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Ray Gubernat

I honestly believe that most veterinarians, like most heath care providers, are primarily concerned with providing the very best quality care for their patients.    That, and the fact that it IS a business and it IS their livelihood, as well as employment for their staff, can mean that the costs associated with service will generally go up, not stay the same and not go down.  

 

It also means that veterinary services in a major metropolitan area will be higher than those in a rural area.  The associated costs of doing business in the high rent district cause that.   That is reality.  That also means that the large animal vet who makes house calls(farm visits) and  does some dog and cat stuff on the side, may not be able to provide the same level of care as a brick and mortar vet hospital.   Reality as well.  

 

But 406dn said it quite well.  It is up to us as the owner and caretaker of the animal to make the decisions regarding their care and treatment.  Sometimes that means we must ask for options that may not be the latest and greatest.  Sometimes that means we have to make hard choices.  That is not the veterinarian's fault, nor is it their responsibility.  The choice and responsibility rests solely with the owner of the animal.  

 

I have dogs and a couple of old horses.  i use the services of a large animal vet for the horses and most of the routine care needs of the dogs.  For rabies shots, I take the dogs to the clinics at Tractor Supply.  For other shots, I buy them and do them myself and keep my own records.    If the dog has an issue, I will call my vet and  ask her advice, first.  If she recommends that I go to  another vet provider for testing and evaluation and treatment, that is what I do. 

 

However, I reserve all treatment decisions and their financial consequences to myself.  Always have...always will.  My responsibility...my choice.   As caretakers and owners of animals, it is sometimes necessary to make hard choices.  I have dealt with hard choices in the past and will in the future and YES, some of them were rooted in financial considerations.   It didn't make it any easier that i could not afford or justify the expense.  But it is what it is. I make the call and I am the one who has to live with the decision. 

 

It is all part of the equation and something we absolutely owe to the animals in our care.

 

RayG

 

 

 

 

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This is generally well stated but it lacks one essential point.  It is absolutely IMPERATIVE for your veterinarian to provide you sound medical guidance on how to proceed with a given problem so that

The docs at our clinic all wear masks and go out to the car and speak with the owner's 6 feet away. The clients must wear masks also no exceptions.  I don't understand why so many vets won't go out to

Not hating on anyone...not dinging anyone including the OP on this Topic....and nobody is beyond reproach...but as the owner Administrator and Moderator here for nearly 19 years, I will say that vets

Vet cost are subject to where you live in the country some places are high others are low it is also subject to how many vets you have in a specific area more competition mean competitive prices.  I love my vet she is a one person shop and her husband works the desk when she retires it is going to be a sad day.

 

We also have a local 24 hour ER vet that has been under investigation you bring in a animal for an emergency they give you a price which is very high and if you can not pay the price they force you to surrender the animal to them this has happened many time and she has been sued many time because of it yet she is still operating.

 

Good vets are a godsend when you find one you hang on to them.

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22 hours ago, Ray Gubernat said:

I honestly believe that most veterinarians, like most heath care providers, are primarily concerned with providing the very best quality care for their patients.    That, and the fact that it IS a business and it IS their livelihood, as well as employment for their staff, can mean that the costs associated with service will generally go up, not stay the same and not go down.  

 

It also means that veterinary services in a major metropolitan area will be higher than those in a rural area.  The associated costs of doing business in the high rent district cause that.   That is reality.  That also means that the large animal vet who makes house calls(farm visits) and  does some dog and cat stuff on the side, may not be able to provide the same level of care as a brick and mortar vet hospital.   Reality as well.  

 

But 406dn said it quite well.  It is up to us as the owner and caretaker of the animal to make the decisions regarding their care and treatment.  Sometimes that means we must ask for options that may not be the latest and greatest.  Sometimes that means we have to make hard choices.  That is not the veterinarian's fault, nor is it their responsibility.  The choice and responsibility rests solely with the owner of the animal.  

 

I have dogs and a couple of old horses.  i use the services of a large animal vet for the horses and most of the routine care needs of the dogs.  For rabies shots, I take the dogs to the clinics at Tractor Supply.  For other shots, I buy them and do them myself and keep my own records.    If the dog has an issue, I will call my vet and  ask her advice, first.  If she recommends that I go to  another vet provider for testing and evaluation and treatment, that is what I do. 

 

However, I reserve all treatment decisions and their financial consequences to myself.  Always have...always will.  My responsibility...my choice.   As caretakers and owners of animals, it is sometimes necessary to make hard choices.  I have dealt with hard choices in the past and will in the future and YES, some of them were rooted in financial considerations.   It didn't make it any easier that i could not afford or justify the expense.  But it is what it is. I make the call and I am the one who has to live with the decision. 

 

It is all part of the equation and something we absolutely owe to the animals in our care.

 

RayG

 

 

 

 

 

This is generally well stated but it lacks one essential point.  It is absolutely IMPERATIVE for your veterinarian to provide you sound medical guidance on how to proceed with a given problem so that you can in turn make a sound decision financially and medically for your pets wellbeing. Like it was their own dog.  Yes of course it's your dog and your money and you have the final say but they damn well better help your steer. This is particularly true with regards to specialty referrals.  You can spend a load of dough quickly.  And for say a complicated fracture the results can be miraculous and worth the cost.  Malignant cancers/internal medicine workups/neurological cases and the like will be expensive, generate lots of whiz bang info, but short on real good results for the money and trouble IME.  I tell owners that, in so many words depending on their priorities. If you can swing it 4 grand for a TPLO on a 3 yo GSP is well worth the extra money, for example.  Your dog has lymphatic cancer; you can throw ten grand at it via referral and your beloved will still be gone in a year tops.  That doesn't mean they shouldn't go.  But they need to know that.  Oversimplifications but still you get the point, yes?

 

And don't wait for the sh*t to hit the fan.  Have that conversation now.  Ask your vet what kinds of cases do they refer where.  Simple as that.   Seek out a practice with a few vets of varying ages that are privately owned, not part of a franchise.  If you're fortunate enough to have a dedicated emergency clinic in your area be thankful.  The care will be pricey but far superior to ol' Doc Geezer at 2 am, assuming you can reach him.  I don't want that guy spaying my dog the next day I can assure you. The ideal situation is where your vet will answer after hours phone calls and help you sort out whether to go to the e-clinic pronto or it can wait til they can see the next day etc. 

 

At the end of the day a good practice should be capable of doing 98% of everything your dog will need in it's lifetime at a reasonable cost, including the vast majority of abdominal surgeries of any sort , simple fractures, basic imaging, dental work, hormonal imbalances, very thorough blood diagnostics, 1-2 techs per doctor with minimal turnover, modern record keeping , regular attendance at continuing education meetings. To name a few. And don't be fooled by big fancy buildings, or waiting rooms that stink and look like a Jiffy Lube.  Unless of course, well, you like that sort of thing.  Cuz it's your money and your dog.  And if your dog breaks with vomiting and bad diarrhea it gets seen today, not 3 days from now.  I don't care how effin' busy the place is and it's all booked up.  Truly sick animals get seen, not pushed off.  A one vet practice is at a distinct disadvantage in this regard.

 

Otherwise I have no opinion.

 

 

 

 

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We've been lucky with a solid clinic here, created years ago then expanded, the founder sold to a group of vets when he retired.  They have a closing time, we got caught by that once when Rahne ate a rancid pear and grew very weak.  At least now I knew where the emergency vet was and how costs were structured.  We have been fortunate to be able to pay the costs for all services at each vet, and when appropriate our vets will stop at an appropriate point to spell out larger upcoming expenses.  

 

Beem had an infection behind an eardrum several years ago, I wound up taking him to a university hospital in Missouri for an overnighter, not cheap but necessary.  We've had several Kansas State grads in our clinic and it turned out the university also sends vets around for specialist work.  One of them visits that nearby emergency clinic and when our vet found a heart murmur in Beem it saved us a number of trips with him being seen locally by the traveler.  Our favorite vet, Dr. Boyer, wound up becoming a professor at K-State, one of the things I liked most about her was the way she'd examine the dog then rattle off every option she could present and then open discussion to the options ahead with no discernable pressures.  All of the vets are solid, I believe we've seen each of them over 20+ years with usually 2 or 3 dogs at a time including a couple rescues in our home through that time.

 

More recently, one of the newer vets has been seeing Beem and she's got an approach much like Dr. Boyer in informing the range of options and planning the way ahead.  I mean, all vets do this but there's something different in each's manner.  Beem started coughing and an x-ray showed a growth in a lobe of a lung. Clavacillin knocked it back some but not out, a good aspect being he stopped coughing in the first day of the pills.  Looks like the main problem is unaffected but associated infection has been reduced or eliminated.  Costs associated with a biopsy have been presented along with where that might be accomplished, and what might follow that.  All along there's the question to the vet of "what would you do if it were your dog" but that's not really fair after everything has been so well laid out.  They know the anguish we are feeling.  

 

Wife and I discussed the options when I got back home. Beem turned 14yo in March and they've been reluctant to anesthetize him even for a teeth cleaning given his heart murmur, so the decision to not pursue surgeries is a little easier in our case--helped along greatly by a vet staff we know and trust and gotta say we truly like. Even when paying the bills for 3 mutts. 

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I have been very fortunate with my vets. Cost is higher than it was when I was a kid and I have no doubt that the student loans factor into that as I dont think vet school is significantly cheaper than med school these days. All my vets have always been reasonable on charging for visits, (not charging an exam fee when bringing a dog back in, if they are not doing all shots in the same visit only charging one exam fee, etc) and have always been good on talking through cost and cost benefit options and been flexible on making payments on expensive visits. 

 

Ours also has an on call service and the vet will call you back and help navigate what to do or whether to go to the emergency vet. 

 

 

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On 8/5/2020 at 2:31 PM, OutlawTorn said:

 

Fair enough.

 

My complaints are leveled at my small animal vet and the more national Blue Pearl specifically - I'd probably just been looking for an outlet after my Toby ordeal in July.  My large animal vet for the horses is fantastic - and so is the vet I've used hunting in North Dakota.

 

Very appreciative of any vet willing to share their expertise on here and those vets giving good experiences to our members across the country.

 

I have used Blue Pearl more times than I would like late at night or on Sunday for emergencies. They are more expensive, a 24 hour clinic with advanced equipment for emergencies, they would have to be more expensive. When my hound has an intestinal prolapse we discussed symptoms with my vet on the phone and then rushed him to blue pearl. They used a specialist in France to review the imaging given that it was after midnight by that time and provided good information on the cost benefit options for surgery right then and also gave an option to wait until morning and have an ultrasound done to fully confirm the diagnosis. Given the danger of surgery, the chance of death, the changes to quality of life and the cost we knew we were not doing the procedure but we decided to do the ultrasound for peace of mind. The ultrasound confirmed the diagnosis and how much of the intestine would be removed and we discussed with the vet there and with our vet and decided it was best to end his suffering, we did it there rather than moving him to do it at our vet, he was in no shape to be transported. They only charged me for the overnight and original imaging and not for the ultrasound or euthanasia. My total bill for an overnight with IV, multiple x-rays and a specialist overseas reviewing them in the middle of the night, an ultrasound, and euthanasia all came out right around $800 which seemed extraordinarily reasonable. 

 

When I found my britt unable to get up with blue gums early in the morning we took him to blue pearl (it was a sudden onset larpar with the flap on both sides completely failed. He made 3 total trips in there over 4 days and he spent 36 total hours in an oxygen chamber with an IV in during those visits. There was also imaging and other diagnostics and evaluation by a specialist, they were also good about reviewing cost benefit of surgery with us and told us the same as our vet did. Ultimately he was also put down. I dont recall exactly but I think my total cost was in the ball park of $1,500 which also seems quite reasonable, and I know they knocked off some of the charges. 

 

I am glad we have them as a resource, the hound incident happened at my cabin and after talking to a few small local vets up there and then our vet we decided to rush him back to the cities for care, he would not have survived the night at any vet up there, they would not have had the equipment to treat him. Next time I wont wait to call with anything serious I will be booking it down highway 8 calling from the road.

 

I am sure how they handle things may vary by branch and perhaps by which vet you get there. I use the one in Blaine MN and have generally found it reasonable. Things like stitches are likely double what they would cost at our local office but I would expect that to be the case to get it done at 3:00am vs 3:00pm. 

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I trust my Vet and his staff . My Vet is the owner and he has a couple Vets in the office , also great . 

My issues recently with all three of my dogs had me very worried . We opted to have the oldest checked out first . He was most at risk . Blood panel , kidneys , X-ray , meds , not cheap . He could have asked to see the other two , more money . He didn't . He called every morning for a week for update on all three . 

I've been with him for 25 years now right out of Tufts . He's built up a great practice , the best around . He's given me great advise on surgeries and i've explained why I've had to have a surgery done elsewhere .

( My Zack had a floating patella , The norm was to grind it out so the knee cap fits inside the bone later possibility of arthritis . The other option was to correct the angle of the leg by breaking it to align properly . a very dangerous procedure and new at the time . Only three surgeons in the Country were doing it . Today at 12 , he's fine and no sign of arthritis .) 

I'm hoping my Vet never retires . He's always there for us . He tells my wife if he returns in the next life as a dog , he wants to belong to us .

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I have been blessed with a great vet for over 25 yrs. If he cannot handle a case he refers me to the U of MN, which has happened a fair number of times with Cancer and some surgeries.  Think an office call is now about $50.  If I need an Rx for a problem I have experienced in the past he will often forgo the office visit and have me just pick up the Rx.

 

Working from home since March has allowed me to drop off bakery goods for the staff once or twice a month to show my appreciation of their service.

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We just had our yearly appointment for our for dogs. Its been a pain in the a$$ with this pandemic! You wait in the parking lot, and they come and get your dog one at a time. I wanted to talk in person to the vet, but was not allowed. Three dogs needed all their shots, but the pup just needed snake vaccine shot. I went over all this when checking in, but they gave the pup a full round of shots too at least that is what the bill said. 

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The docs at our clinic all wear masks and go out to the car and speak with the owner's 6 feet away. The clients must wear masks also no exceptions.  I don't understand why so many vets won't go out to the vehicle.  Phone calls only that's bullsh*t, sorry . . . no I'm not.

 

I must be so old school now that I'm getting cranky.

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During these crazy times, I think we all are on pins and needles about ourselves getting ill and our dogs needing treatment...especially earlier on. If I feel a slight tooth pain I start to panic, or a pain anywhere that might be a kidney stone 😷😬...luckily and KNOCK ON A PILE OF TREE LENGTH, neither mutt has needed any vet visits for a while. I’m glad I got that paw lipoma/growth surgery on Cash done just before the sheet hit the fan.

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well, I guess I'm lucky with the vet.  It just so happens that my hunting partner is my vet as well.  He gives me a reduced rate and I really takes care of my dogs like they were his. I have when I had a question or told him what was going on with one over the phone. He'd tell me what to do and at no cost. I've taken them to his house on the weekends before.  My only problem now is he is semi retired and will with the next couple years pretty much retire to only filling in when they need him.  He owns his practice but he as a vet that came on a few years ago with him is buying half of him out and in the next couple years his son is buying the other half. I'm sure my bills will go up but as long as my partner has a license to practice he'll help me out.

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45 minutes ago, Dogwood said:

The docs at our clinic all wear masks and go out to the car and speak with the owner's 6 feet away. The clients must wear masks also no exceptions.  I don't understand why so many vets won't go out to the vehicle.  Phone calls only that's bullsh*t, sorry . . . no I'm not.

 

I must be so old school now that I'm getting cranky.

 

I haven't seen our vet since this whole pandemic thing went down.  A tech will meet us in the parking lot with a clipboard and write down everything we want to discuss with the vet.  Then off the dogs go with the tech.  I either wait in the car for them to get done or go home and wait for them to call.  Then once again I wait in the car and call the practice and out trots the tech with the dogs on a leash and back in the car they go.  My vet will call us after the visit to talk over things.   I totally miss the interaction.  There are lots of little things to talk about when you have your dog 10 feet away and the vet is looking them over that gets totally forgotten with the new way of doing business.   IMO lots of routine vet visits will be skipped right now as people just don't want to put up with the new rules, right or wrong. 

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My vet is a good friend of mine.  He's also a hunter and has bird dogs.  It's nice to have someone to text after hours because the pup ate a strange mushroom under the back deck and I need to know if i should induce vomiting 🤮

 

I've had my last three dogs on an annual "wellness" plan with his clinic.  It's like $30 a month and covers 2 office visits (which we usually blow through in the first month), all of their vaccines, a long list of tests and screenings, interstate medical, teeth cleaning, discounts on other services, etc.  With all the stuff my dogs manage to get into, the plans have always saved me money. 

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There are individual vets and vet groups and national veterinary chains. I have come to much prefer the former two. I have had some great vets, and country vets in Montana, California, Oregon, Washington and the Dakotas have provided me with great services at a very reasonable price. One opened his practice on Sunday to help me with a dog that had fallen off a cliff in a very remote spot in NW Nevada. Kudos to them all.

 

But then there is the vet who insisted that I get my winning male setter neutered. There is the national chain that ran me and my dog through a number of expensive hoops before they would prescribe an oral flea preventative. I can do without this sort of nonsense.

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