Below is a list of some of the most frequently asked questions:
Why is veterinary care for my pet(s) so expensive? Sometimes I believe I'm spending more on my pet's health care than on my own!
Relatively speaking, veterinary care is a great value! The cost of veterinary care has risen very little over the last 20 to 30 years, especially when compared to the cost of human health care or almost any other services.
Veterinary fees are a reflection of the costs of maintaining suitable facilities, equipment and support personnel to provide the level of care that is expected in animal medicine today. Remember, too, the original cost of the animal has no bearing on the cost of services delivered. Annual veterinary care is a cost that should be factored in to the decision to own a pet.
If my veterinarian doesn't clear up my pet's problem, can I get a refund?
Fees cover what is done for the animal including an examination, administration of tests, diagnosis, treatment and medications. Some problems can be long term or involve multiple and/or changing causes. Treatment may be ongoing.
To effect a cure is not always possible. You are paying for an honest attempt to diagnose and treat a problem. There is no implied guarantee.
My veterinarian says my pet's office visit / vaccinations / surgery / medication, etc. adds up to a couple hundred dollars or more! I just don't have that kind of money all at once. What about terms...a payment plan that's fair to both parties?
Like most other professional offices you visit (your dentist, chiropractor, lawyer, etc.) fees are payable at the time service is rendered.
Your best course of action is to call your veterinary hospital ahead of time and inquire about alternative payment methods. Our office manager will be happy to clarify the payment policy.
We recommend you try to budget for veterinary care in your household budget.
Many veterinary preventive health care services can be staggered over a period of time, rather than doing "everything" in one visit. Your veterinarian can best advise you which procedures can be deferred, if necessary.>br> We also accept payment by major credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover) and also offer CARE Credit. This is especially helpful at the time of a medical emergency.
Isn't the cost of veterinary medicine out of sight and unreasonable? I mean, we're "just" talking about animal care. I thought my doctor really cared and would go the extra mile for me.
The extent of care given to any animal is ultimately determined by its owner. Every pet owner has different ideas as to what is acceptable pet care. Veterinarians can only make their clients aware of the medical options that are available. Then, they guide owners in their choices regarding the most important health care options for their pets. The final decision and choices rest with the owner. Veterinarians are willing and do go the extra mile for pet owners, but owners should be prepared for the associated expenses and understand that the veterinarian should be compensated for his/her professional services and related expenses.
Why should I spay or neuter my pet? Why does it cost what it does?
There are long term health benefits to your pet when it is spayed or neutered. Ask your veterinarian to explain these. Obviously, the primary benefit is controlling the pet population and reducing the numbers of unplanned, unwanted pets. Spay and neuter procedures are major surgery for your pet. The average spay or neuter costs less than an automobile tune-up. The procedure requires the time of a veterinarian and a surgical technician, newly-sterilized surgical instruments, general anesthesia, drapes, suture material, and hospitalization. When measured against the cost of feeding and nurturing unwanted kittens or puppies, spaying/neutering is much more cost-effective.
Why is there such a wide range of prices for the same procedure(s) among veterinarians?
Fees are set by each individual veterinary practice and each has different expenses that are covered by the fees charged (i.e., salaries, rent, utilities). Often, the different fees do not reflect the same set of services, although there may be certain basic procedures in common. Each veterinarian sets the fees for services based on varying criteria, such as different drugs, anesthetics, antibiotics, medical techniques and products, which may have a bearing on the cost of the services. When comparing fees, be sure to inquire about these variables. In addition, you might ask for a tour of the hospital so that you can judge for yourself, the quality and competentcy each staff may provide.
My injured (sick) pet needs to be seen by a veterinarian for prompt attention, but: a) I just lost my job...b) I don't get my next pay for another two weeks...c) I barely have enough money to put food on the table...d) etcetera
Most pet owners have a regular veterinarian who will work out a payment plan with his/her regular clients. The problem arises with people who have pets that do not get regular veterinary care, but demand and seek services in an emergency situation without guaranteeing payment. If you choose not to establish yourself with a veterinary practice, you should give consideration to how you will manage the financial aspect of an emergency situation involving your pet.
I've heard that there may be pet health insurance available. Is my pet eligible and what is covered?
Third party health insurance is available for pets. As with human health insurance, different companies offer various levels of coverage which have a wide range of deductibles and premiums. There are also certain restrictions on which conditions, injuries and procedures are covered. For more information about pet health insurance, see www.petinsurance.com
Why can't veterinarians advise, diagnose and/or prescribe over the phone and save me a whole lot of time and money?
Not only is it unethical and illegal to prescribe for an animal that hasn't been physically examined by a veterinarian, it is also impossible to come up with an accurate diagnosis and rational plan of treatment. A veterinarian can't make a diagnoses based on symptoms only as observed by an owner. The outward signs may be an indication of any number of internal causes with a wide variety of clinical treatments. A complete physical examination and other diagnostic tests are required to determine the cause of the symptoms and best course of treatment.
Why do I have to pay for a follow-up examination if I paid for an examination on the first visit?
When your veterinarian recommends a re-examination, it is because he or she feels it is important to determine whether or not the problem is improved or if further treatment is warranted. Just because the symptoms have improve, does not necessarily mean that the problem has been completely resolved. The hospital must charge for the time involved to cover our overhead. This fee is usually less than the initial exam. If we built this fee into our original fee, it would not be fair to those clients whose pets did not require a re-examination.
Why does my dog need a Bordetella (kennel cough) vaccine to board or groom if I keep it up-to-date on its other vaccines?
Bordetella is a highly contagious, upper respiratory disease of dogs. It is spread from dog to dog by inhaling air containing the bacteria from an infected dog. Stress and confinement increases this risk of infection. Vaccination protects your pet, other pets and the hospital.