When did vets become such slimes?

bbairdOctober 18, 2009

Vets, at least in NYC, care about one thing, and one thing only -- money.

They're such blood-suckers. I don't want to go into details now, but, it's appalling how they just milk your pet's illness for more and more money.

I know my friend in Oregon is going through the same thing.

Is there any integrity left?

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Some are like that. I switched vets. Ask around other pet owners for a "conservative" vet. I had a bad experience with one that lasted a whole summer. He had failing kidneys,lost half his already low weight, the vet knew we weren't rich..but I did have a credit card. I brought cat in to have put to sleep, of course I was upset...they kind of talked me out of having him put to sleep, soaked me for at least $1,500 or more. In the end he just suffered more and couldn't even stand towards the end. Sent my husband to vet with poor kitty to be put to sleep.....
Never went back, told neighbors, found a vet who didn't try to talk me out of it no matter how upset I was, once I made decision, on a different kitty.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 11:39AM
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I have a feeling you are basing this opinion on experience with just a few vets. I assure you, my vets have plenty of integrity, never push for unreasonable procedures/medications to pad the bill, and they're all very nice, to boot. I use multiple vet practices, and I don't have any problem with them making a living.

Get pet insurance if you don't want to pay cash for expensive procedures. If you don't want to pay for them, then you'll just have to accept that your pet might suffer and/or die from a curable/treatable illness/injury before its time. For every 20 year old cat that's never seen a vet, there are quite a few other cats that died before they ever saw 10, because their owners couldn't/wouldn't spend money on vet care. The same goes for dogs.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 2:28PM
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I have no problem paying for good care. To date, I've spent over $20,000 on care for my 10 year old cat. I'll work as many jobs as I have to to make sure she's well taken care of. So, get off your high horse, please.

I'm talking about integrity.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2009 at 1:57AM
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I'm not on a high horse. If you've spent over $20,000 on vet care, I'd imagine you must have found a few decent vets, which makes your rant even more strange. Why are you and your friend both patronizing vets without integrity who would milk your animals' illnesses?

I have found vets I don't like, but I also find it fairly easy to find vets I can work with. I guess I just don't understand why you're ranting about bloodsucking vets. You decided not to post details, so you certainly couldn't have expected responses tailored to your specific circumstances.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2009 at 7:18PM
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$20,ooo on one cat, are you serious? I would say that vet has you coming an going, eating out of his hand......

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 3:41PM
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Personally, I agree that most vets these days see pet owners as walking annuities. It's hard to find an old fashioned vet these days, and I have seen this problem in Texas and in California, so I don't think it is just NYC. They don't even ask you if you want the extra tests or treatment anymore, they just do it, and everything is so expensive. They have brainwashed a lot of people into thinking that more is better when it comes to animal care. Well, just like human doctors, IMHO I think appropriate care is better than throwing everything in the medicine chest and every test in the lab at an animal. Soaking patients is why a lot of chiropractors got a bad rap, too. (Again, a lot of them, not all of them).

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 12:32PM
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I would NEVER perform a test or procedure on a pet without getting owner's INFORMED consent. The owner has to understand what the procedure or test will tell me, how it will change the treatment plan, and what to expect with the treatment. My clients would never pay for unauthorized procedures or tests, so I don't put forth any effort in doing anything without consent.

You have to tell people all their options, but there is no requirement that you do everything. How would you feel if there was something you could have done for your pet and you let it die because nobody told you that something could have been done? I don't know your budget, YOU do, and it is YOUR responsibility to tell me what you can afford and what you think is appropriate for YOUR pet.

I have a 15 year old husky patient who has had a liver lobe removed for cancer, survived diabetic ketoacidosis, is being treated for diabetes and hypertension. The owner checks her dog's blood glucose level at home at least 4 times a day, using a glucometer she purchased. She checks her dog's blood pressure at least twice daily with a blood pressure cuff she bought. She has spent over $10,000 on the dog in the last year, but if the dog could be made well by another procedure, she'd find a way to afford it. She isn't rich, either, she just finds a way.

OTOH, I've put dogs who are just diagnosed with diabetes to sleep because the owner doesn't want to bother with multiple vet visits or giving insulin- they say it's too expensive or whatever.

The point being, it isn't my place to decide what YOU do for YOUR pet. I can tell you that chemotherapy and radiation therapy are available, and how much time you may buy your pet, and what the side effects of the treatments are, and how much those treatments cost, but it is YOUR decision to choose them or not. Then it's up to me to make different recommendations- whether it's keep the pet comfortable for as long as possible or put to sleep immediately or whatever.

If your vet performs unauthorized procedures or tests, don't pay for them. They won't do that again.

And repeat after me "NO doc, I don't want to do that to my pet."

And if you can't find a vet like that, I work in Fayetteville, NC.

Grow a backbone, people.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 10:31PM
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I think it is wrong to label EVERY vet a slime because of your problem. The majority are good caring people. I have been going to the same vet clinic for over 20 yrs and have never had reason to doubt them. Of course there are some that aren't the best but they were this way before they became vets. Slimes is a pretty harsh word to label a whole group of people with just because of your bad experience.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 10:44AM
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Tough talk from someone who doesn't live in a big city where costs are outrageous and money is the driving force.

Yes, you can withhold expensive treatment if you care to see your pet suffer.

We don't barter and bully in NYC. There are no bargains/discounts.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 4:15AM
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Thank you, beegood.

There are almost always treatment options. Just because you can't afford the latest and greatest treatment doesn't necessarily mean you can't do something to prevent your pet from suffering. Sometimes unfortunately there aren't any good options and you do what you have to do.

Nobody signs up for vet school because they think they are going to be making scads of money. Your vet is most likely making less than $100,000 a year, which isn't much in the "big city" for a doctor, especially considering the cost of veterinary education.

Pets are a luxury. If you aren't comfortable spending money for their health care, then don't get a pet.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 6:03PM
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"Nobody signs up for vet school because they think they are going to be making scads of money. Your vet is most likely making less than $100,000 a year, which isn't much in the "big city" for a doctor, especially considering the cost of veterinary education. "

Oh, please. Sorry, but, each one of those points is a load.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 10:32PM
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"You have to tell people all their options"

but that wasn't the problem;
the problem was that a distraught pet owner was talked into expensive treatment that put money in the vet's pocket & prolonged the pet's suffering.

""Nobody signs up for vet school because they think they are going to be making scads of money"

Ahhhhhh haaaaaa haaaaaa haaaaa haaaa!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2009 at 8:54PM
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The pet owner is ultimately responsible for decision making. Grow a backbone - i've never been pushed into a decision, but I have a spine.

Anyone who thinks vets make a ton of money .... doesn't know any vets. They're the ER docs of the animal world, not the cardiac surgeons. Not one I know (6) makes 6 figures. Considering the hours and the responsibility,not to mention the education, less than 100K/year is bubkes.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2009 at 12:05AM
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"Grow a backbone" sounds like an accusation that OP is the cause of her own trouble.

People *trust* the information & advice that their vets dish out.

"Growing a backbone" might help when someone is bullying you, or in an adversarial situation-*if* you know the relationship is adversarial:

Vets enjoy an assumption of competence & trustworthiness, much like police officers, & when they behave in ways that betray that expectation, people are absolutely entitled to feel shocked, betrayed, & enraged.

When a vet is discovered to have been more concerned with business management than with the health of a client's pet or with the pet's pain, when they put the pet through torturous misery & make a lot of money out of it, & when you know that the vet knew that the pet's chances were next to nil & the vet didn't tell the client, then the vet has betrayed that trust.

I think things were different in the past.

When a pet wass very ill, with almost no chance of recovery, when it would have taken heroic measures to keep that pet alive & his quality of life was deteriorating, I used to expect that a vet would say, "sylvia, it's too late. it's time to let him go."

The vet might say, "We can give him chemo, but it'll make him miserable, & he's very weak already, & he's 15 years old, & chemo doesn't always work", but he would *not* say, as so many would today, "We can try chemo" & then stop speaking, leaving me to eagerly clutch at the chance to keep my beloved pet alive.

Today, I do think it's all about the money.
Like so much health care today, including that of human beings, it's all about business management & profits & not about health.

My sister-in-law, a normal, everyday person who works at a normal everyday job, has an ancient Chihuahua.

One Saturday night, Babe had a seizure.

In hysterics, Shelley called her vet, whose answering service said that he was out of town;
they gave her the phone number for a 24-hour emergency clinic.

Shelley took Babe there.

The vet told her that Babe was very sick indeed, that the only chance for her to live was to hospitalize her & do some very expensive something-or-other for her, & that Shelley would have to leave a $1500 deposit.

Shelley was stunned.

She went back to her car, crying, & called my brother;
he told her, "Do what you have to do."

As Shelley was heading back to the clinic with her checkbook, a woman came out of the clinic, crying.

Shelley asked her what had happened.

The woman said the vet had told her that her dog was going to die unless they hospitalized her & did a very expensive procedure, & they wanted a $1200 deposit.

Shelley got Babe & went home & called my aunt, who said that a little Karo syrup in warm water might help.

Babe had no more seizures that week-end, & her own vet put her on a regimen (can't remember what) that has worked for the past 3 years.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2009 at 6:31PM
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The OP stated "Yes, you can withhold expensive treatment if you care to see your pet suffer." To me, that implies that she did indeed fail to establish a relationship with a vet where she would feel comfortable asking questions and exploring other options. OR, she failed to accept that treatment would be expensive or ineffective. She failed to give details, so one is left to draw his own conclusions.

Medical professionals, from doctors to vets, are between a rock and a hard place. They're accused of being blood-suckers if the patient lives at an astronomical cost, accused of being uncaring if they recommend euthanasia or hospice and accused of being incompetent if the patient dies.

Are there bad vets out there? Sure. It's your responsibility to investigate vets as you would any other medical professional. I've switched doctors when I didn't like one and i work hard at maintaining a good relationship when I find a professional I can work with.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2009 at 7:23PM
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I AM a vet and I can assure you that very few (specialists being the exception) make more than 100K. If you are suggesting that I don't know my own salary, then you are just being ridiculous. Starting salary (average US small animal exclusive) is $61k. That is a FACT. Those with more years experience (not specialists) make closer to $95k in most cities but the average (with 8 years experience) is $79,800. That is a FACT. Owners average is $100-160k. That is a FACT. I know some specialists who "rake in" about $200k. That is a FACT. Ask your human cardiologist how much s/he makes. It will be at least $275k starting, up to $425k. That is a FACT. Same schooling, except your human cardiologist only has to know one species- veterinary cardiologists have to EVERY species except one.

The average EDUCATION debt for a vet student this year was $109,000. No person in his or her right mind would spend over $100k for the glorious opportunity to rake in $80k unless they really love what they are doing.

You should check FACTS before making stupid statements, sylviatexas and bbaird.

Again, I implore you ALL not to make generalizations about ANYONE.

I would NEVER just tell someone that "you can do chemo" without saying "but if was my own dog I wouldn't do that." There are exceptions- some kinds of cancer are extremely treatable with chemo, and in many cases the pet doesn't feel bad at all, depending on the protocol used. But you wouldn't know that unless your vet told you. Might even have to ASK. I would NEVER knowingly prolong an animal's life just to make a buck. I would NEVER run a test that wouldn't change the course of treatment. I would NEVER subject an animal to ANYTHING that didn't have a good chance of helping it. In fact, I have BEGGED, PLEADED, and even THREATENED to let me end the life of many a long-suffering pet. I don't need the money that bad.

There are 85,000+ in the US as of 2008- I'm positive I am not the only non-slime out there. There ARE slimeball vets out there- I've seen some real winners from clients who get a second opinion. There are slimeball clients too- the ones for whom you do the heroics and save their pets and they don't pay you anyway. Don't even get me started. Really. It will bore you to tears. I have MILLIONS more stories than ALL of you put together, and I am just ONE vet.

"they kind of talked me out of having him put to sleep, soaked me for at least $1,500 or more." That's where the backbone comes in. Or at least ask pertinent questions. Laurie, who frequents the pets forum, has *excellent* posts about what to ask a vet during any sick pet visit. Heck, I'd go one further and say ask the same questions for your well pet visits too.

Communication is a 2-way street. If you say "yes" to treatment, I think that means you want to do it. Why would I think otherwise. If you have questions, ask them. If the vet can't provide satisfactory answers, then don't do that treatment or test.

I have been told by many new clients who have been referred to me that the referring client appreciates my candor and frankness. I know that some people have not appreciated it though- especially the people who have let their pets suffer, or the ones that allow their pets to become sick with an easily preventable illness (heartworms, parvo, etc.). Candor and honesty go both ways. If you don't tell me that money is an issue, I'm going to assume it's not.

But don't you DARE accuse me of performing treatments and diagnostics on a pet just because I want the money. I don't want your stupid money. I want your pet to get well.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2009 at 9:43PM
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"Nobody signs up for vet school because they think they are going to be making scads of money. Your vet is most likely making less than $100,000 a year, which isn't much in the "big city" for a doctor, especially considering the cost of veterinary education."

I believe that most folks who become veterinarians do so because of a desire to help the animals that they love. Or loved, isn't it possible that a beloved pet was ill or passed away, thus piquing interest in the profession? Who knows what drives people to their professions, surely it's not always $$$.

That said, I don't expect my clients to pay for MY education. That is a ridiculous and very tired argument. YOU chose your career, YOU chose to undertake the expenses and studies required. No one chose FOR you, thus no one should be expected to foot your bill. That statement by anyone in ANY profession smacks of self-entitlement. God forbid you should take responsibility for your OWN choices.

(Yes, I have told other professionals the same thing. Including some in my own profession.)

I paid for my education myself, over several years. I still undergo coursework in order to keep on top of the field, which is paid by me. I certainly don't mark up in order to cover the costs of these courses, which are increasingly expensive.

I DO expect to be paid for professional services that are difficult otherwise to find. My clients pay for my knowledge, experience, and expertise; but not for my education.

"You should check FACTS before making stupid statements, sylviatexas and bbaird."

That wasn't nice. Yes, rebuttants ought to check facts first. Maybe you ought to grow a backbone, too. Lashing out in a fit of defensiveness is ungracious. And no, I am certainly NOT claiming that I am gracious (far from it). YOU chose a field in which you knew you would be unfairly attacked by generalisations. You knew the possibility of conflict but took on the studies anyway. That you're suffering from these generalisations is indeed hurtful. Generalisation is often of the unkind variety. Take a deep breath and keep informing people, without spite, of the facts. Some of us are quite open to hear what you say.

"Vets enjoy an assumption of competence & trustworthiness, much like police officers, & when they behave in ways that betray that expectation, people are absolutely entitled to feel shocked, betrayed, & enraged.

When a vet is discovered to have been more concerned with business management than with the health of a client's pet or with the pet's pain, when they put the pet through torturous misery & make a lot of money out of it, & when you know that the vet knew that the pet's chances were next to nil & the vet didn't tell the client, then the vet has betrayed that trust."

Well put. We all know that this is NOT directed at you personally meghane. This is not even a generalisation. This is something that HAS happened to SOME of us. Have you NEVER suffered from a professional's greed?

Your profession suffers a deal of accusations-as do ALL professions. You are top-notch to tell a client to forego expensive treatment that would not help their pet. I take my felines to a hospital with three veterinarians on board. Fortunately, each one can be trusted to be so candid with me in similar matters.

Unfortunately, the practice DOES add unnecessary bits and bobs to various treatments, which a client must pay for whether it is indicated or not. No, I am not a veterinarian. I DO know that medications contra-indicated in cats, whether through cavalier assumption, lack of research in feline use, or by the thought that 'what's good for the dog is sauce for the cat', or what the drug reps claim; are not merely unnecessary but could be unsafe. The ONLY reason that these nickel-and-dime schemes are in place is because the CEO (one of the veterinarians) has decided to make them policy. The other doctors cannot go against the policy, although in most cases they AGREE with me, and where they do not agree with me, they provide information to help put me at ease. I am allowed to turn down the unneeded stuff but must still PAY for it; it's 'practice policy'. Example is a week's supply of metacam for a kitten neuter. That added over $50 to the neuter bill. The kitten did not need it, and if pain control were necessary, I would have asked for something else as Metacam MAY be contra-indicated in some felines. I went back and asked for the Metacam, since they'd sell it again thus raking in two payments for one medication. Does this mean that ALL practices are pulling the same stunts? Obviously not! Despite this weird stuff, I believe that all of my veterinary professionals were driven to the field by a desire to learn and to help. I believe that you are the same.

The OP posted in anger. I doubt that the intent was to put ALL veterinarians on the defensive. I couldn't keep my cats alive without veterinary doctors, no matter my own grievances. Bad experiences happen and do colour our outlook. I'm sorry.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 12:48PM
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OP didn't say "some vets are slimes." OP said "When did vets become slimes." Then OP suggested that ALL vets have no integrity. Then s/he called me a blood-sucker. Then 2 people suggested that ALL vets are just money-driven, then laughed and made other rude comments when I said otherwise.

Declaring a STATEMENT stupid is not the same as declaring the PERSON stupid- I do not think either person is stupid. If that distinction was lost, then I apologize.

The OP basically called me a slime and a blood-sucker, and I take great offense to it. If I do something slimey, by all means, point it out. But I did NOTHING to OP to warrant being called a slime or a blood-sucker. I doubt 84,998 other vets did anything to warrant that either. Or to have OP question my or anyone else's integrity. Or to have OP and others questions my or anyone else's motives.

I didn't take on any more education debt that I am comfortable with, and I don't expect clients to pay for my education choice. I only included that information to further illustrate the original point- that vets don't get into this industry because they want to make lots of money. But alas, the point was lost.

BTW, for the sake of accuracy, the $61k is for recent grads in small animal predominate practice; small animal exclusive grads actually make an average of $65k. I misread the data, my mistake.

If OP and others hadn't attacked ALL vets, then I wouldn't have become defensive. And yes, I do consider it a personal attack when people make blanket statements about any group of people, whether it's veterinarians, women, lawyers, blacks, or anyone else.

No, I've never been taken advantage of by any professional, greedy or otherwise. My backbone is just fine, thanks.

I'm not saying that there are not bad vets. I'm not even saying that there are not some slimes out there- slimes are employed in all sectors, I'm sure. I mentioned before I've dealt with some aftermath of either bad medicine (can't diagnose a problem correctly, causing accidental expenditure of client's money) or bad ethics (causing purposeful extra expenditure of client's money, AND even worse increased risk to the pet). But to say that ALL vets would do such a thing is just plain wrong.

If OP hadn't wanted to put ALL vets on defensive, then OP would have said that the 2 vets s/he is talking about are slimes. But OP didn't say that.

The unfortunate truth is that there are very high costs associated with providing high quality veterinary care, but I don't think that is the issue. But it's hard to say since OP refuses to elaborate.

When I have heard people complain about vets in the past, it was about certain vets or about a certain incident. That is how one should address an issue, not in name calling and making blanket accusations about entire groups of people. It would be nice to know what the issue was. Other people provided examples, and I certainly understand where the anger in those cases arose.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 9:03PM
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These are vets I'd been to (and others I know -on recommendations) before I finally found a new one 2 months ago who SEEMS to be concerned with my cat's health and comfort during this lousy time. (He's also outrageously expensive.) So many friends and neighbors have a horrible time finding a competent vet who isn't just out for the money. It can't be a big coincidence. We're not all nuts.

Also, as mentioned by someone else, the paying for the vet's education is very, very tired. I spent about the same money for my Graduate School. I don't use that as an excuse. I didin't expect anyone else to pay for it.

My cat has 2 terminal illnesses.





    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 2:11AM
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This article was on AOL's "news" page this morning.

Here is a link that might be useful: Vet Talks About Veterinary Practice

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 11:44AM
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meghane, you have chosen to be personally offended whenever anyone has anything to say about your field. The stress of martyrdom is enough to cripple us mere mortals.

You will harm yourself spending your energies on such negativity. Do you ever hear when someone makes a kindly generalisation? Obviously not, as I did just that in my previous post. You glossed right over it. Too bad.

I am in a profession that is held in about the same contempt as, oh, let's see, what smarmy career can you think of, WITHOUT generalising? Like you, I chose to take personal offense at the generalisations. Guess what? The generalisations still occur. And you know something else? The profession still stands! All the insulting generalisation have not eliminated my profession, nor even weakened it. Mind, no one ever complained about ME. After decades of getting my back up whenever anything negative was said, I chose to let it slide. My success coincides with my decision to let people rant. I felt that I needed to put out more seemly behaviour. I know that I am honest, forthright, and fair. I know that my years of study, research and experience are sound. Nothing can change that.

You stated clearly that you are keen on the best possible handling of any clients and their pets. Good. You can be a great veterinary doctor. As long as you always hold to your principles and high ethics, you will be one of those much-loved veterinarians whose care we all would like. But sometimes reality forces an ugliness into the situation, such as the need to pay overhead. The bottom line DOES become a driving force.

I believe that once you realise that those generalisations aren't killing you nor destroying your trade that the "Me vs. You and Them" attitude will disappear. You cannot single-handedly stop people from generalising about things.

The OP was angry and upset. I highly doubt that that person is out to get YOU nor to destroy your profession.

YOU are angry and upset too. After years of study to get a foothold, you despise people saying anything about what you do-you perceive it as a direct insult to you after the time and effort put into gaining your degrees, your license, and getting a place in a practice. Understandable. However.

I would not wish to bring my cats to you with the attitude you have. If you're not out to lash ME personally because I made a derogatory generalisation at some past moment, you'd be suspicious that I MIGHT. That attitude doesn't sit well with me and it upsets my cats. You are the PROFESSIONAL. Leave your personal politics home.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 12:37PM
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Since when are Vets not allowed to make enuff money to cover their costs plus have some left over to live on. They have a business to run like every one else . Any one who goes to school to become a professional has a great debt load and I do not see why they shud be made to feel guilty for wanting to pay off these costs. Most things in life come at a cost including owning pets. By the way I am not a vet or professional of any kind. I am retired and am fortunate to have healthy pets and a Vet whom I trust.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 4:39PM
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I hope your kitty is doing well. Poor thing.

Unfortunately I don't know anyone in NYC, including the hospitals you linked. I can only imagine how expensive the specialty/referral practice is up there. Specialty practices are pretty expensive here, but with the additional surcharge for being in NYC... wow. I'm sure the other general practices aren't cheap either, just because of NYC.

I'm sure you know that the cost of running a high quality hospital is more than a high volume hospital. I get the feeling that you're not just complaining about the price of services though, so whatever it is I hope the new vet continues to work out for you.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 7:48PM
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"I'm sure you know that the cost of running a high quality hospital is more than a high volume hospital."

That's a good thing to be aware of. Thank you for making the distinction. Never thought of it myself.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 8:36PM
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Thank you. None of this was/is directed at you. I didn't intend for this to degenerate into a name-calling contest.

I appreciate your good thoughts.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2009 at 1:10AM
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Just to give you an example of charges here, this is what I'm billed for vet care (mind you, these are the same fees at 3 different vets that I've been to in the past year--these are NOT the specialist's fees):

1) Check-up (just showing up)-- $95
2) Blood pressure (putting a cuff on my cat's leg and looking at the number) -- $95
3) Chest x-ray (3 views of same spot) - $450
4) 3 Blood Tests -- $375
5) EKG and Sonogram -- $950
6) 1 Bag of Ringer's Solution, 15 Needles, 1 Line -- $45
At this point, EACH MONTH, she has to have blood tests (#4) and her Blood Pressure (#2) taken. In addition, I have to pay for the visit (half check-up $45). Also, Fluids and Supplies, Renal Food (that can be purchased only through a vet even though the ingredients are pretty much garbage), etc.. Never mind the 1000% mark-up on drugs and supplements, also available only through a vet.

C'mon. $95 each month to take her BP?!

No. Pet owners aren't ignorant, but, there are no reasonable costs here -- we have to take our pets somewhere, afterall. And, MORE IMPORTANTLY, it's very difficult to find a good and/or caring vet.

I'm sorry, but, things have changed since I was a kid and had pets.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2009 at 4:44AM
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I have been very impressed with our veterinary specialty hospital. We took Bina there for a constant nasal problem. She would snore, reverse sneeze, snort, and sometimes choke at night and during the day she would occasionally blow or sneeze snot all over the floor and walls. I found a research paper about this kind of problem online. It was written by Dr. Kuehn at Michigan Veterinary Specialists. We made and appointment and they saw Bina and suggested a CT. We agreed to the test, which could run up to about $2000. The test showed that she has a chronic inflammatory disease. Dr. Kuehn tried one med, which helped a little. He tried adding a second med, which seemed to help more. Then Bina got a stomach irritation and was vomiting at night, so both meds were discontinued. She spent a week or two on Prilosec OTC. Now he wants us to restart the first med and add a nutritional supplement. What is so helpful to me it that after I picked her up the day after her CT scan, we have never had to take her back to that hospital. Dr. Kuehn has done all the recommendations over the phone. If I call him by 3, I get a call back from him personally by the end of the day. There has been no charge since the CT, either. And Dr. Kuehn has called in the meds to whatever pharmacy I chose.

So not all of them are slimes. I hope that you can find someone like we have, who does the necessary diagnostics and then works for the health of the dog. I am sorry you have not had the luck we had.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 2:56AM
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Salaries of Vets, Like M.D.s vary regionally. Actually Vets in my state make more than Family Practitioners, or Internal Medicine. Heck, they make more than E.R. Docs. I'm making this comparison because I am familiar with the health field. Plus, Vets get paid cash. M.D.s have to haggle with the insurance companies.

My Vet, I swear, makes over 1.3 MILLION/yr by himself. I know this for a fact. He is top notch. He is a general practioner. I understand that he has overhead to pay by himself. There are several in my state who make a lot of money. There are *some* who make considerably less and are money hungry, like in any profession. We have some unscrupulous Vets. I've been to some. We have unscrupulous M.D.s , too - all about the buck.


The prices are in line with what MY Vet charges. Xrays are $160 a piece, so the total would have been $480.

My Vet NEVER does extra tests, or does things for the money. However, he is VERY EXPENSIVE.
I do feel that in some regions of the country, Vet care is too expensive. Like Meghane said-pets are a luxury. Because they are a luxury, unlike the utility companies (which are a necessity, and we are being gauged by them), petcare should not be that expensive. That's the other side of the coin, Meghane ;)

If you're making 100k as a Vet, you're living in the wrong part of the country. LOL

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 10:25AM
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We don't charge that much for anything, but I live in the cheapest area of the cheapest city in NC and work for the cheapest vet around.

1) Check-up (just showing up)-- $95
2) Blood pressure (putting a cuff on my cat's leg and looking at the number) -- $95
3) Chest x-ray (3 views of same spot) - $450
4) 3 Blood Tests -- $375
5) EKG and Sonogram -- $950
6) 1 Bag of Ringer's Solution, 15 Needles, 1 Line -- $45

Our office visits are $34, but all you get is 15 minutes total (maybe 5-10 with the doctor). Out of that $95, you have to pay for doctor time, staff time (setting up appt, checking in patient, getting records ready, assisting doc with whatever is needed during exam, checking out, call backs, etc), keeping the lights on, heating, electric, real estate costs (a MAJOR difference between here and NYC), office management software, office manager salary, cleaning/facility maintenance costs, CE for Dr and staff, etc. The better the hospital, the more staff is paid, the higher the exam cost, not to mention NYC salaries are MUCH higher than here (the other MAJOR cost difference). Most hospitals here charge about $45-65 for the office visit, which isn't that far off from the $95 considering NYC.

I don't have a blood pressure machine that I can use for appointments usually. I have one in surgery but that is almost always hooked up to a patient. I have priced them out, depending on the model you're looking at least $3500 to buy one, plus tech/dr time, plus maintenance costs. Better ones cost much more. But that still seems a little high to me, I agree. One of my clients bought a blood pressure monitor for her dog at the drug store for $50. I'm sure even at NYC prices, you can find one that fits your cat for less than $95/month.

I have a 1970s-era analog piece of crap x-ray machine. We charge $130 for 3 views radiographs, but the images are crap unless you're looking for big obvious things (broken bones, lots of fluid, etc). A digital machine easily costs $25000- 40k, plus maintenance (about $1200/year) plus image storage (easily $12000/year) plus radiologist review of all rads which the better hospitals do (add another $12000/year), not to mention staff time to take the rads, keep equipment and personal protection equipment maintained, doctor time to review rads, maintaining radiation exposure records, etc. If they sedate the animals to get better images, add that too.

Most places mark up drugs by more than 200% to account for time in ordering, stocking costs, etc. Food is usually marked up a lot less because it already costs too much.

Without knowing the blood tests, I can't comment at all. Certain tests cost much more than others.

EKG and sonogram. Between the cost of equipment for an ultrasound machine capable of doing a complete sonogram ($40-120k), the time it takes to complete the study (usually about 30 minutes), etc, I can easily see how that cost is justifiable. My practice doesn't have a good enough ultrasound machine to do a sonogram. I can do an EKG over the phone with CardioPet for about $120. Most sonograms are performed by either radiologists or cardiologists here, and they run about $450-600. Still not quite as high as what you are paying, but again, NYC salaries...

We're charging the same for the LRS, line, and needles. Those costs are pretty much the same no matter what.

Sounds to me like the vet is purchasing quality equipment and pricing mostly fairly except the BP. I can't see the justification in that cost. If our real estate and salary costs were anywhere near NYC, we'd be charging a lot more too. You're lucky that your vet has such great equipment; I have to refer to a specialist for a sonogram and my diagnostic abilities are greatly limited by my x-ray machine. Those prices are consistent with the better run practices around here, with considerations for NYC.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 5:03PM
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Don't take BBairds comments personally.
BBaird is frustrated with the cost of petcare.

I wouldn't accuse you of being in petcare for the money. You come on these boards and offer free, GREAT advice, which is greatly appreciated. Noone who is in it for the money would donate ANY free time or advice on these boards. Trust me, so thank you.

We lived in GA a few years ago, and the Vet costs were minimal. I live in Central CT., in a town of approx 35,000.
Employed Vets probably don't make much per hour. You may be correct that the salaries are 75k-100k per/yr. I know that the regular staff doesn't make much. A Vet Tech makes approx $12/hr around here. My vet is a sole owner and the charges are kind of steep, but he's worth every penny. I know that if he cannot diagnose, then I have to find a specialist, and a good one.

From what I know, NYC salaries are a lot more than central CT. I know their rents are quadruple of what they are here.

My state is kind of Schizophrenic. Some people make a lot of money, others don't. Currently with the Recession and the job outsourcing we have MANY underemployed people, and it doesn't look like it will ever get better. Jobs are gone forever. That being said, it does seem that some prfessions make way too much, esp when you see the rest of the industry had to adjust their incomes. Veterinary medicine is thriving, while other industries are suffering in my state. People medicine is in shambles. People will pay for their pet's care, but not their own. When I said that M.D.s make less in CT, I meant it.
Ironically my vet has 2 kids who are going into medicine. One will be a Vet, the other an M.D. I cannot wait to see their incomes.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2009 at 12:23PM
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"BBaird is frustrated with the cost of petcare. "

It's not the cost. It's what's driving the cost and the quality of care.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2009 at 2:02AM
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    Bookmark   December 24, 2009 at 2:06PM
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This whole post disgusts me. Vets and MDs go through a lot of schooling to be able to do what they do. They hold a incredible amount of responsibility and fully deserve the salaries they make. People want quality medical care for themselves as well as their pets, but don't think about what really is involved in getting that quality care: from the decades of research necessary to bring a particular diagnostic or treatment option to market, from the high cost of equipment that must constantly be calibrated and monitored, to the education involved to ensure the practitioner, the researchers and the equpi,ment manufacturers/calibraters are truly quailifed and everything in between.

If you want pets (or children for that matter) be advised that they may cost you money when they get sick. It's so easy during a recession to point at those who are still working and accuse them or not being worth their salary. But no one is forcing you to own pets, no one is forcing you to pay for expensive medical procedures, so stop your whining. If you dobn't like your vet then chose another one. In a big city like NYC there is more than one.

I think bbaird just started this post due to boredom, as way to get us ethical people all riled up. People like that remind me of why I moved out of NYC 5 years ago.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2009 at 10:48PM
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"It's what's driving the cost and the quality of care"

If your cat, which seems to be suffering from heart disease and kidney disease, was in my hospital, it would be dead already. Sure, you wouldn't have spent nearly that much money, but since I can't do an echocardiogram, my radiographs suck, and my ultrasound machine is very low quality, your cat's life and QOL would have been negatively affected. I can't even get a BP sometimes because the equipment can go on the fritz at any time.

You can either pay for quality care, or you can go to the cheap hospital where nobody cares enough to follow through for recheck appointments, where the quality of diagnostic equipment is poor, etc. but your pet will suffer the consequences. You can't have it both ways. Quality equipment and a decent staff cost a lot of money. Your choice.

Cheap vets don't care about your pet more. They don't care enough to purchase quality equipment or go through additional training to learn how to use the equipment; they don't care enough to do follow ups because it costs too much in terms of labor to get that to happen (we don't even call clients whose pets have had surgery, for example). They don't know any of the breakthrough treatments because they are too busy with 15 minute appointments to have time to learn it. I could go on.

I've had plenty of feline patients with heart and kidney disease. They're all dead. But it didn't cost much to get there!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2009 at 4:51PM
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"I think bbaird just started this post due to boredom, as way to get us ethical people all riled up. People like that remind me of why I moved out of NYC 5 years ago.

I posted due to disgust, NOT boredom. Good. Glad you're not in NYC anymore.

My ethics are fine, thank you. Long-standing member of the ASPCA, PETA and WWF. Contributor to many other organizations--both time and money.

I don't know why this has to be personal.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2009 at 5:01PM
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C'mon y'all, Bbaird is entitled to voice her immediate observations. There may be several vets in her area concerned with making money, primarily, and caring for the pets is secondary. I told you the same attitude is alive and well in people medicine. Why are you guys in denial? It's true. Many people have jobs primarily for money, and IF they love what they do, it's a BONUS!

Many times when we post we refer to our close experiences.

I've had MANY people here complain about the cost of petcare. Many feel that greed is taking advantage of peoples' emotions, therefore the astronomical charges. I'm not making this up. That goes for every product and service out there. It's just that we have some nice and INNOCENT Vets posting on these boards and it's not fair for them to be selected as "vultures" LOL.

Keep in mind that it's expensive to run a practice. However, it's a known fact in my area that Vets are making a killing as compared to twenty years ago. Everything has gone up. Some things have gone up more than others- vet charges are one of them. My pets used to cost me a fraction of my salary twenty years ago. Today, my salary barely budged, but my Vet bills are high. That is an honest observation. BBaird is not that far off in her assessment in some instances. Maybe she rubbed some people the wrong way, but hey...

Many of us are entitled to huge salaries. It just ain't happenin...You just need to find a product or service to tug on peoples' emotions, and the purse strings will follow-LOL

Ok, sarcasm aside...

I can afford the petcare. However, I am concerned about the senior citizens who desperately need pets. Many are depressed and need the love of a pet. Pets to them are more of a therapy than a luxury....and they cannot afford the ridiculous prices. They should be charged HALF.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2009 at 6:06PM
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"I don't know why this has to be personal"

Because I am a vet and you said I am a slime.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2009 at 6:26PM
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No, she did not say you were a slime.

gardenweb does not tolerate libel/slander;
the post would have been pulled.

She said she's angry at the money-sucking tactics of those vets who are money-sucking slimes.

You yourself continue to insist on being offended, martyred, etc, & on taking up for the element in your profession that *is* slimey.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2009 at 11:35AM
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No the post said "When did vets become such slimes"

Not money-sucking vets, not some vets, not the vets found in NYC so far. Vets are slimes.

I don't see anything slimey about defending my profession. If it was stated as some elements in the profession, fine. I can accept some vets are slimes. I can't accept we all are. And thus far, I haven't seen anything otherwise from bbaird.

I have no matryr complex. I do take offense to the malicious nature of the posts, questioning the integrity of all vets. It's the same type of stereotyping practiced by racists and sexists, and I won't stand for it. Against any profession or any group of people.

I tried to be nice, I tried to explain why things cost what they cost, but that doesn't matter. Obviously bbaird has no interest in such details. S/he doesn't seem to want advice on how to approach veterinary problems. Just wants to rant.

Well, I am in a ranting mood too. And today my rant is against stereotyping.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2009 at 8:30PM
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Okay. This is the last time (I hope) that I'm going to respond to this post that I placed:

1)"No the post said 'When did vets become such slimes'
Not money-sucking vets, not some vets, not the vets found in NYC so far. Vets are slimes."

If you'll reread the original post, I said, "Vets, at least in NYC, care about one thing, and one thing only -- money."

Umm, how is "at least in NYC" different than "in NYC so far" -- if that's one point that bothers you?

2)"It's the same type of stereotyping practiced by racists and sexists"

With mouth open in disbelief, I can't even respond to that. If you don't see a difference in that, well...

3) This Forum is called "Pet Debates". I'm allowed to complain.

4) "I tried to be nice, I tried to explain why things cost what they cost, but that doesn't matter. Obviously bbaird has no interest in such details. S/he doesn't seem to want advice on how to approach veterinary problems. Just wants to rant."

EXACTLY! That's why I posted here and not in the Pets Forum.

I'm not asking for advice/help. I know how to approach problems. There's nothing I can do to abate the outrageous costs.

You just don't get the nature of the problem.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2009 at 9:59PM
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I can't understand why someone who lives in NYC is so surprised and upset that vet care in NYC is outrageously expensive. EVERYTHING in NYC is outrageously expensive- and EVERYONE knows that! So you're right, I just don't get the nature of the problem.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2009 at 11:33PM
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Color me confused

bbaird said "Yes, you can withhold expensive treatment if you care to see your pet suffer" and then "It's not the cost. It's what's driving the cost and the quality of care" and then again "There's nothing I can do to abate the outrageous costs"

With the first and third statements, you are indeed grousing about cost. If the treatment alleviates suffering and prolongs the life of a cat with a terminal illness, the vet is not a blood-sucking slime; he's doing what you want him to do.

With regards to the second statment: If you feel your vet is NOT acting in the best interest of you and/oryour animal, find a new vet and/or question why they recommend a certain procedure and then research this yourself to make sure that this is the care that you wish your pet to have. NJ and PA are certainly close enough to NYC and certainly offer quality vet care. Perhaps travel expenses would be offset by cheaper prices?

With a terminal illness, you're facing a decision to euthanize or continue treatment. No vet I know makes this decision for you; it's simply not their responsibility. A vet can and should offer guidance, but is up to you to watch out for yourself and your pet.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 3:47AM
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There are millions of Americans who cannot afford healthcare for themselves,so people arguing that we should expect to pay high vet prices make me laugh...or we can opt to not have any pets at all and they can die in shelters instead.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 8:34AM
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I took my puppy to the vet the other day because he had a small lump on his belly.

I questioned the bill at the desk and the secretary said it was high because of the antibiotic and heartworm medication.

Never once while in the exam room did he mention anything about heartworm, and he stated that the bump would go away on its own.

I understand the need for heartworm meds, but he could have warned me that he was tacking it onto the bill without even discussing treatment. I refused the medication because I have 3 boxes at home, not expired and for his weight. When I refused, they got irritated. They kept telling me how important it was to prevent heartworm but why didn't he discuss that during the appointment?

I also questioned the antibiotics when he said it would clear on its own. His response was "it may become infected". I ended up taking them, but I still think if it's NOT infected, he shouldn't be given meds he doesn't need.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 1:41PM
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This whole thing about vets charging insane amounts goes hand in hand with a cultural shift that is pretty much global. 100 years ago if you would have asked people to gauge the value of a pet's life/wellbeing vs the value of human life, the overwhelming majority would have put human life far above animal life. Today in many places the opposite is true. I actually know people who truly believe not only that animal life is just as valuable as human life, but that animal life is in fact more precious than human life.
As a culture, we prove that this shift is true in many ways. One being the fact that we're concerned about saving whales but have no problem with aborting our own kind. That's just one thing, there are lots of symptoms to this malady, and I know I'm not in the majority, but it needed to be said. It will be a while before that trend fixes itself if it ever happens. Coincidentally, there was another time in history where there was such a trend (of animal/nature worship), but talking about that might cause someone to invoke Goodwin's law against me.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 3:28PM
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Well I only have a few things to say about this whole discussion. I am in school right now to become a veterinarian so please don't get angry if you are a vet and find this discussion offensive I'm not trying to bash the profession I want to enter. There are slimes everywhere in every profession because there are going to be slimy greedy people everywhere in the world so why would this profession be any different? There are going to be extremists in every profession. The vet I am interning with right now has prices so low that he might lose his house while other vets are charging so high they can afford to shut their clinic down for a two week vacation. Are there vets in the middle? yes. Just like every other profession. Someone said that petcare is a luxury, which I completely agree with, so if you don't like paying for petcare because you think its too expensive then don't get pets because as someone that truly loves animals I can say that it is sickening to see animals not taken care of because "its too expensive". I am interning with a rural vet so this is probably more common in rural areas than cities but its still a problem. Is what this vet did really any different from what some medical doctors will do to patients that are terminal? no. does she have a right to complain? yes. The world in general is a crazy greedy and overall kind of depressing place to live in because a lot of people only care about themselves so this kind of stuff will always happen. I will say this though if you live in New York its not even a question whether something will be more expensive than elsewhere because its going to be so its not really that surprising that you got price gouged. If you read a lot of medical articles you'll see that they recommend you bring an advocate when you go to see a doctor so that you get all the information you need and so that you don't get tricked into treatment you don't want. While it is sad that this is necessary it really isn't any different than when you go to the vet. Ask questions, ask for opinions, and do you research. Vets are only human to and a lot of times people forget that you don't know what they know so they forget to mention anything. By far this is the biggest complaint that I get from the people at my barn, the vet doesn't explain. So ask or stay ignorant. In the end though pets aren't a necessity of life even though they do make it more enjoyable so if you just can't stand paying all those fees don't have animals its simple as that. Plus a really good plan is to invest in some pet insurance. We got some for our horses and dogs and while we haven't had to use it, it is nice to know that its there when we need it. Just like medical insurance for you, it keeps the cost to you for your petcare down. I guarantee that if you had to pay for medical care (even just a cold) without any insurance it would be a lot more devastating than your vet bill.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 1:53AM
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