Question for Meghane/other vets

pandanokeMarch 23, 2010

OK, so I have a bit of a dilemma, and I don't know what to do! We have three dogs, and also foster a dog for an animal rescue that I volunteer for. This rescue also has a clinic that does low-cost vaccines/rabies shots. Our dogs have a regular vet that we adore, but who's prices are on the higher side, especially when compared to the rescue's prices.

The logical side of me says "Of course, save the money and get the yearly shots done at the clinic". The 'feeling' side of me thinks that my vet might feel some disloyalty from me in not giving them all of my business, because they have been good to us.

I've been wrangling with this for a couple of months now, and of course, 2 of the dogs are now overdue on their shots. (the third had to be seen for something else, and got her shots then, which was the reminder of how expensive they are). I'm not talking a difference of a couple of bucks. If it were that small, it would be a no-brainer. The clinic is $10 for the visit and $10 for each shot, as opposed to about three times that at our vet.

I'd love to get opinions on this....thank you!

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Is the clinic doing a wellness exam along with the shots?

I like my vet to get his hands on my dogs at least once a year. He listens to their heart and lungs, he feels their spines, legs and toes. He looks into their eyes, nose, ears and mouth. He asks me questions about their eating and drinking habits.

Maybe you could ask your vet how much a wellness exam would cost, without the shots?

My vet would rather I get the shots cheaply at a clinic, than not at all.

My vet gives a multiple pet discount. If we bring them in all on the same day, we get a 10-20 percent off the entire bill. Depending upon the total bill. At one time I had three dogs and a cat. But now we are just down to two dogs.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 2:54PM
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I had the same dilemma last year. My vet wanted $220 for shots and a wellness exam. The local clinic charged $55 for the shots, heartworm and fecal testing. Before I went ahead I called my vet and explained that money was tight etc etc, and what I proposed to do. She said fine, and that next time I took my dogs in to her she would do a wellness check as part of the office visit. As I have two dogs this was quite a saving.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 4:45PM
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Anyone can stab some shots into a dog- you can buy vaccines from the feed store and do it yourself for very cheap. The vet who has time to assess every patient's risk, perform a complete PE, and develops an appropriate wellness plan tailored to that individual's needs is worth the extra money IMHO. If the rescue clinic's vet has the time to assess everything- your pet's lifestyle and risk factors, carefully evaluate heart, lungs, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, look for orthopedic or neurologic problems, palpate the abdomen, etc., discuss diet, exercise, and any other issues your pet may be facing, discuss HWP and flea control options, dispense or Rx those things- for $10 then by all means take advantage of it! They may be subsidized by donations or taxes and can afford to offer full service because of that. Otherwise, I'd not risk missing potential serious health problems caused by overvaccinating or performing a quick PE and go to your regular vet at least for the PE.

Most dogs and cats don't need annual vaccines, anyway. There are potentially serious risks to vaccinating too much, just as there are serious risks to missing other vaccines or health care.

The most important aspect of pet health care is the PE and developing an appropriate wellness plan. Vaccines are only a small part of the wellness plan. Personally, I think vets who emphasize vaccines are missing the real deal. Like I mentioned before, anyone can give a vaccine (not Rabies but everything else) but not everyone knows which vaccines, how often, and what to do beyond that.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 8:02PM
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"Most dogs and cats don't need annual vaccines, anyway. There are potentially serious risks to vaccinating too much, just as there are serious risks to missing other vaccines or health care."

Well, there ya go.

don't know about your state, but in Texas, the only vaccine that *has* to be administered by a vet is rabies, & you can get 3-year dosages of that.

If money weren't flowing freely, & my pets seemed healthy, I'd get the rabies vaccine at the low-cost vet & wait a while on the others.

If I had foster pets, I'd be very sure that the vaccines are still effective;
check with your private vet & with the low-cost clinic to see how much it would cost to check titers, the levels of anti-bodies in your pet's system.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 5:20PM
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I totally agree with sylviatexas. We buy the 3/5-in-one vaccines at Farm & Fleet for puppies/kittens. Then, nothing but the three-year Rabies. The shots cost about $5 ea. at F&F. If there are problems, then of course you take them to the vet --- if not, why?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 2:26PM
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