How do you know if a vet procedure is really necessary?

On Monday at 8:30 a.m., I found myself at the veterinarian's office — where, unknowingly, I would spend the next three hours.

The night before, my cat Mia threw up at least five times. In the morning, I found her wedged into a corner of the bathroom. I could tell how she felt just by looking at her.

I called the vet's office near my house right when they opened, hoping to get her an appointment as soon as possible. I was relieved when they said they could see her in an hour.

The veterinarian wanted to run complete lab work on her and either do an x-ray, which is less expensive but provides less information, or an ultrasound, which was almost $300 but could tell them more.

What's Really Necessary?

I'm not an expert, but an ultrasound for a cat with Mia's spotless medical history seemed a bit excessive.

She didn't have a fever, this was the first time this had ever happened, and she's never been ill before. All the vet found during the initial exam was “a little bit of plaque” on her teeth. She recommended teeth cleaning at a later date, which would involve general anesthesia for a high-strung cat like Mia. (They recommended this procedure for my other cat, and quoted it at $300, plus.)

But even though the ultrasound seemed excessive, the vet threw out words like “pancreatitis” and “cancer.” And nothing jacks up anxiety and guilt like the possibility of cancer. It turns out, however, that some vets even profit off that fear.

From ABC News:

“As a young veterinarian working at a clinic in British Columbia, [Andrew] Jones said he got an early lesson about upselling after telling a pet owner whose dog had a lump to just monitor it. At the time, Jones said he was fairly certain the dog's lump was a benign fatty tumor, but said the clinic owner quickly clued him in on the effectiveness of using the dreaded ‘c' word: cancer.

“The practice owner… said, ‘no, that's not how you do it… what you need to do is get that dog back in… It's going to be much more profitable for the practice,'” Jones said. “He said that it might be cancer. And it's — usually the ‘c' word, pet owners get really concerned and they say, ‘do whatever you need to make sure it's not serious.'”

The article goes on to say that over-vaccinating and unnecessary dental services are two other common ways that less-ethical vets overcharge. Regarding dental work, Dr. Marty Becker, a leading expert in veterinary care, said, “If [a pet] does not have periodontal disease, there's no use putting it through the risk of anesthesia.”

See, that's kind of what I was thinking, too.

Now, I'm not saying my veterinarian was trying to overcharge me. She seems genuine enough, and maybe she's 100 percent right. Or maybe there's a gray area and she's just recommending this stuff based on the current school of thought. But what I wonder is, how do you know? And how do you decide what to do?

As a pet owner, I'll do whatever I can for her; but I don't want to subject my anxious, sick animal to anything that's unnecessary. And while I'm fortunate to be able to afford this stuff, or at least to have the choice, I'd rather not pay hundreds of dollars for unnecessary tests and procedures.

The Bill … So Far

Back in the exam room, I waited while they did the lab work. They also called the ultrasound techs to see when they could come by. (It's a procedure they outsource.)

The lab work showed no issues other than dehydration, which was to be expected. The ultrasound, it turned out, couldn't happen until tomorrow morning. So they gave Mia fluids, antibiotics, an appetite stimulant, and anti-nausea meds, then we went home and she slept all afternoon. Total cost: $464.

That evening, she started acting like her normal self. So I decided to postpone the ultrasound, mainly because I didn't want to stress her out again when she was just starting to feel better. Also, the techs were just “fitting us in,” so they wanted me to drop Mia off at 8:30 a.m. and they wouldn't do the procedure until sometime between 9 and 11 a.m. I thought it best to wait until we could get an actual appointment.

So that's where we're at today. Mia seems completely fine, and I'm still wondering whether we really need another vet appointment and another test at this point. After doing some research online, sure, there's a chance that it's pancreatitis or even cancer; but also, like humans, sometimes pets just get sick and then they recover.

So readers, I'm curious. How do you make decisions when it comes to vet bills? Do you follow the vet's recommendations, if you can afford to? Also, have you ever felt like a vet was upselling you?

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Beth
Beth
6 years ago

Sorry to hear about your cat! It’s awful when a pet is sick. I have to admit, this post has me scratching my head though. Your cat throws up and suddenly your vet’s talking cancer. It seems odd to me because most pet parents I know don’t get too excited about vomit — they call the vet, the vet suggests home care first, they go to the vet if their pet doesn’t improve over the next few hours. Usually a trip to the vet results in medications and maybe some blood work. If the medications don’t help, then it’s time… Read more »

M
M
6 years ago
Reply to  Beth

I agree. I’ve overheard the techs here in Ontario say the same thing regarding a phone call about vomiting pet.

nicoleandmaggie
nicoleandmaggie
6 years ago
Reply to  Beth

In the US here, had a similar problem a few months ago. The vet did a physical test for blockage and bloodwork to rule out something with the kidneys, but that’s all.

Turned out to be that we changed her food after our other cat died and she wasn’t reacting well to it. (That cat also threw up a lot, but she was also getting lots of monitoring for a heart condition so I don’t remember what tests we did with her– her diagnosis was eating too quickly so we got a food timer that doles out small amounts.)

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
6 years ago
Reply to  Beth

I interviewed a high-profile veterinarian for an article and he went off on a tangent about vets now coming out of school. The gist of his rant was that they have so many cool tools they want to use them ALL. “They think that every case of vomiting is hemorrhagic gastroenteritis,” he told me. Whereas if a pet comes in puking at his own practice he is more likely to do a quick overall exam, ask a few questions and send the pet home with “keep an eye on him” advice. Almost always, the pet is fine within a day… Read more »

Shari
Shari
6 years ago
Reply to  Beth

I think it depends on the vet. Some of them seem to want to run every test possible immediately, others prefer the wait and see approach. Doctors here, though……they want to run every test first. I just went through months of tests and at least $1000 in medical bills (after insurance) because of a problem with my wrist. When the local orthopedic guys were stumped, they sent me to a specialist in another town who figured out what was wrong with me just by flexing my wrist a bit. Kind of wish they had sent me there first. I realize… Read more »

tas
tas
6 years ago
Reply to  Beth

our cat did this sometime in the last year or so (throwing up every hour for hours). our vet recommended we take his food away for 24 hours and see if he felt better after that. we did, he did. no vet visit required. no medications either. unless he continues to show signs of distress/illness, i don’t know why an ultrasound wld be needed. especially since vet visits are so traumatic for cats.

and i think a new vet is warranted.

Melvis
Melvis
5 years ago
Reply to  Beth

I too am having this same issue with vets in WA state. While I have and would spend thousands of dollars that I do not have to save one of my family members, its not ethical or reasonable to use guilt to get a pet owner to do so. I just had to put down my 14 yr. older terrier who had developed a kidney problem after yrs of being stable on insulin and antibiotics. While I recognize they do not live forever, I do realize that our vet had ordered tests that were not necessary and didn’t give me… Read more »

Rosemarie K. Gauthier
Rosemarie K. Gauthier
2 years ago
Reply to  Beth

I’m in Canada too and if my vet had done an ultrasound right away, I would saved $1700. Instead, they gave my cat meds and procedures he didn’t need over 2 days then did ultrasound and found he cancer. He died 12 hours later.

Janie
Janie
1 year ago
Reply to  Beth

Vet’s are rip offs. Playing on The emotions of the owner..my vet said my black lab had a brain cancer because she had a seizure. He did no tests to confirm
This.. .he not only paralyzed her with diazepam and phenobarbital but slowly euthanized her shutting down her organs. ** nucropsy report showed no cancer or any other disease anywhere in her body **OR BRAIN! he killed my baby for a few dollars!!!

Bob
Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Beth

My wife and I are going through the same thing now. Our dog had a tumor in her mouth. We took to the vet he was a very compassionate man. he explained what she had was becoming quite common. Some are beign some are not. He suggested a biopsy and we agreed. We had the operation done with the biopsy. The biopsy was $174.00 for a total bill of $771.00. Fair price for the work done I thought. We noticed another tumor growing in her left ear so we took her back to the same vet. It seems the man… Read more »

Brian @ Debt Discipline
Brian @ Debt Discipline
6 years ago

Always a tough call. I have felt the same way. Without having the knowledge of these things it’s difficult to understand if a vet is trying to up-sell you. Always want to do what best for my pet, but difficult to make the decision. Have you consider pet insurance or and e-fund for Mia?

M
M
6 years ago

April, I wondered about my cat’s plaque, too. My vet mentioned that he doesn’t do dental work until cats are about 7 yrs old and show sign of periodontal disease. And it usually appears at inflammation around the canines. If you’re brave, you can touch Mia’s gums around the canine and if she shows repeated “chewing of air” then her gums are sore and need attention. Until then, however, it’s fine to let the nasty stuff be. BTW: a vet tried to push daily tooth-brushing on my dog years ago. I replied, “At this point in my life it’s either… Read more »

slccom
slccom
6 years ago
Reply to  M

What is wrong with daily tooth-brushing of your pet’s teeth? Get some pet toothpaste and a child’s brush at the Dollar store.

It can save that expensive dental treatment down the line.

That said, I’m not sure I’d try it on a cat…

tas
tas
6 years ago
Reply to  M

try feline greenies or other treats specifically designed to treat plaque on cat. we have two cats — one never gets his teeth cleaned, the other has a dental disease and gets a yearly teeth cleaning/pulling extravaganza. the vet recommends teeth cleaning treats for both of them.

M
M
6 years ago

My apologies for several posts today. I blame it on caffeine.
Thinking more on this, consider that vomiting is the body’s way of ridding itself of some noxious substance. (Think: kegger at a frat house). April, since you didn’t mention any blood in the vomit, and there wasn’t any dehydration perhaps Mia was just treating her own illness. And from what you said it sounds like she got the job done!

Kristin
Kristin
6 years ago
Reply to  M

That’s funny, we have two cats and I often say our house is like living in a frat house: we never know where or when we’ll find vomit! Regarding pushing unnecessary vet expenses, our vet’s office opened a new surgery center a couple of years ago. At the next visit, our older cat all of a sudden had a heart murmur that needed a sonogram and to have his teeth cleaned, after the vet mentioning that his teeth looked good for his age. He had neither procedure, and is now taking his morning nap on the bed right behind me.… Read more »

Mrs. PoP
Mrs. PoP
6 years ago

I tend to rely on Kitty PoP to communicate when he’s unhappy, and he’s pretty good at that. But then again, the vet practice we go to doesn’t seem to rely on fear tactics and they do vaccines according to the state licensing schedule and not necessarily yearly for every vaccine like I’ve heard some practices push. Because of that, so far I trust their recommendations – which with most things have been watch and wait and he’ll likely heal himself.

CatFosterMom
CatFosterMom
6 years ago

Aha! This is very similar to an experience I had. My foster cat, the second time I fostered him, wasn’t quite the same and not acting like himself. Based on his eating habits, I knew something was amiss so I took him in. His owner, in a foreign country at the time, could not be reached so it was up to me to decide the course of treatment. I opted for the inexpensive blood test, at $160, rather than the ultra-comprehensive $350 tests the vet recommended. Turns out that when I spoke with his owner, that this vet always suggests… Read more »

Rachael
Rachael
6 years ago

My 13 year old cat has a lump on her paw that is getting bigger. I took her to the vet and found out it was cancer and the recommendation was to amputate her entire leg. I have decided to not follow my vets recommendation as the tumor is causing her no pain and I think the quality of life issue after amputation is worse than letting her live however much longer she has. I can afford the surgery but sometimes it is about more than just cost. It was also recommended to send her to a cancer specialist for… Read more »

Anne
Anne
6 years ago
Reply to  Rachael

This happened to me. I had a cat that “probably” had cancer. The vet kept suggesting more tests, oddly enough, always around $300. Maybe that is a figure that some psychologist decided pet owners can swallow.

Anyway, it was always more tests then the possibility of chemo. When she said that we had the cat euthanized. I never went to that vet again.

Mrs Random
Mrs Random
6 years ago
Reply to  Rachael

I think you have to be really careful with chemo and other major operations on pets, and consider who it is really for, your pet or you. I had chemo a few years ago, and it’s not fun, but at least I understood why I was doing it. An animal won’t have that understanding. So I think it’s really important to make sure it’s going to be worth it for the pet itself before you put it through the stress and pain, not even thinking about expense – many more years, much more mobility, etc.

Kitty Caretaker
Kitty Caretaker
1 year ago
Reply to  Rachael

my cat had a tumor low on her leg. I had her leg amputated and after she was fine. Got around great. Better than watching her die from cancer. The tumor was not the kind that metastasized.

Short arms long pockets
Short arms long pockets
6 years ago

Sorry about your cat being sick, but glad it prompted this post as I’m going through something similar. We recently moved and I took my cat to a new vet for her annual vaccinations and have been subjected to “up-sell” ever since. She is 10 years old and has been a solo, indoor cat all her life. I know she may have heart murmur, but I also know that even if I pay for an MRI ($400) to confirm it there is nothing short of heart surgery ($thousands) that can be done about it. I was told that she had… Read more »

Jane
Jane
6 years ago

Your story really makes me mad and question whether this vet has any ethics at all. Do vets have some sort of “do no harm” policy, because if they do, it sounds like this one is violating it in the pursuit of a more lucrative practice. So much of what you describe sounds painful and unnecessary for your cat. An extraction because of plaque? A yearly shot instead of every three years? I do think you are right to question all of this and stand up for the comfort and well being of your pet. How backwards that you as… Read more »

Samantha
Samantha
1 year ago

To help with dental plaque for animals you can give them a type of seaweed/kelp called ascophyllum nodosum. There is a brand product called Plaque Off. The dose for a cat or small dog is 1/16 teaspoon daily. This seaweed somehow changes their saliva so it helps clear old plaque and prevents or slows new development. It also helps with bad breath. You can purchase this for about $13/pound which would last a cat for many years.

Liz
Liz
6 years ago

I have a similar story. My 4 year old healthy dog developed a bump on his paw that he was chewing at. Took him to the vet, and she threw out the “C” word. Keep in mind, this is a young dog with no medical problems. The vet recommended a biopsy, which I had done. After that, the dog was in pain, on medication and had his foot bandaged well over a week. This all happened over Christmas and I was extremely sad the whole time thinking my dog had cancer. Anyway, about a week later I got a call… Read more »

Prudence Debtfree
Prudence Debtfree
6 years ago

We spent over $4,000 on vet bills for our dog over the last calendar year. Ugh! He had bladder stones and needed surgery, so we weren’t being taken for a ride. We’re trying to get out of debt though, and this was a major setback. I love our dog dearly, and I wouldn’t have chosen anything else (our children would have disowned us if we had), but for me, the moral of our story has been: Don’t buy a pet if you’re trying to get out of debt. There are unpredictable expenses, and while you might think you know what… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
6 years ago

Our dog had bladder stones, too, last November, it was about $2600. And of course we noticed it the week after her $600 dental. I don’t think the dentals are necessary, but she’s my husband’s dog so he gets to make the call.

Erin
Erin
6 years ago

We went to a vet (at a big box pet store) with our first dog. They had a prepay plan that seemed like a good deal. Then I realized we weren’t using much of what the plan covered (our dog was still young) and we still had to pay for teeth cleanings (I’ll get to that in a minute).Plus they upsold everything from procedures to food. I started calling/emailing other vet offices to find out what their rates were for exams, vaccines, office visits, and teeth cleanings. Then we visited the one we thought would be best and we loved… Read more »

SWJenn
SWJenn
6 years ago

My advice is if you feel your vet is trying to upsell you (ultrasound for vomiting?) find a new vet. Took us a few tries but we now have a vet who works with us on the level of care we want. We had one cat who had gotten locked in a neighbor’s garage for a week, came home skinny but wouldn’t eat, took her to the vet. Diagnosis after blood work – she’d drunk antifreeze. Could have tried several expensive interventions, most likely not saving her life, opted to put her out of her misery. But it was our… Read more »

Becky @ RunFunDone
Becky @ RunFunDone
6 years ago

Ada the Dog and I have moved around quite a bit in her 4 years of life, and as a result, we have experience with a wide variety of vets. I’d say that the majority seemed to try to upsell me on everything. It’s horrible when that happens! However, when we moved to Tacoma, our current city, I asked around at work for recommendations. I explained to co-workers that I wanted a good vet who wouldn’t make unreasonable recommendations. Based on a recommendation from a friend, we now have a great vet who doesn’t try to take advantage of us.… Read more »

Maggie
Maggie
6 years ago

I think part of the issue is that veterinary medicine has advanced so much in recent years. I’ve had cats for decades and I always try to see the oldest vet in the practice. He (the oldest vet is almost always a man) tends to be least alarmist and least likely to push testing unless it’s absolutely necessary. And then he’s willing to quit when I say I’m done. One of our cats whom I totally adored, had a likely neuromuscular disorder. I turned down a neurology appointment and we never did an MRI. But I gave him meds and… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
6 years ago

Every time something major has been wrong with one of my cats, the vet has told me it’s nothing. So I’ve had the opposite experience, I guess — the crazy person who is telling the doctor SOMETHING’S wrong, I don’t CARE what the tests say. When Max died last summer, I realized I shouldn’t have believed my vet and probably taken him in for more tests. Then again, at that point he was 14 and whatever was wrong with him (we didn’t get an autopsy so I don’t know) probably would’ve lowered his quality of life (which is more important… Read more »

Ely
Ely
6 years ago

I think you really have to find a vet you trust. Ours offers a lot of things, but they don’t push at all. It’s very clear how much they love the animals they work with. They answer many questions on the phone and have never guilted us over any kind of treatment. Recently we took our dog in when he started limping really badly. The vet suspected a torn ligament and recommended a surgeon. The surgeon took x-rays and diagnosed bone cancer. He recommended amputation and chemo. Obviously this was a hard choice for us. The dog is about 10… Read more »

slccom
slccom
6 years ago
Reply to  Ely

My vet said that dogs have all the legs they need plus a spare.

You have a lucky dog!

Jules
Jules
6 years ago

Vets make me so mad sometimes. I go through the same thing with my cat. If I were you, I would take the “wait and see” approach. Animals are like humans and sometimes we all just get sick and don’t need medicine — just some recovery time. I have actually emailed my vet about their costs and they gave me a discount after I complained. I told her that although I love my cat, I would not go to great lengths monetarily to “fix” her and I feel they prey on peoples emotions and think we will pay whatever to… Read more »

Megan
Megan
6 years ago

Everyone wants the veterinarian to fix their pet for free, without touching it or spending any money on tests. Sometimes, benign neglect works great. Other times, not so much. If you took your vomiting cat to the vet, and vet said “Probably nothing” and cat subsequently died of pancreatitis, you would probably be mad at the vet. But if the vet recommends tests, that’s wrong too! I saw lots of comments from people saying they didn’t think any testing was necessary because it was a “healthy pet,” “didn’t have a fever,” “had never been sick before.” The point of going… Read more »

Alli
Alli
6 years ago
Reply to  Megan

I think this is too harsh a comment. I don’t know any pet owner that is only looking at the bottom line when they are making decisions about there loved ones health. The truth is always more nuanced. I love my dogs. I have been diligently paying and administering insulin for for one of them for over a year. We have even encountered $3000.00 emergency vet bills for a case of ketoacidosis when she was first diagnosed. I still find that I need to look at the line by line estimate the vets gives us. There is always something on… Read more »

Lisa
Lisa
6 years ago
Reply to  Alli

I agree, Alli. I am not “looking for the cheap way out” in reference to my dog’s health care. I love my dog, but am not will to spend over $1000 for any given problem, ever. He is a pet and he will eventually die. That is life. My job is to avoid negligence and to keep him from suffering. I may grumble over the cost of his heart worm medication every month, but I buy it because mosquitoes are a year round problem. I wouldn’t pay for an ultrasound, etc. Many of you are extremely generous in my view.… Read more »

Beth
Beth
6 years ago
Reply to  Lisa

My parents weren’t taking the cheap way out either — they budgeted for our dogs, especially as they aged. That being said, they knew how far they were willing to go financially and they kept the lines of communication open with their vet.

Beth
Beth
6 years ago
Reply to  Megan

I don’t think it’s all or nothing as you’re implying.

As with humans, there’s a time to “wait and see” and treat at home (on the advice of a professional) and a time to escalate to more treatment and tests. Just because you don’t immediately opt for the expensive tests doesn’t make you neglectful.

Funny about Money
Funny about Money
4 years ago
Reply to  Megan

No. Everyone wants their pet to be accurately diagnosed if there’s a problem, not diagnosed if there’s no problem, and never, ever overtreated.

I don’t think that’s either miserly or unreasonable.

Sally
Sally
6 years ago

I recall my first few years with my pet. I was an anxious client, worried about everything. How I approach things now: When chatting with my vet, I try to ask intelligent questions. I ask what the treatment is for and ask what alternate treatments there are. I ask what the outcomes are with doing nothing, doing x, doing y. If my pet and I can handle the doing nothing part, there is the answer. If we cannot, we choose the next level that we both can handle. The answer to what you both can handle is in you. That’s… Read more »

Foose
Foose
6 years ago

This really strikes a chord. I adopted two cats last year and the male had a slightly closed eye. I took him to the SPCA clinic in town (because everyone trusts the SPCA!) and embarked on the most expensive autumn of my life. First of all, I never got the same vet twice – I kept getting these baby-faced 25-year-olds who would come up with their own unique diagnoses, send me out with a laundry list of medications (which all had to be filled at their pharmacy, where I discovered they were routinely jacking up the cost of items like… Read more »

erica
erica
6 years ago

My 18-year-old cat had clearly developed an sinus infection so I took him in to the vet. The vet I used to see had left and I was seen by someone new. She begrudgingly gave me the antibiotic my cat needed and REALLY wanted me to schedule an echocardiogram for the heart murmur she heard. After finishing the course of antibiotics, my cat’s nasal issues were all cleared up but he was clearly unwell so I took him to a different vet. This vet didn’t hear a hearth murmur but ran a blood test, a fairly standard procedure and it… Read more »

Sandra
Sandra
6 years ago

Well I am a vet and I understand your plight. I dont practice but am a pathologist/researcher and one reason I dont practice is because i would not approach medicine to enhance practice revenue. When you have an acutely ill pet I suggest asking the vet the following: Is my pet in acute danger of deteriorating or dying? If yes, then what is the prognosis? What are the possible causes and which of those things are potentially treatable with a good quality of life and more than 1 year survival? If money is an issue focus on the latter and… Read more »

MamaMia
MamaMia
6 years ago
Reply to  Sandra

At the risk of maligning your profession (please don’t think I’m trying to!), I’m wondering if the high cost of veterinary school is one reason for escalating vet care costs. I read somewhere that tuition at many vet schools is now as high as, or even higher than, medical school (for humans, that is). Are some vets, perhaps subconsciously, pushing clients to spend more in order to pay off their debts? Would love to hear your insights as a vet not in private practice. Thanks!

Maureen
Maureen
6 years ago

I would go get a second opinion. My dog was limping pretty bad 1 day. Previous vet visits with similar symptoms determined he had lyme disease. So this time around we tried the same medical regimine of antibiotics. After they did not do the trick we went back to a different vet at the same practice. The first thing out of the vet’s mouth after we were talking was “well the dog probably tore his ACL and that usually costs around $3500.” Didn’t even exam the dog and just listen to what we had to say. So we went to… Read more »

LeRainDrop
LeRainDrop
6 years ago

April, I hope Mia feels better soon! I have two 5-year-old cats, and we’ve certainly gone through our fair share of cat vomit! Actually, more often than not, it has been regurgitation rather than vomiting — you can read about the difference here: http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/cliented/vomiting.aspx. Anyhow, each time I’ve brought one of my cats in for a health/behavior concern, I’ve been very happy with how my vet has handled the care. He is very kind, thorough, and gentle with my pets. He truly takes the time listen to my concerns and answer my questions thoughtfully. I like that he presents all… Read more »

Do it!
Do it!
6 years ago

Go and do the test, because you will regret it for your whole life. Cancer in cats is verry different than the one for humans. My cats were living years with cancer without noticing it, even after having large tumors in the chest of the one, she was behaving completely fine until her last 2-3 months and even tehn there were days she was looking completely fine. So go to the test and pay the money before it is too late! Trust me on this! I’ve been their and I’ve cried tons of sleepless nights. Please believe me, cancer in… Read more »

Erica W.
Erica W.
6 years ago

I have two cats and two dogs. I’ve been going to the same vet for about 15 years. They’re very conservative on treatment and try to postpone costly and invasive treatment as much as possible. I’m usually the one wishing they would run more tests b/c I want to know what’s wrong.

Marcia
Marcia
6 years ago

I love my vet! She is wonderful, compassionate and caring for animals and humans! She is very sensible and knows to watch our pocketbooks! She
even sent me a floral arrangement & sympathy card after our dog passed away. (Making big bucks was not an issue here, as he had $200 worth of vet care–no expensive tests, etc.) She is located in a rural town of 2,500 in Missouri. She is wonderful!

The Wallet Doctor
The Wallet Doctor
6 years ago

Vet bills can add up so quickly. I try to do research online before coming in, assuming its not an emergency, to get a sense of whats reasonable. I don’t just sign up for everything the doctor recommend. I try to really understand and ask a lot of questions about what is clearly necessary and what isn’t.

Jcm
Jcm
6 years ago

My cat Tommy, who is about 13 now, got sick about 5 years ago, he was vomiting & couldn’t keep food or water down, it was Memorial Day & my regular vet was closed so I took him to a vet which is located inside a large chain pet store, they wanted to run all kinds of test & the estimate they gave me was about $800.00, they said he was dehydrated from vommting so I opted for a hydrating treatment at about $225.00, I went to see my vet the following day & he did a process of elimination… Read more »

IFSC Code
IFSC Code
6 years ago

veterinarians are very important for our pets, but their charges are too high and as far as overcharging for their services.

sher
sher
6 years ago

I used to go to a vet to specialized in cats. Everytime I took both cats in it was a minimum of $350 each. The last straw was a respiratory infection and they wanted to do a deworming treatment which had nothing to do with the infection. I dropped them and found another vet. I cringe when I think of how much I overspent with them.

Seester Sara
Seester Sara
6 years ago

I’m not real sure how this fits into a ‘Get Rich Slowly’ theme. Don’t get me wrong, I am a total cat person and spent over $1000 having tests run on my old cat Monster, before having to put him to sleep. But I fail to see that this relates more to personal finance than it would to a pet lover’s blog. How about changing the focus to the value of $$ you invest into something or someone you love that has no ‘financial benefit’ but has an ’emotional benefit’. Once again, I feel for you but the gist of… Read more »

Valerie
Valerie
6 years ago
Reply to  Seester Sara

Pet bills are often unexpected and emotional decisions – a financial double whammy. A trusted professional tells you that your beloved pet needs all kinds of expensive treatment or they’re going to die, and suddenly your Get Rich Slowly has gone out the window.

If you can run through scenarios in your head beforehand and learn from other people’s experiences, expensive vet bills may not be such a setback on your journey to financial independence. It fits perfectly into GRS.

SLCCOM
SLCCOM
6 years ago

The moral of the story is to not let your love for your pet blind you to when you are being ripped off by unscrupulous vets.

That is where it fits into the Get Rich Slowly meme.

I’m sorry for you sadness over Monster. He was dearly loved by you, and loved you right back.

Sara
Sara
6 years ago

I make sure to look up the possible illnesses, signs and symptoms of those illnesses, and treatment possibilities before my appointment. I keep track of if they are drinking or eating, and general demeanor. For some reason it makes me seem like I am more prepared and knowledgable. I had one vet only that tried to give the same vaccine twice to my sick cat, claiming that the previous vet office didn’t code it properly. They had everything drawn up and weren’t even going to ask me. So right when I saw them with the needle in hand, I told… Read more »

S
S
6 years ago

I am a veterinary student right now. A few comments: on one year verses three year vaccines: sometimes it is your city that requires the vaccine schedule not the veterinarian. My city requires rabies every year even when the vaccine will last three years. Check your area. Dentistry for pets is considered the cutting edge of veterinary medicine. That means some vets will give great advice and some are still learning. Are your pets gums red, the red that looks like inflammation, by the plaque? If so do do something, that hurts and is bad. If not you can wait.… Read more »

Marianne
Marianne
6 years ago

I can also offer some perspective as a practicing small animal veterinarian of 8 years. The money aspect of veterinary medicine is one that most vets would absolutely LOVE to not have to deal with. This is the issue that burns us out and stresses our clients out the most. The unfortunate truth is that good quality pet care is expensive. There are certain things that you can definitely “hold off on ” and others that you simply cannot. Most veterinarians are opting for 3 year vaccine protocols (after the puppy or kitten series), which is better for your pet… Read more »

Ali
Ali
4 years ago
Reply to  Marianne

Except my vet sold me a probiotic for my cat at $60 for a 30 day supply. I found the exact same thing on Amazon at $33 for an 80 day supply. It wasn’t a special vet-only item or prescription. I took my cat in because she was diabetic and not eating well for a couple of days. Turns out she just a bit of an upset stomach according to the vet. She found no additional issues. $280 bill for an upset stomach. I waited a couple days before using the probiotic and she was eating fine again. If that… Read more »

Rob Richards
Rob Richards
6 years ago

I’m sorry about your cat,as for my me, I won’t really bother about the treatments done by the vet but it would be better if we have a close family doctor for our pets. As long as our loved pets are treated.The bill is not an issue at the first place, it’s our pet’s cure which is important.As for the vet doing the procedures, I guess I can call that Showmanship. 😀

Paul Bint
Paul Bint
4 years ago
Reply to  Rob Richards

Is this guy a shill for the Vets or just an idiot? Is he trying to impress us with his wealth and “concern” for his animals? Most people would love to have every conceivable option investigated and everything done, despite the cost. Unfortunately, most of us have financial constraints which have to guide what we can afford. Why don’t the vets use an “ability to pay” standard?

Karen
Karen
6 years ago

Years ago, I took our cat to the veterinarian when he suddenly stopped eating. The veterinarian examined him and said he had an abscessed tooth that needed to be pulled and that he would have to be sedated for the procedure. I gave my consent, and then as the veterinarian was literally walking out the door, he turned around and said offhandedly, “While he’s sedated, I’ll clean his teeth.” I thought I was already in for a big expense and the cleaning would be only a small amount more, so imagine my surprise when the cost of cleaning was way… Read more »

Marie
Marie
6 years ago
Reply to  Karen

I had the exact opposite happen. I took my cat in for cleaning, and they pulled two teeth during the procedure. They claimed they were badly decayed and not salvageable, but I was infuriated that they hadn’t even mentioned the possibility. How can you remove body parts without owner consent? I never went back to that vet.

Michael
Michael
5 years ago

I took my poodle to the vet because she seemed to be in a lot of pain. Feeling around it seemed the pain was in her back. The vet examined her and while she was a bit sensitive on her back the vet zeroed in on her knee problems which I knew about for some time. She told me she had chronic patella luxation and that she needed surgery at a cost of almost $4000. I was very polite and asked for pain killers (which is what I really needed) and told her I would get back to her regarding… Read more »

NEFT IFSC CODE
NEFT IFSC CODE
5 years ago

Vet bills can add up so quickly. I try to do research online before coming in, assuming its not an emergency, to get a sense of whats reasonable. I don’t just sign up for everything the doctor recommend. I try to really understand and ask a lot of questions about what is clearly necessary and what isn’t.

Agusta Bank
Agusta Bank
5 years ago

I used to go to a vet to specialized in cats. Everytime I took both cats in it was a minimum of $350 each. The last straw was a respiratory infection and they wanted to do a deworming treatment which had nothing to do with the infection. I dropped them and found another vet. I cringe when I think of how much I overspent with them.

John
John
5 years ago

I have come to the opinion that vets need to be viewed in the same way as auto mechanics. Are they out to dig as deep as they can into your pocket? Likely. On one occasion I took my dog to a vet and was told that he needed reconstructive surgery on his nose — turns out he had conjunctivitis. On a second occasion, I was told that he needed to have a full allergy screen run — turned out he had been bitten by fleas. The latest incident had the vet lay the meds on the table and ask… Read more »

Dawn Stone
Dawn Stone
5 years ago

My vet’s practice was purchased by a large chain and since he retired, the upselling and money grab at my vet’s office has gotten out of control. I have two elderly indoor cats – I don’t want them vacinnated any longer and my vet, before he retired, was perfectly fine with that. Now the vets running the clinic insist on vaccinations or they will be “reported to the state” . also, if I did not comply, they would not treat my cats any longer. I have been going to that veterinary practice for over 30 years. I was infuriated. My… Read more »

Lindal
Lindal
4 years ago

In July of 2015 I took my 2 retriever mixes to a local vet for rattlesnake vaccine as it was recommended to us in conversation on a cat grooming visit a month earlier (grooming cost $103). Who knew that prior to being given rattlesnake vaccine the dog must be given a wellness checkup at the cost of $100. All other vaccines were up to date so the total per dog: $175.00. In Dec 2015 I took my newly adopted Redbone coon hound mix to the vet as she had a quarter sized wound on her shoulder, When I adopted her… Read more »

Diana
Diana
4 years ago
Reply to  Lindal

Catharsis Its good for cats and people who have UTI , Healed my cats of UTI for 10$ – found it at health food store ,and seen it at pharmacy little white pill balls dipped in the tincture Took a week- 2 weeks Should give cat 1 cantharis every 3-4 hours to start for first few days , then reduce to to few a day then to couple a day when you notice the cat is feeling better just gradually give him less within a week or 2 the cat should be fine , Do a Google search about it

Julia
Julia
4 years ago

This is a topic I’m currently burning up about. I believe some vets have another form of ‘Pet Munchausen Syndrome’ and due to the fact the veterinary industry makes billions of pounds/ dollars every year, they’re adding as much treatment as possible to sometimes very simple problems. I recently brought my dog latte in to Pets at home for a small cut on her cheek. Now growing up with a grandmother in Alabama and California, a small cut was left to heal itself. Dogs are resilient and will heal on their own. But I became worried about infection. Upon arriving,… Read more »

mike smith
mike smith
4 years ago

I just went to a new vet who wouldn’t test my 12 year old labs thyroid without a full check up and blood panel. This was just weeks after she had already given her a full check up and had taken the first blood test for thyroid. She was just barely not in the correct range. So I’m taking her to another vet that will do the test. My first visit there he office partner wanted to pull her teeth when she obviously had no dental problems. She kept saying “I can get you a price on that really fast.”… Read more »

RC
RC
2 years ago

I do feel that vets have to pay for offices, and techs, and schooling, and all of that, but it has become a money making enterprise above a care based service. Most people will feel like they need to have expensive treatments and tests done for their companion, and the vet sees this as a way to take advantage of the owner, whether the pet needs it or not, really. Saying that, there are different levels of care which cost different amounts and it should be up to the customer…but only if they have a full knowledge of what is… Read more »

VeggieNut
VeggieNut
2 years ago

You don’t need a vet for everything, not even the more serious problems. I’ve treated oral squamous cell carcinoma in a 15 yr old cat and doggy Alzheimer’s myself! I’ve been impressed with the results I’ve seen using holistic/alternative medicine. The vet gave my 15 yr old cat less than a 10 percent chance of making it for one year after her cancer was found no matter what treatment was used. Since the vet only offered what amounted to expensive band-aid therapy, I took charge and she lived to be 17 yrs old. I currently have a 14 yr old… Read more »

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