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Inflation at the Vet's office, up over 20%
Old 09-20-2014, 01:13 AM   #1
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Inflation at the Vet's office, up over 20%

Called mid morn. to make an appointment for one of the critters , expecting the usual " no appointments available , all times booked " , but got, "When do you want to come in " I haven't been in for several months. The place ( A branch of VCA , is usually packed) , not many critters or owners in the waiting room today.

Now I know why. Daytime office exam went from $45 to $ 57.50 ! Now that's real inflation.

I didn't think to ask about the emergency hours exam rate ( used to be $75 for weekdays after 6 or Sundays)

This place is owned by the parent company, the Vet sold his practice to VCA about 12 years ago, but he still works as an employee. Staff vet , I haven't seen before. Recommended lot's of stuff, as is the usual with this place, and I decline most. They even have house brand veterinary drugs ! I might have to go back to work if I bought all recommended lab work, and other stuff they push. L.O.L. They do (or did) have some very good vet's at this location.

Took a look at the stock , "WOOF" , they lag the s and p over 5 years, but really up a lot in the last 18 mo.

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Old 09-20-2014, 06:11 AM   #2
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When we first moved to current town, we found a great local group of vets with a close location and emergency hours. We liked the vets and the service was good. They were bought out by VCA after two years and we saw an immediate increase in fees and pushing for added services. Continued to go for one more year and then they dropped the emergency hours. We never used the emergency hours service but it is a comfort to know your vet has it. Fed up with the costs and the incessant attempts to add services that they admitted would be 'just a good idea' because our dogs could be at risk we threw in the towel and found another vet office. That was five years ago - our dogs our healthy, happy and love the vet we go to. Also, they don't seem to be 'at risk' anymore. Funny how that worked out.

I have noticed that an independent vet close to us recently sold to VCA. Their parking lot used to be full most of the time. I drive by now and maybe see just one or two cars. The change is dramatic. I am not sure the same vet(s) are there though.

Perhaps others will have positive comments about VCA. Nothing against the vets that work at those locations. Just my personal experience that the service offering and pricing eroded dramatically.

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Old 09-20-2014, 04:04 PM   #3
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The '20% inflation' title might be a little misleading. When did they last increase prices? Did all their prices increase by 20% across the board? IME experience small, established businesses usually don't have annual price increases, they try to avoid increases and then often need a larger increase (if competition allows). I never worried about the cost of care for our dogs, usually seemed like a bargain to keep our furry family members healthy. YMMV
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Old 09-21-2014, 11:20 AM   #4
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I'm wondering how much longer I can afford to have my cats. Vet bills easily $250/month for various medications/illnesses for four cats, none of which are in really poor health.
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Old 09-21-2014, 11:35 AM   #5
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Friends of mine used to own a Golden Retriever, who had a lot of medical problems and they finally had to have her put to sleep.

I remember them telling me they wanted another dog, but weren't going to get one until they had saved $10k to $15k for future medical expenses, and that doesn't include the cost of the dog.

I asked them why they didn't get pet insurance, but the way they explained it, with breeds that have a lot of known potential health conditions, there's a lot of fine print and red tape, so insurance might not pay out much anyway. So they just decided to "self-insure" and save up in advance of possible complications.
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Old 09-21-2014, 12:17 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Rusa View Post
I'm wondering how much longer I can afford to have my cats. Vet bills easily $250/month for various medications/illnesses for four cats, none of which are in really poor health.

It might be worth it to inquire at your local people pharmacy if they fill pet prescriptions. My cat takes a daily prescription that cost $30 per month at the vet, but I now get it at Target pharmacy for $4 per month. Quite a savings!

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Old 09-21-2014, 12:42 PM   #7
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We have no pets, except for the deer, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunk, raccoons, groundhogs and the 40+ species of birds that live with us at the lake.

When the new Vet Hospital opened a year ago, I was fascinated by the lighted changeable sign at the entrance.. that featured Pre-school, Spas and Massage, Pregnancy Classes, Social Hour, Swim Lessons, Psychological evaluations etc, etc.

Some excerpts from the website:
Basic Services

Laser and soft tissue surgery,

Minimally invasive procedures such as laproscopic ovarioectomy/ovariohysterectomy, incisional gastropexy, biopsy, cystoscopic calculi and polyp removal, rhinoscopy, video-otoscopy, nasopharyngeal polyp removal

Orthopedic procedures such as tibial tuberosity advancement (TTA), hemilaminectomy for intervertebral disk disease, anterior cruciate repair, patellar luxation, and fracture repair

Dentistry – prophylaxsis (cleaning), extractions, feline stomatitis treatment, root canals, interceptive orthodontics, digital radiography

Complete diagnostic laboratory – Quick blood and urine results in minutes not days

Ultrasound – abdominal, cardiac, and pregnancy

Underwater treadmill – you get the benefits of resistance and buoyancy to work muscles with minimal joint impact

Cold Laser Therapy – Using infrared light energy, this modality speeds healing of tissues and decreases pain

Thermal Ultrasound – Sound waves are used to warm tissues and improve elasticity of tight ligaments and muscles

TENS and Electical Stimulation – electical stimulation to decrease pain and improve muscle tone

Rehabilitation Exercises – a complete system of manuevers designed to improve flexion and extention of affected joints. Often, these are incorporated for “at home” treatments.

Massage – used to reduce post-operative edema, decrease tightness of muscles and improve well-being

Thermal Therapy – cold or hot treatments to reduce edema and improve flexibility

More Services

Pain Managment & Control
Microchip pet Identification
Exotic Pet Medicine
Boarding and Day Care
Puppy Pre-school & Canine Training

All of these services have multiple facets.... Puppy pre-school, for instance has this
as an outline:
Learn how to:

Teach bite inhibition
Benefit from crate training
Make Vet visits easier
Make housebreaking easier
Build self confidence
Control play biting
Control dominance
Overcome fears and phobias
.................................................. ...............................
And I thought Vets were there to fix broken legs, check diets and weight, check for worms, and like that.

So when my next door neighbor passed away, her old dog went to live with another person, but the shock was too much, and Jennie (the dog), died on the way to the vet. The story didn't end there. My neighbor had provided for the pet, in case she (my neighbor) should die. It ended up with a $700 funeral including casket, burial service but not including the extra $150 for perpetual care.

Now I know that having a pet means taking responsibility for a dumb animal, but I had to question the $3200 one of my sons spent last year, caring for his two aging Labs, or the $400 dentist's bill for his own son's Pug.

About 20 years ago, my first come-uppance was when my youngest recently married son came to me for a loan of $200 to pay for a psychiatrist for Daphne, the cat, who was visibly disturbed when my son argued with his wife. They soon after separated... (son and wife). Cat ran away.

A far cry from the days when I was a kid... when almost every family had a pet....the pets ran free, and there were probably only 2 or 3 Vets for the town's entire population of 80,000 persons.
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Old 09-21-2014, 12:45 PM   #8
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I'm glad our vet is still independent. We only see them for an annual check up and bortodella shots before we kennel when we go on vacation. Prices have stayed steady for the 4 years we've had the dog. They do "suggest" a bunch of stuff we decline... designer foods, etc. But when we asked more detailed questions - turns out the vet uses the same food we do (kirkland brand.)
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Old 09-21-2014, 01:31 PM   #9
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One surprising thing , the office is 24/7 , and during off-hours, usually only one vet on duty. Before ER, I was working and doing elder-care, so a typical day was 14 hours. Sometimes I had to take a critter in for a routine thing during " Emergency" hours.Off-hours Exam $ 30 higher, I get it, and understand. The vet usually was busy with true emergencies, and didn't do the suggestive selling of extra services, just get the care , and get the pet and owner home asap if possible. Not only convenient , but I don't think the overall bills were any higher.

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