the cost of veterinary care

I hate to admit it, but I expressed a bit of irritation with the lady behind the desk at my vet’s office this morning.

After wellness checks for 4 dogs last week I scheduled 2 back for dental cleaning. I specifically asked, “how much do you charge for dental appointments?”  The answer was “about $100.”

We hadn’t scheduled dentals for awhile, so I bit the bullet and scheduled Dash (9 years, 40 pounds) and Hazard (5 years, 9 pounds) to have their teeth cleaned.

This morning I was presented with the inevitable paperwork to sign, including  required “pre-anesthesia bloodwork” for Dash — for $66.  The corresponding bloodwork for Hazard was $33 but, since she’s not considered a senior, it wasn’t required.

As I’m reading the paperwork, and complaining about the $66 charge, it goes on to say that there’s no guarantee that the required bloodwork will show existing conditions which might make anesthesia dangerous for Dash.

As I turned away from the desk I said to the clerk, “when people ask how much a dental cleaning costs the answer should be ‘$100 to $200, depending on your dog’s size and age’.  You folks shouldn’t tell people that dental cleaning is $100.”

After a few minutes in the car, where my irritation simmered, I began to question why Dash’s bloodwork would cost $66 and Hazard’s only $33.

Don’t get me wrong — I realize that bloodwork is recommended for dogs, especially seniors, prior to anesthesia. I get that there are dangers involved.

Frankly, I’ve reconsidered the plan I had to take all our aged dogs in to get their teeth cleaned as well. If the anesthesia is so dangerous for aged dogs, and the bloodwork is $66, and there’s no guarantee the bloodwork will turn up dangerous conditions, I guess I’ll just deal with dirty teeth and the possible infections.

What drives Bud nuts (among other things, of course <g>) is that this vet offers NO volume discount based on the number of dogs we have and the way we combine office visits and manage the dogs for minimal impact on her staff.

We paid over $400 for 4 dogs’ wellness checks, vaccinations, and bordatella. Two had their teeth scraped. Additionally our flea/tick preventative amounted to another $250.

There are places in the world where that would constitute a mortgage payment. So what recourse do we have?

One of us will be spending some time on the phone harvesting pricing information from other vets in the area. When we find a qualified individual with lower prices or a willingness to discount for volume, we’ll change vets.

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One Response to “the cost of veterinary care”

  1. Debbie Says:

    I’ve found that a cooperative vet is invaluable for keeping costs down, and every couple of years I have my vet print out the summary of my transactions then I go shopping for vet services. So far, current vet has made the cut for 4 years. 🙂 But then, my vet bill runs $3-4K per year.

    Currently I’m opening the ampule for the 89-132lb+ Frontline Plus, and giving a measured dose for each of my dogs based on their exact weight. She (the vet) checked all of my calculations and this I do with her blessing. 🙂 My last purchase of FL+ was on eBay, and I picked up a 6-pack with Australian labeling (legal eagles don’t bother flaming me) for $55. This works out to a cost of $2.78 for a 40-lb dog.

    I also have a prescription for the generic version of HeartGard Plus. You can buy it at outlets such as Yes, I have white-footed collie breeds and I am not concerned about the maintenance dose of Ivermectin that HG contains.

    Saving a bit on the regular maintenance will help cover the costs of that bloodwork!

    Debbie Nosse
    Tri-State Corgi Rescue
    (and my dogs Kyra, Ripley, Gizzi, Penelope, and Kirk, fosters Darcie, Bunny, Stubby, and Jack and borrowed BC Flo)

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