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VCA buying Vet Clinics
Old 08-29-2019, 10:03 AM   #1
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VCA buying Vet Clinics

VCA is a corporation that is buying established veterinary practices all over the country. Ours was bought out and they raised the price of a spay from 400 to 950. This clinic already had some of the highest prices because they have all the latest equipment. Many vets have left in the past few years. Has this happened in your area?
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Old 08-29-2019, 10:14 AM   #2
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VCA is a corporation that is buying established veterinary practices all over the country. Ours was bought out and they raised the price of a spay from 400 to 950. This clinic already had some of the highest prices because they have all the latest equipment. Many vets have left in the past few years. Has this happened in your area?
Across the country. VCA has been buying up clinics for years. VCA was bought out by Mars, the candy maker, in 2017.

I stay away from VCA. They are the Edward Jones of veterinary medicine.
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Old 08-29-2019, 10:26 AM   #3
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I was really upset that they sold. Now I need to change vets. The problem is that I have 2 half siblings to a dog that died at 3 due to GME. Vaccines may trigger this so I need a vet that will agree not to vaccinate my dogs. This other clinic knew me well and trusted me. My dogs brain lesions are part of a nationwide study to find the cause. These dogs were vaccinated until Trixie died so most likely immune for life anyway.
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Old 08-29-2019, 11:12 AM   #4
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Our vet practice for the past 20 years was bought by VCA. The same vets are there and more have been added. The prices are up but what is most aggravating to me is that they now routinely ask for more tests more often so I have to say no to those. I do take my dog to the original vet there once a year for a health check and we go over all those things and he tells me which not to add. If it wasnít for that we would be long gone.
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Old 08-29-2019, 11:17 AM   #5
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Our vet practice for the past 20 years was bought by VCA. The same vets are there and more have been added. The prices are up but what is most aggravating to me is that they now routinely ask for more tests more often so I have to say no to those. I do take my dog to the original vet there once a year for a health check and we go over all those things and he tells me which not to add. If it wasn’t for that we would be long gone.
That's the business model. As long as you still have the personal relationship with the vet and prices aren't screamingly unreasonable, you've got a good deal. My vet practice was a large clinic/emergency center and was bought by VCA. Like you I had the relationship, and dog with a long-term condition, and got good advice.

When Mars came in to buy VCA, the FTA required they divest several practices in several states before the deal went through.
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Old 08-29-2019, 11:27 AM   #6
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My little dogs need dentals every few years and they range between 300-1k depending if teeth need to be pulled. If a spay doubled I would hate to see what a dental costs.
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Old 08-29-2019, 11:29 AM   #7
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My little dogs need dentals every few years and they range between 300-1k depending if teeth need to be pulled. If a spay doubled I would hate to see what a dental costs.
If you have a NextDoor on-line community, check for recommendations for dentals for your dog. Locally, some have been recommending specific practices where the vet is experienced at giving dog dental cleanings and the price is more reasonable than the regular vet.
- Rita
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Old 08-29-2019, 11:48 AM   #8
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I will try that but I have checked around before and vet care here is crazy expensive in general. Also have talked to family and friends but despite going different places the prices are about the same. A few people had bad experiences with their vets. It’s one of the reasons as our dogs have passed that we went from 4 to 2 dogs plus it’s easier to travel with 2.
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Old 08-29-2019, 12:09 PM   #9
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Basically it is the same consolidation and price fixing as the funeral home industry underwent years ago. 10 years from now your local vet w reasonable prices will be a thing of the past.

Itís a shame!
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Old 08-29-2019, 01:50 PM   #10
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I will try that but I have checked around before and vet care here is crazy expensive in general. Also have talked to family and friends but despite going different places the prices are about the same. A few people had bad experiences with their vets. It’s one of the reasons as our dogs have passed that we went from 4 to 2 dogs plus it’s easier to travel with 2.
Lucky you don't board them at VCA. They now require dog flu shots, I'd never heard of or needed them before but you can't board the dog at VCA without them and you need to have an additional booster shot 3 weeks later so 2 the first year. I think they were $40 each and at the time I was leaving town the next day so no time to shop around. My local animal shelter offers the shot for $15, lesson learned for next year.
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Old 08-29-2019, 02:17 PM   #11
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I never board my dogs. Neither of them can have any vaccines at after what happened to their sister.
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Old 08-29-2019, 03:27 PM   #12
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Re: boarding
My dog boards at a place I have also used for all our dogs for 20 years, which requires canine flu shots, too.
Now I think VCA is a real bargain, because they charge $17 here and a tech comes out and gives it to him in the front seat of my car. (He is a very sweet and docile pup!)
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Old 08-29-2019, 04:11 PM   #13
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Not just VCA. Our vet was purchased by a smaller consortium of veterinarians that own 5 or 6 practices around the country. Instantly the place became corporate managed and more expensive.
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Old 08-29-2019, 05:25 PM   #14
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The bought out our main vet which we'd already started using less due to the price hikes, but once VCA took over the prices skyrocketed and all the established vets left for independent practices and they replaced them with less than 1 year out of school vets. They made one who had literally just graduated 10 months earlier the medical director just because she was the only one left (before they hired a few more fresh graduates).



The major issue I saw (besides the insane price hikes) is that all the new vets have not developed any bedside manner, are into testing/diagnostics without concern over the pet or owner - that likely served them well in school, but they have not established any real connection of dealing with actual people. I saw people leaving in tears due to the lack of empathy. No proper gravitas to the idea that this was an actual, loved animal and the owner may be very worried and scared about stuff like this.



I know I won't be back, and their reviews plummeted within 6 months after the buyout. They've run off a huge portion of an established customer base.
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Old 08-29-2019, 05:25 PM   #15
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We have a 22 yo indoor only cat i that our vet won't see without vaccinations. I hope that she will at least give her her last going away shot, otherwise I will have to do the deed.
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Old 08-29-2019, 05:34 PM   #16
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Grasshopper there are mobile vets that come to your home and never ask about vaccinations. Frankie’s girl that sounds terrible. I really liked some of the vets that have already left so trying to find out where some went.
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Old 08-29-2019, 07:19 PM   #17
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Wow, VCA bought out our old vet clinic many years ago, but we have had wonderful service, and reasonable pricing! Vet care cost has gone up all around, I've had higher priced care at Banfield Hospitals than VCA.
Our VCA vets office has a vet acupuncturist and chiropractor, who has worked wonders with our big guy. (don't laugh!, our dog has avoided severe back pain that was previously only treated with pain meds that were hard on his kidneys)
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Old 08-29-2019, 07:37 PM   #18
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We have a referral to a VCA hospital for a follow up consult for one of our dogs. We are going with much trepidation. The last time we went to a VCA was in another city, and we needed to get a dogs hip fixed. It took them three tries and finally we gave up to give the poor dog some peace. That was one expensive episode.
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Old 08-29-2019, 07:59 PM   #19
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I wonder what goes on in a corporate meeting that provokes someone who makes candy bars to decide to go into the veterinary business .
I worked near the HQ of Mars in Mclean. The head of the business was known for his frugality and stubbornness . Not a big one for change.
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Old 08-29-2019, 08:37 PM   #20
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Pacer, we have done laser, chiropractor and acupuncture for our big old guy.
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