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A very expensive trip to the vet – overservicing?

By 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.

What’s Your opinion?


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33 Responses to
A very expensive trip to the vet – overservicing?
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 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the different machinery and surgery/anaesthesia equipment, they also have to continually replenish medicines that go out of date to cater for a whole host of very different animal species, on the off chance that someone will come in with a pet tomorrow that needs it.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.)

Thumper 6:30 pm 12 May 10

if you’re not prepared to pay for the health and well being of your pet, don’t get one. animals are not perishable items that you buy in a woolworths fridge.

Kuku 5:48 pm 12 May 10

We had one of our dogs get sick on Xmas Day a few years ago. The emergency vet in Braddon looked at her, decided it was going to cost $1000 (yup not a typo) before they’d even consider treating her. I wonder what they would have done if we said we were unable to pay?

Anyway, we live near a Vet who is very ethical, friendly and cost appropriate. Try Chris and his staff at Wanniassa Hills Vet. No over servicing and a fully itemised invoice.

And +1 for give your dog a bone or chicken wings to eat. No sloppy poo (eeewh) and great teeth!

georgesgenitals 2:51 pm 12 May 10

All this talk of servicing cats is making me kinda twitchy.

Woody Mann-Caruso 1:55 pm 12 May 10

So you don’t know anything about veterinary medicine and couldn’t tell what was wrong with your cat, but you’re pretty sure you were overserviced. And you don’t know how much it costs to operate a clinic – to buy and maintain an x-ray machine, pay for a handy building to keep it in, pay for somebody to use it and analyse the film – but you’re pretty sure the charge was ‘over the top’.

Not prepared to or can’t pay for your pet’s care? Didn’t think to take out insurance when you bought an animal, or can’t afford to? Financial means such that compassion has to take a back seat to your wallet? Not prepared to trust the experts? Don’t have a pet.

madamcholet 1:24 pm 12 May 10

Tried the bones dvaey…loves them, but has an unfortunate effect on his tum. He is 11 though so it’s par for the course – only a recent phenomenon. Up until now he has cost next to nix.

If the OP is interested, our vet is All Creatures in Calwell – they may be pricey, but they don’t do anything without your approval.

RSPCA suggestion is good – I would think that you would get a cheaper rate there.

CoffinRX2 1:15 pm 12 May 10

I think that seems pretty fair,

As per my thread on here last night, I had to take one of our dogs last night to the Animal Emergency centre in Fyshwick for a consult and xrays, some drugs and bandaging that ended up at about $580. Then to Canberra Vet Hosp this morning to consult about surgery for his dislocated leg, more pain killers and a splint was $440ish … next week surgery which will be $2000+

I’m going to be looking at Pet insurance today for the future

LaLa 12:23 pm 12 May 10

RSPCA vets are actually very good, probably a little more realistic and possibly a little cheaper.

sepi 10:14 am 12 May 10

There’s vets and there’s vets. Sounds like you went to one of the ‘premier’ vet hospitals. They will offer (and do) every test under the sun, and charge accordingly. Perhaps worth it for a much loved family pet of many years, with a complex and hard to diagnose serious problem. but it will swend you borke if you use one of these vets for every vaccination/check up etc.

For a quick check up or easier problem, you want a more basic vet. The Vet on limestone Ave is good and cheap, but you have to go and wait – it is no frills, with no appointments given. The Vet just off limestone (ipima st?) is somewhere in between – you get appointments, he is thorough, and not that cheap, but doesn’t start recommending too many extra tests/ultrasounds/biopsies etc etc etc.

Some of the bigger vets force the staff to ‘upsell’ extra services or products, much like hairdressers do.

dvaey 10:03 am 12 May 10

madamcholet said :

The quote for getting his teeth cleaned was way more – again, needs an anaesthetic.

Next time, give the dog a bone. Costs less, and its better for their teeth than a vet cleaning them.

madamcholet 9:52 am 12 May 10

I currently have a quote for an scan or something to that effect for my dogs newly discovered heart murmur. With some anaethesia & medication it totals about $350-400. The quote for getting his teeth cleaned was way more – again, needs an anaesthetic.

Luckily, we have pet insurance, so we will be getting it done. If you do go down the path of insurance, check that you will be covered for certain eventualities, otherwise you still may find yourself out of pocket more than you bargained for. Ours covers up to $7000 a year and costs us about $400 a year to maintain.

DeadlySchnauzer 9:50 am 12 May 10

Vets definitely assume that owners are prepared to pay anything (in most cases they are). We have had similar experiences where they just go ahead and do a bunch of stuff without any discussion of price, and then turn around and say “that’ll be X hundred dollars”.

I guess you need to say to them at the start that you want to be consulted on what actions they do. Or get pet health insurance.

Inappropriate 9:44 am 12 May 10

Those prices are fairly typical in my opinion. X-raying an animal is not an easy task, and usually requires anaethesia, hence the high price.

amarooresident3 9:42 am 12 May 10

Sound fairly standard to me for what you got. Ask for an itemised invoice if you are concerned.

Remember an x-ray for an animal is not just the x-ray. It will include sedation, nursing care and monitoring of your pet as they recover from the anesthetic.

Pet insurance is a good idea.

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