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Veterinarian
Old 01-23-2014, 06:55 PM   #1
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Veterinarian

We moved about an hours drive away from where we used to live three years ago, so we had to find a new vet.

We have a 16 year old dog who has been licking to the point of causing the skin to break so we've been going to the vet quite a bit in the last few months, but we don't seem any closer to finding a solution. The vet wanted us to have his teeth cleaned too, but at 16 years old, we said no.

Yesterday, I took our two cats in to this vet. It was close to $300 for each cat to get to vaccinations and to have a basic examination. She said our 7 year old female cat would need her teeth cleaned next year as there was a little bit of plaque building up. Then she said Tyler, our handsome male cat, needed a tooth pulled and his teeth cleaned. She explained that some cats, and they don't know why, are prone to cavities and have chronic teeth problems. She said it would be between $800 and $900 dollars!!!!

Today, I did the hour drive back to our old vet to see what she would charge to clean the teeth and pull the one tooth. She said Tyler's teeth were pristine and the little bit of inflammation was nothing to worry about and that she wouldn't even prescribe an antibiotic for it. She said it would be criminal to do that work on the cat. She also agreed that we should not have our 16 year old dog's teeth cleaned. I am guessing our female cats teeth are just fine too.

I know to have my guard up when I walk onto a car lot, but a medical doctor should be ethical. This makes me quite sad as well as angry.
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:29 PM   #2
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I know to have my guard up when I walk onto a car lot, but a medical doctor should be ethical.


Wherever did you get that idea?

Remember the sign outside the Springfield Dentistry office on The Simpsons?

It says: Springfield Dentistry. No matter how you're brushing you're doing it wrong
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:31 PM   #3
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Your post reminded me of this tv news story I saw: Some Veterinarians Sell Unnecessary Shots, Tests to Make Extra Money, Says Former Vet - ABC News

Our vet recommends, at every visit, teeth cleaning for our dog, starting when she was six months old (she is two now. Two!). We just laugh. She also recommended we buy special magical teeth cleaning water to give her in lieu of tap water. Right.

Not to say your new vet is wrong, but my good friend's elderly cat never recovered from a teeth cleaning by a new vet who pulled several teeth. Like you, my friend drove many miles back to her old vet, who was dumbfounded.
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:48 PM   #4
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This doesn't surprise me one bit. More and more they are just in the business of sales. Sadly, I feel dentists are one the same path.

Earlier this year our cat started losing weight and generally didn't look too healthy. A farmer friend of mine mentioned that he most likely ate something that had been dead all winter and then ingested it after the snow melt. Said I should get the vet to put him on an anti-biotic and he'd be fine. Well, of course the vet wanted to do $400 worth of tests before prescribing an anti-biotic. Said it would be unethical to just give the anti-biotic without knowing what the problem was. Well, long story short, the vet couldn't find anything in the tests and then prescribed an anti-biotic, after which the cat quickly recovered. So I guess it's not unethical as long as you've gotten your $400 first.

Since then, I've spoken to a family member who is in the vet business, and he says, "there is little to no money in treatment, the money is in diagnostics". Hence, test, test, test. Buyer beware.
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Old 01-23-2014, 08:12 PM   #5
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Vet care has gotten out of control. I like our vet(s) but it is clearly a business to make money. Not that there's anything wrong with making money. I love my dogs, but when offered chemotherapy for a a 12 yo dog at thousands of dollars and what, maybe at best another year of life, I'll decline. I have a friend who's spent thousands on two of his 5 rescues that got cancers.

Clearly, if you want to RE it's best to decline children and pets! I've had both (between 1-3 dogs at a time and two kids) and wouldn't have declined any of the experiences (well, there was one nutty dog, that's a long story) but they aren't cheap!

On a side note, read an article that vets are graduating with up to $300k in student loans and making $60 a year to start. Pet population is declining so doesn't look good. Clearly the older owners of the practices are doing well though.
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Old 01-23-2014, 10:00 PM   #6
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The sad thing is that no one is surprised by this behavior to take advantage of owners' love for their pets to rip them off, and put their loved pets through a lot of unnecessary anguish.

So glad to hear that you were able to go back to your old vet.
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Old 01-23-2014, 10:19 PM   #7
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I had my two cats in for boarding and when I got back the cat who had the heart murmur no longer does, and the cat that didn't now does! Now they want a chest X-ray...if it goes away in one cat why won't it go away in the other? Estimate? $900. Then they said the two year old cat has major dental issues, $1200.

When I was a kid I never heard of any animal getting their teeth cleaned! But every time I walk in the door, with a dog or a cat, it's all about the teeth!
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Old 01-23-2014, 11:19 PM   #8
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My daughter works in a high-end pet facility as a groomer. She has her own client base and does OK. The facility has roughly boarding 100 cages (@$40/day) and deluxe boarding rooms (@ $50/day) and an active vet practice. The stories she tells me are hair raising about the strategy for the vet side of the business. I can't even publish them here. Even groomers are supposed to upsell the customers with services, treatments, etc.

Where she works has gone from a sleepy, local vet-owned practice that once charged $40 for a physical and shots to a multimillion dollar pet emporium. (and it has several locations too!).

All in all, its a dog-eat-dog world, and everyone is wearing milk bone underwear. $$$$
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Old 01-23-2014, 11:20 PM   #9
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Cat dental care is your vet's annuity. Just sat NO
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Old 01-23-2014, 11:23 PM   #10
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My neighbor had his 16 year old dog put down right after Christmas. The cost was nearly $400.

Another neighbor's elderly father passed away about a week later and he was cremated and a death certificate provided for $595.00.
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Veterinarian
Old 01-24-2014, 06:51 AM   #11
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Veterinarian

I think it is fair to say I've had more animals pass through my house than most folks here (60 and still counting with fosters) and my own 5 current dogs and 6 cats. I've not had teeth cleanings done for mine, but there are some dogs (and cats, I guess) who are more prone to tartar build up. If you are okay with them maybe losing some teeth, which isn't a really big deal, then don't sweat it. But like in people, the gateway for infections elsewhere in the body is the mouth.

I don't do cancer treatment, instead we try for quality over quantity of life, and say goodbye without holding on too long (though this is a hard call to make). Once they pass, we dig a free hole in the yard and remember them fondly.

My vets, a married couple, are personal friends who share our philosophy. Good folks and we are lucky to have them. I work with maybe two dozen facets in the Carolinas and Georgia as the treasurer on our rescue group, and they are by and large understanding of the limited resources of the rescue. Only a few times have I had to put the kibosh on an expensive procedure. We are fundraising right now for a dog that will wire have a $3k surgery or an amputation. The fundraising is already over $2k so we hope the vet school in Georgia will so the surgery for less.

I'm sorry to the folks that have seen the more mercenary side of vet care. I've been fortunate to see it rarely.
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Old 01-24-2014, 09:09 AM   #12
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We had a Malteese, they're prone to dental issues. He had a couple of cleanings when he was younger. Later the vet did remove his worst teeth.

At 16 I would never allow a dog to be put through being knocked out for cleaning. That's not right.

Sadly a friend just lost their 17 year old taco. Every vet told them they would require an EKG before euthanasia. Why, the dogs heart was failing, what good would an EKG do?
The best vets I've used also do large animal care. They seem more reasonable than the commercial pet vets. YMMV.
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Old 01-24-2014, 09:31 AM   #13
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Ask your old vet for a recommendation for a vet in your new area. They already know you are not happy with the one you selected. They know who does good work and who doesn't.
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Old 01-24-2014, 09:47 AM   #14
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Ask your old vet for a recommendation for a vet in your new area. They already know you are not happy with the one you selected. They know who does good work and who doesn't.
+1, or be prepared for an hour's drive to the vet you trust.

We were very lucky with our 2 cats that we'd had as kittens from the same litter. For the first 14 years we were able to use the same Vet before moving out of State. They had annual check ups and shots and were never sick or had their teeth cleaned. Similarly with our new vet. At 16 one of the cats got up and left home, and a few months later the other started losing weight and stopped eating. When we took her in the vet said that her kidneys had failed and said that dialysis was an option, but not one he'd recommend. Euthanasia and cremation cost was ~$150. (this was in 2006)
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Old 01-24-2014, 10:05 AM   #15
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An ex co-worker recently found that her beloved doggie had cancer. He was old, but she decided to go for the treatment. She doesn't have much money, so did a fundraiser and was able to raise some of the cash (though I don't believe all of it). She was determined to keep her pet, but he passed away a few months later.

Sometimes, you just have to let go. I have 3 indoor cats living with me in a tiny studio and for my budget, that is my limit. I take them for annual check-ups and am prepared for larger expenses - even big ones if necessary. When they are older though, I will take the same view that Sarah does - quality over quantity of life.

Two of my kitties came from foster agencies, and had some teeth extracted before making it to me. One of them needed bladder stone removal surgery shortly after I adopted her. The agency was really helpful and did an online fundraiser to cover the cost of surgery. They went above and beyond with that, and it was a great help. Another of mine, a senior, came from a different local adoption agency who have a fantastic program that covers vet bills for life for senior cats adopted from them (senior being interpreted as 10 years and over). I recently had to take her to the vet for a urinary infection and the program worked like a charm - the vet already knows that this particular girl is covered. With 3 kitties on a low income, it's comforting to know that this lady's bills are covered. PS - anyone living in the East SF Bay who is interested in adopting an older cat with vet bills covered for life, PM me for the info. It's great for people/seniors etc on a low income who would love the companionship of a pet.

Sorry for the thread drift - and sorry that you had bad luck with your new vet Helen. I think Gotadimple's suggestion is a good one - ask your old vet for a recommendation in your new area, and hope you manage to find a good one soon!
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Old 01-24-2014, 10:18 AM   #16
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I have always been an animal person. At one point we had (DW and I) 5 dogs and 4 cats - we are down to 1 dog, 5 cats AND a pot bellied pig...all volunteers. Yup they all were dumped and showed up on our property. We live by a creek and a small lake with lots of woods - some folks convince themselves that dumping the animal there will be fine - water and plenty of grass/game to be had . All of these volunteers have been good company and have added a lot to our lives. But can be expensive.

We finally found a vet that is reasonable. Teeth cleaning is big money for the vet office - it is done by a Tech in about 1/2 an hour and they charge by the tooth! $350 - 500 is often charged at many clinics...My teeth cleaning takes 1/2 an hour, done by a tech and cost $50 clams. But they don't need to knock me out...kind of wish they would tho
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Old 01-24-2014, 10:18 AM   #17
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Beware of dentists, too! Years ago a dentist wanted me to replace all of my childhood fillings because they were getting old. I was a student and couldn't afford to pay off my dentist's student loans so I declined. 25 years later and they are all still there except for two or three of them.
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Old 01-24-2014, 10:39 AM   #18
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Major Tom, that is a great program and such a good way to get homes for older kitties. You are a good guy.
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Old 01-24-2014, 10:58 AM   #19
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Major Tom, that is a great program and such a good way to get homes for older kitties. You are a good guy.
And you are a savior for being such a prolific foster Sarah. If I wasn't so tight on space here, I'd foster in a heartbeat. My 3 have learned to live together, but any extra animals in here really upset the dynamic. I learned that when I had to foster a lovely Maine Coon in my bathroom for 2 weeks because his favorite pastime was to race around after my 3 cats at top speed. In a small studio, it was quite a spectacle! The youngest, who thinks she's the "top dog" suffered an extremely bruised ego, and the 11 year-old shy kitty peed on my pillow in protest. I don't mind picking up hairballs and dingleberries, but you gotta draw the line at cat pee

I think the true test of an animal lover is their reaction to stepping in a squishy dingleberry with bare feet when making a middle-of-the-night bathroom trip. Laughter is the sign of a true animal lover
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Old 01-24-2014, 11:14 AM   #20
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I don't mind picking up hairballs and dingleberries, but you gotta draw the line at cat pee

I think the true test of an animal lover is their reaction to stepping in a squishy dingleberry with bare feet when making a middle-of-the-night bathroom trip. Laughter is the sign of a true animal lover
Truer words never spoken!
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