BoJangles

Behaving doesn't- always work for- me
Barked: Tue Jun 2, '09 6:51am PST 
Xrays at our clinic are $75 for the first one and then $50 for each additional that day.

Bailey had two lumps removed and sent out for lab testing and the whole surgery with anesthesia, hospitalization, fluids, was around $400 and we got a few discounts. Oh, and she had a dental done that day as well.

Office visits with the vet are $39, with a tech around $20.

I swear all the new equipment they get is courtesy of us! BOL
In Loving- Memory of- BOOMER

The Cat Did- It...
Barked: Tue Jun 2, '09 7:38am PST 
That's the about the price of our xrays too. 75 for the first and 30 for each additional (as long as the dog doesn't need sedation of course--that's extra). And yes, all the new equipment is courtesy of the clients! Be glad that they choose to invest back into their clinic rather than in their own pockets.

Our office just got a new ultrasound machine for our clients which makes diagnosing things like Cushings (where you need to follow arteries to get to the adrenal gland) at least 10 times easier because it's sooo clear. We also don't need to schedule a heart specialist for cardiac ultrasounds because the vets can CLEARLY see what's going on with the heart with our new machine. Big savings for the clients that need these services.

We're not outrageously priced--there are several that are higher than us, but our vets make sure the staff is paid, we get a small uniform allowance (which is soo nice), and every Saturday the Dr's bring the small staff breakfast as a thankyou for working. Our building is nice since we just moved into a newer building, we try to keep things looking good for our clients but it's not like we have plasma tv's hanging on the wall in every room (actually we don't even have 1 plasma tv anywhere!).

Our doctors use the profits from the clinic to upgrade the machines that are older and try to give the clients and clinic the most bang for the buck.

Look at your clinic...what services do they offer besides regular vet care (xray, ultrasound, difficult surgeries, alternative therapy or treatment)--could this be where some of the money goes? to offer cutting edge or alternative treatments? How does the clinic look and what does the vet drive --is the clinic a dump and the vet drives a BMW or is the clinic strung out with high tech electronics just for amusment? ---sometimes these can be clues to where all the extra money is going

Call around. See what other clinics are charging for the same services. Also see what they offer. Sometimes some clinics will up the price of a common service to decrease the cost of a more expensive service (ie up the cost of an office visit by 1 or 2 dollars to lower the cost of anesthesia during surgery--so everyone pays 38 for an office visit and 45 for anesthesia for surgery, rather than 20 for an office visit and 150 for anesthesia --those are exaggerated examples but I hope you see my point).

Barked: Tue Jun 2, '09 7:58am PST 
As far as the price your vet is charging you on anything, the first thing they should supply you with is a detailed and itemized list of all the charges for the services rendered. Like phys. exam, pre anesthetic blood work (if any), hospitalization, injectable anesthesia and gas anesthesia, fluids given, any antibiotics etc. Basically vindicating their price. You do have the right to ask what each charge was, and why this was performed on your dog etc. All these charges do add up but your prices do sound high, however are you living in a metropolis area where prices are a tad higher than country vets? Price shopping vets is always an option. Talk to some local people in your area and get their views on what vets they like. Word of mouth is always your best bet. Good luck to you smile

Barked: Tue Jun 2, '09 8:22am PST 
This is definately the reason we put our furkids on pet health insurance. It has made a big difference for us especially when Quannah was so gravely ill.

Princess not- just a name its- an attitude
Barked: Tue Jun 2, '09 8:50am PST 
We live in Chapel Hill, NC...its not even close to being a city. Also, what type of pet insurance would you recommend?
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