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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Anyone good with a knife?

Because I could use a little surgical help right now.

Last week I take my little dog and ancient cat to the vet for their shots. Way overdue, naturally. I made the appointment with who I thought was the "cool" vet. Yeah. The cat has been sneezing for a couple weeks, and the nurse said something about it even before I brought it up. She says "We'll do a blood test to see what's going on..." which I immediately declined. Why not get him on some antibiotics first, and if he doesn't get better THEN we'll do the $60 blood test. Well, the vet herself was not having ANY of that. She insists on a blood AND urine test, and no inoculations for him, either. By the time we got out of there, I had a bill for $230 waiting for me at the checkout. Even though I've never actually been punched in the stomach, I imagine this might be very much what it feels like.

Then later that week I bring the Great Dane in. I had to wait until my husband's large vehicle was available to haul the big 'un. Before they sell you heartworm medication they want to do a BLOOD TEST to make sure they don't already HAVE heartworms. Um, no. "Well", says the vet "it's our policy that they get a blood test every other year before we'll dispense more medication, so you'll have to get one NEXT year then for sure". Check. Buy heartworm meds elsewhere next year. What in THE HELL!?!

Oh, it gets better. So I ask her (in passing) if the cyst on the dog's back leg needs to be checked again. It still erodes occasionally. It was benign last time she checked it. WELLLLL, let me tell you that it NOW looks to contain "mast" cells (apparently mast=bad) and it should be taken off AS SOOOOON AS POSSIBLE. And since he REALLY needs a teeth cleaning, she drew up two separate estimates, with and without the cleaning. Gee, thanks. I actually GET to chose? Well, the upshot is that the damn surgery tooth cleaning will be just under $500. Oh, and that'll be another $240 for today's visit. H-O-L-Y S-H-I-T. So now we're talking about a grand.

Did I happen to mention that this vet office just moved into a really nice, new, huge building? Did I mention that? I really resent it when they look at you like you beat your pets when you question unnecessary expenses. I must be the worst pet owner EVER since I don't want to take out a second mortgage on my house to get monthly colonics for the beautiful, precious sweeties! Man, do I SUCK! At one point I actually find myself explaining my financial situation to the vet, as though I'm trying to defend myself. It's one of those moments that you hear the words coming out of your mouth, while simultaneously thinking "shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!"

Because I'm a gambler, I just made an appointment with a brand new vet I've never been to before (but is attached to my groomer) for a $30 office visit. I may be risking $30, but I feel like I need a second opinion, or at least another estimate for the procedure. I really can't help but feel like I'm being fleeced by my current vet. If this guy can give me a square deal, I have no problems dumping my current vet like an annoying, needy boyfriend. I've broken up with vets before and damnit, I can do it again!

Comments:
Oooo, you hit a nerve that got rubbed raw a few months ago after an argument with some friends about this very topic............

Not to sound mean, myself, but a pet is a PET. I firmly believe that as pet owner, it is up to YOU to decide what you are willing to spend on a PET as part of your budget. It's crazy what can be spent on pets these days and I think it is incredibly unfair how judgemental people can get these days if you act like money matters when it comes to your pet. I have a friend who thinks you should pretty much spend whatever it takes to keep the pet going. I absolutely disagree with that! Ultimately, you have an entire FAMILY to think about and pets are not children.

As much as we love our pets, my husband and I have already discussed how much is "too much". Would we change our minds if confronted with a huge bill? Maybe, but I am glad we still talked about it and agreed that it would need to be considered on a case by case basis.

Don't be hard on yourself and it never hurts to get a 2nd opinion. Good luck with the new vet!
 
I am all about the 2nd opinion. Sorry, but a PET is a PET! Certainly we don't want to leave them in pain and hurting but.... I wouldn't wanna go it debt over it either. I did an internship at a vets office. It does sound like her prices are a bit on the high side, but, It was 10 years ago now that I worked in that vets office and I was just there on a surgical study so I didn't deal with the financial side at all. (Sorry you wouldn't wanna risk me workin on the dog!) Take the second opinion and see how it goes.
 
When our male dog needed to be neutered, we didn't have a vet as we took them to a local Petco for the vaccinnes as needed (no office visit fee and a good lady who tells you if you need to see one.) Instead, I called around, found the cheapest place and went there. It was $80, I believe. The high end was $165 + blood work. It is definitely worth shopping around.
 
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