A very expensive trip to the vet – overservicing?

Octaviajune 12 May 2010 33

My cat injured her foot about a week ago (cause unknown but suspected fall from a carport roof) She’s a somewhat delicate RSPCA moggie with whom I have yet to bond, so spending a lot of money on her at this stage makes me feel a little uncomfortable.

First trip to the vet a week ago = $100 (examination + some food (unrelated to foot problem) + some anti-imflammatory drugs).

Today I brought her back as she was still limping. I was horrified to be charged over $400 (as far as I could tell for examination, x-ray and a very fine foot bandaging). I was too shocked to query the charges and am reluctant to return in a couple of weeks as instructed lest I end up with an even larger bill.

Perhaps it isn’t overservicing … but I can’t help but wonder whether her foot would have healed in its own good time had I not taken her to the vet in the first place. And I am a little suspicious about the level of service provided.

Has anyone experienced what they consider over the top charging? All I could think at the time was that if that was my car in for a service, I would get a phone call asking if I was prepared to spend that much? I guess it make me wonder whether vets have now reached a point where they think it’s ok to charge anything they like, and without consulting the owner first.

The only solution I can think of at this stage is taking out pet insurance.


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33 Responses to A very expensive trip to the vet – overservicing?
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SupaSal SupaSal 12:51 pm 26 May 13

We have been seeing Jan Spate out at Hall for nearly 18 years, August last year we look our family ‘baby’ out there to be put to sleep, (2 days before her 17th Birthday), Jan was so very professional and is the only vet to have ever cared for our Baby, pretty sure she had a tear in her eye when she helped us end her pain. (cost $30).

In our 18 years Jan has looked after 13 of my family’s animals and many of our friends. She knows us and our animals very well and is great with keeping her costs down.

Very basic kind of woman and this shows in her service, but her love for animals is what I go to her for! Need to take our fur babes out to her this week for there 2 yearly vaccinations (and nothing more than they really need)!

andym andym 11:08 pm 25 May 13

Time to see Dr Winchester.

dungfungus dungfungus 3:47 pm 25 May 13

dvaey said :

cring said :

Go see Ivan and his team at Woden Vet Hospital on Dixon Drive in Weston Creek. Fantastic staff who will give you amazing service for you and your beloved animals and the prices have been much, much more reasonable than any other vet I’ve been. Ivan’s saved a number of my family’s cats in various incidents over the years.

#23 – Agreed, but Id have to give them a +6.. +1 for every pet we’ve taken there. We have used Woden-Weston vet hospital for many years, and have always been impressed by the care and service they offer.

We had a dog who had a tumour and was given 3 months to live. Through the treatment they offered, she lived a quality life for a further 18 months (with a couple of tablets thrown in her dinner each night). We visited the clinic every couple of weeks and if we only went for a checkup and refill of meds we werent even charged for the consultation. When the time finally came to say goodbye, they were very respectful of the situation and Ivan even offered to come to our home (at no extra expense) to ease the stress involved.

2 dogs, 1 cat and a bushfire later, they are always still our first port-of-call for any issues with our family pets. They always remember both ours and the dogs names and ask how our other dogs are doing, without even pausing for a moment to think of the other animals names.

Ivan should have been a GP. He has enormous compassion,great judgement and surgery skills. Other vets and staff there are fantastic; boarding pets with resident vets makes a lot of sense.

water_lily water_lily 12:11 pm 25 May 13

My teenage daughter and her boyfriend took his cat to the Animal Emergency Centre in Fyshwick. The cat had a sore leg. AEC charged $700 to xray the leg. There was nothing wrong with the cat. My daughter did not have the money to pay the $700 so rang me to get permission to use my credit card, which I gave. AEC told her it was perfectly okay for her to sign and use my credit card. AEC’s bank then rejected the transaction calling it ‘fraudulent’. AEC did not tell us this. Even though it had both my daughter’s and my phone numbers not once did they ring us. Instead AEC gave the matter to a debt collection agency, which on its first attempt got through to my daughter, who was extremely distraught. AEC have now charged us nearly $200 for their giving the matter to a debt collection agency. We have always had animals. We currently have a 10-year-old German Shepherd, a rescue pooch and two cats, and I have never come across such unreasonable and greedy vets. There are plenty of professional, caring vets in Canberra, but in my experience AEC is certainly not one of them. Graeme at Manuka Vet is absolutely wonderful, experienced and professional.

thebug thebug 11:17 am 29 Jun 10

Agree about Jan Spate. We had a sick chook on a Sunday before a public holiday and every vet we rang wanted to charge us a minumum of $170 just to look at the bird – money we simply don’t have. Finally got on to Jan who was willing to see the bird at 5pm on Sunday evening, turns out she had cancer and had to be put to sleep (the bird – not Jan). If it hadn’t been for Jan the bird would have suffered in agony for at least another 48 hours. She charged us a very sensible rate. Yay for Jan Spate who loves animals!

mkp223 mkp223 10:26 am 29 Jun 10

I took my puppy to Jan Spate last week and he got a full check up, microchipped, wormed and vaccinated for $80… I was expecting to pay well into the hundreds!!

dvaey dvaey 7:37 pm 17 May 10

cring said :

Go see Ivan and his team at Woden Vet Hospital on Dixon Drive in Weston Creek. Fantastic staff who will give you amazing service for you and your beloved animals and the prices have been much, much more reasonable than any other vet I’ve been. Ivan’s saved a number of my family’s cats in various incidents over the years.

#23 – Agreed, but Id have to give them a +6.. +1 for every pet we’ve taken there. We have used Woden-Weston vet hospital for many years, and have always been impressed by the care and service they offer.

We had a dog who had a tumour and was given 3 months to live. Through the treatment they offered, she lived a quality life for a further 18 months (with a couple of tablets thrown in her dinner each night). We visited the clinic every couple of weeks and if we only went for a checkup and refill of meds we werent even charged for the consultation. When the time finally came to say goodbye, they were very respectful of the situation and Ivan even offered to come to our home (at no extra expense) to ease the stress involved.

2 dogs, 1 cat and a bushfire later, they are always still our first port-of-call for any issues with our family pets. They always remember both ours and the dogs names and ask how our other dogs are doing, without even pausing for a moment to think of the other animals names.

Helen Helen 11:57 am 14 May 10

+1 for Woody Mann-Caruso and Thumper. The job of a vet is way more difficult than a mechanic and even a doctor – if you go to a doctor, you can tell them where the pain is, what sort of pain it is, lie still and submit to tests such as xrays and MRIs, and all sorts of other helpful things to help them reach a diagnosis and treat you. A pet cannot tell a vet anything like that, and a lot of supposedly simple procedures require anaesthesia.

If you live northside, I’d recommend Small Friends Vet Hospital in Amaroo. Reasonable prices and Dr Matt Almond is fantastic.
Brudine Veterinary Hospital in Melba are also good – they did a great emergency job of patching up our staffy after he decided to chase something (we think magpie or cat) through our loungeroom window – the new pane of glass cost about double the vet bill. Brudine were also the family vet when I was growing up.

We feed the hardheaded staffy one or two chicken drumsticks plus a scoop of kibble a day. He occasionally also gets a bone to keep him occupied – he loves dinosaur bones from butchers. The food keeps him healthy & happy (although he would prefer to eat what we have) and it’s obviously much better for him than tinned dog food – it’s not pretty when he comes home from boarding kennels, the sounds and smells he makes… *shudders*

CoffinRX2 CoffinRX2 9:45 am 14 May 10

I just took out pet insurance on both our dogs, … $30 a month with up to $12000 payouts per year, not that expensive at all really

astrojax astrojax 12:51 pm 13 May 10

another +1 to bones and chicken wings – my rotty gets a couple wings most nights, with kibble, and no rubbish processed dog food, and a couple bones a week on which to gnaw… healthy as. and cheaper than the alternative.

i can recommend peter davies at inner north vet clinic, if you need someone good, fair and honest.

sumarai sumarai 11:20 am 13 May 10

cring said :

Go see Ivan and his team at Woden Vet Hospital on Dixon Drive in Weston Creek. Fantastic staff who will give you amazing service for you and your beloved animals and the prices have been much, much more reasonable than any other vet I’ve been. Ivan’s saved a number of my family’s cats in various incidents over the years.

+1 very good, fair and caring.

Ian Ian 10:50 am 13 May 10

I’ve always found Inner South at Narrabundah very reasonable when they’ve looked after our dogs and birds (even more so now a family member works there).

burkes08 burkes08 9:16 am 13 May 10

+1 for what Woody Mann-Caruso said.

Katietonia Katietonia 8:45 am 13 May 10

Why did you get the cat if you are not comfortable paying for it’s care? Everyone with a pet has probably paid a huge vet bill at one point in time.

Monster of the Deep Monster of the Deep 11:44 pm 12 May 10

I’ve previously had x-rays, consultations, diagnoses, blood tests, all sorts of things done at both Yass and Murrumbateman vets, and they’ve never, ever come close to $400. Methinks you should try out a few different vets, OP.

cring cring 11:08 pm 12 May 10

Go see Ivan and his team at Woden Vet Hospital on Dixon Drive in Weston Creek. Fantastic staff who will give you amazing service for you and your beloved animals and the prices have been much, much more reasonable than any other vet I’ve been. Ivan’s saved a number of my family’s cats in various incidents over the years.

kakosi kakosi 10:52 pm 12 May 10

Vet’s bills are very expensive and over the years have escalated. Many medicines that are prescribed for pets are the same as human medicines (only they don’t get subsidised so you pay much, much more and so do the vets). Pet insurance is probably the only way to go if you want to own an animal (it’s expensive though).

I love animals but can understand how people get shocked at the cost of vet procedures. My last pet died after three years of sickness and well over $7,000 in vet bills for treatments. I paid because the animal was family and that’s what you do.

For a most surgery, overnight “hospital”, medications and follow up visits I regularly paid around the $2,000 mark each time. Last time I was at my vets, more than twelve months ago, there was an old pensioner who was picking up her very old companion dog and she looked afraid when the secretary told her the hospital visit and surgery cost more than $4,000. She looked over at me with tears in her eyes and said she didn’t have a choice because she loved her dog – it was heartbreaking. And cruel when the secretary said they’d given her a pensioner discount already. I’ll bet she went without for months after that.

Morelia Morelia 8:09 pm 12 May 10

I go to Jan Spate in Hall. She’s only open in the mornings (not sure what time and afternoons from 5-7pm, and works out of a converted garage, but she knows her stuff, and charges very, very reasonably.

I-filed I-filed 8:08 pm 12 May 10

My beloved cat died a year ago – absolutely a “part of the family, fur kid” type cat – and the out-of-hours vet wasn’t sure whether it was a snakebite or poison. I was given the option of an $880 antivenene with no guarantee of recovery. It was a big decision, and call me hard-hearted, but I decided to let the animal die. Of course I was sad for weeks, but it passed, and I have no regrets. I donated the money “saved” to Amnesty International.

rebcart rebcart 6:55 pm 12 May 10

As Woody said, keep in mind that your typical vet clinic is GP, surgery and pharmacy rolled into one. Not only do they have to buy and maintain all the different machinery and surgery/anaesthesia equipment, they also have to continually replenish medicines that go out of date to cater for a whole host of very different animal species, on the off chance that someone will come in with a pet tomorrow that needs it. Taking this into consideration, vet costs are for the most part far more reasonable than people realise (although there will always be the occasional vet who charges more than the average.)

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