I don't have to tell you that vet visits can get pretty expensive. Over the years, because of my books and websites, I have become friends with several wonderful veterinarians.

As my friendship with them has developed, I have discovered that not all vets are the same. My vet friends have revealed some of the secrets that they don't want the average person to know about the business of veterinary medicine.

It seems that some vets are more motivated than money than their clients may assume. You see, when someone brings their dog or cat in for a visit (or an emergency procedure), the vet often has options on what they do.

Unfortunately, some vets take advantage of the situation and do things that are as much designed to make a profit as they are to help your pet.

This is just one of the ways you can be overcharged by your vet. There are some important questions you can ask to avoid the unnecessary procedures and charges. Every pet owner should know what to ask and be an INFORMED consumer.

That is why I am so happy that my friend, Dr. Andrew Jones who is a practicing vet in Canada put together a special report called The Top 10 Ways to Avoid Getting Overcharged By Your Vet.

Dr. Jones has given me permission to give you the report for free. Just download the PDF from the link below.

After you have downloaded and read the report, I hope you will post your thoughts here in this discussion forum.

I would love to hear your ideas about other ways to prevent getting overcharged at the vet.

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I have had pretty good luck with our vet. He is not the cheapest but the care is terrific. When I have to put one of them on a long term medication I go to Drs. foster and Smith and check out their prices for meds. I take the form to my vet and ask for a perscription for it and he says he will give it to me for the same price so I don't have to order it. Every time they want to clip their toe nails I tell them know for $16.00 I can do it at home and they will usually do it for me at no charge. So he is pretty good. I haven't tried to ask for a discount, but I do get a 10% senior discount which helps.
Sounds good to me, but is contrary to law. California is the only state I know that allows 3 year rabies vaccinations. Other states, cities, and counties require yearly even if a vet says that yearly is too frequent!

My vet charges for the meds, for the container, and a dispensing fee which can make the price outrageous. Many meds legally require a prescription and most vets are unwilling to write a script; however, my vet will call the pharmacy if it is something he does not stock. The medicine costs much less at the Pharmacy if I ask my doctor for a script (telling him it is for the dog) than if the vet calls the pharmacy.

As for toenail trimming, it is included as a part of grooming at my vet's. Also if you walk the dog frequently on pavement, their nails won't need trimming since they will wear thewmselves down.

I take my dog in for a "medicated" bath. The "medicated" is a $5 extra charge but the whole bottle was $15 from the vet. I got the container 3 years ago, and we are still using the same container! I bet at $5 per bath, that $15 container brings in $200! I just take it to the vets for each bath.
I've been subscribing and reading to Dr. Jones's emails and blogs for some time now and have found him to have a high level of love for animals of all breeds and sizes. His passion for animals has led him to discover alternative therapies for animals, rather than relying on the pharmaceutical companies. He encourages pet guardians to learn emergency accessment, to take a medical interest in your pet and gain as much knowledge and you can - and he shares the information, instead of keeping owners in the dark and pocketing the money. He's also discussed the issues of yearly vaccines, making your own pet food and knowing what the side effects of certain medications could do to your pet. He is one of a kind and I have learned much information from him, his emails and website.
Thank you VERY much for the link to Dr. Jones; I know of several people who can benefit from this man's wisdom and compassion so I will print this out for them, too.

You don't have to tell me that that there are vets who overcharge! After all, if a doctor for humans gets away with this for his human patients, what is to prevent a vet from doing it as well?

The best vet I ever dealt with used to gently insist that the owners be present in the room as he examined their animals and to ask as many questions as possible. I was also encouraged to be in the room when he performed minor surgery with the proviso: "If you think you'll faint, fall backwards"!
He also had a holistic approach to animal health and while I wish him well in his retirement, I sure do miss his gentle and loving touch with my animals.

It is very tough to find a good vet that seems to actually enjoy animals and will also respect your wallet at the same time. I went through 4 vets in one year who all kept missing that the reason my cat had rotting teeth was due to kidney failure. When the last vet we visited explained the connection, I wondered why the other vets I had dragged my poor Tiger to had missed it. Then I started thinking of the money they had received for the wrong diagnosis over and over.

I also learned that getting a second opinion is always a good idea.

I still see this good vet and even though the distance to his practice is about 20 miles, one way, I am glad that he treats my animals and have recommended him many times to other pet owners.

Thank you again for providing this wonderful link. God bless you and Maui, too! She's fortunate to have such a caring family. Hugs to Maui and her buddies from all of us, 2 legged and 4 legged.
Thank you for this very informative report. We have a visit with a new vet tomorrow morning for teeth cleaning and I am so glad I read this first. I now will be more informed before I walk in the door. This vet already quoted me a price $100 less than another vet we used for gingivitis. The first vet was afraid of our dog just because he was a dalmatian. He is a very timid, mild mannered dog but had to be sedated to be examined which I now regret. Not only was it $64 just for the sedative but the dog was dopey for 12 hours which seems excessively long.
I visit the vet once a year for vaccinations for my Flash and it is interesting that it may not always be that necessary that often. My cat gets a check up too. Her teeth, coat, heart, and general condition is examined. We get a discount for flea treatments. It is overall a good session but may be not always so necessary. I take that on board and that lots can be done at home with checking for skin conditions, changes in habits and above all talking to other pet owners and their experiences and tips may be a gold minefield and views on their vets. Thank you for providing information about petcare with vets. It gives an opportunity to re-assess the routines and care they receive at home and with their vet.
thank you for sharing this information with me...I had vet for years who was the best and then he retired and the one that took over is money hungry and requires all sorts of tests and meds that are not really needed ,otherwise she will not sell you heartworm prevention even though you have always bought it from there and she knows all the dogs(8 of them ) so I went to other vet and he charges same as low priced place on the internet and even has specials for me for having so many fur babies...he is truly a good vet and a God-send (angel for sure) again thank you!
Boy, oh, boy. This article could not have been written at a more appropriate time for me. On June 12, 2007, my beloved, almost 13 year-old Golden Retriever, Bailey, died. He was euthanized, but not before the "specialist" literally bullied me into a week of unnecessary "intensive" care for him. When I say, "bully" I mean it: Bailey had colitis, arthritis, hypothyroidism, an adrenal tumour, and megaesophagus (because of which he had contracted pneumonia). It was clear from having lived with Bailey from the age of 7 weeks that he had had enough. He'd been fighting since January and he made it clear to me that this was it. When I took him to my regular vet, I expected to make the decision to euthanize him. Instead, they booked an appointment for me with a Toronto specialists' clinic (anyone who lives in Toronto probably knows which one I mean.). The "internist" there refused to admit that Bailey was dying and he hooked him up to a bunch of machines and did tests without even asking me. He never even gave me a choice. When I announced that I wanted to take Bailey home and have him die at home, he told me that taking him home amounted to "dog abuse" (!!!!!) and that he would have to take legal action to prevent it! Anyone who loves her/his dog can imagine the state I was in. Losing Bailey was bad enough. Losing him this way, while watching him suffer, was a nightmare. One week of hospitalization later, this horrible vet called me to tell me that he didn't think Bailey would make it through the night (I had just arrived home from visiting him, ironically). After I returned and made the decision to euthanize my dog, I was completely, emotionally, spent -- not only by the loss, but by all the fighting I had had to do with the vet. The final bill, for one week of unnecessary treatment: $5300.00.

This story is not about money, though. It's about the outright abuse that clients of these vets are subjected to -- when they are most vulnerable, of course. Something has to be done and arming yourself with knowledge is just the first step.
Susan,
Sorry for your loss. I think there is a Board of Veterinary Medicine just like licensing for people doctors that you could complain to.

A similiar thing happened to Butch, my Lab/Pitt about 10 years ago. He had the trotts and then couldn't eat. He was 13 and I felt had lived a full lfe but the vet said that Butch had many more years ahead of him and sent him to an internal specialist teaching hospital for testing. The testing revealed nothing, The internal vet wanted to keep him another day for a different test. I instructed the staff to walk Butch to go to the bathroom and later discovered they thought "walk" meant "walk to an outside cage." He was the kind of personality that couldn't be kenneled and consequently he didn't go to the bathroom. He developed peritonitis during the night after his stomach ruptured. It cost over $2500 for that dog to die and the interal vet charged $45 for a biopsy. I questioned the charge and he said it was because he wanted to know why Butch died. I argued about that and he finally credited the $45. I would never take any animal to that "clinic."
Hi Andy,

Thanks for responding. I am sorry for your loss, as well.

I agree that I should have complained but, like many others, I was just too tired and depressed to do it at the time. I think they count on this because not many people have the time and energy to pursue official complaints against professionals. That being said, though, it's important that people realize that these things can happen so that, maybe, they can start to be prevented. It's hard to believe that the vets aren't going to tell you what they're doing every step of the way, but they don't and, if we know that, we can be vigilant. Not knowing what you meant by "walk" is just ridiculous, though, and they, too, should be held to account for the agony they caused your dog and you.
Hi Susan,

Quite frankly, I was grieving too much to complain. I did complain to the vet who referred me to this quack and to another vet where I boarded my next dog (Hank). The 2nd vet's office said that they had heard numerous complaints about the speciality clinic and said that since it was a teaching hospital and the students were interns, not licensed vet, so quality of treatment was lacking. In a weird way, I was glad that Butch was no longer suffering,

As for walking, I did complain to the vet there after Butch died, but it was too late. He had promised me that Butch would be walked when I admited him for testing. Since I was aware that they weren't really walking him, I planned on stopping there to walk him when I got off work at midnight (they were a 24/7 practice) but we had a heavy snow that evening and Butch wasn't strong enough to make it through the snow so I went straight home.

I think the same can be said about doctors. There are many who are good doctors because they really care while others are there for the money and/or just don't give a damn. Fortunately I have a good doctor who extends the visit to twice as long as is typical, writes ADA letters, and fills out disability forms.

My next dog, Hank, developed thyroid cancer. The vet diagnosed it as a behavior problem because Hank appeared normal at the vet's. I was walking him one day and he happened to have difficulty breathing when we stopped at the vet's (as we usually did). The office manager ran to get the vet who replaced my vet on his day off. The 2nd vet said Hank definately had trouble breathing so I left him for xrays. He had surgery to remove the tumor but it had spread to his entire body.(That vet doesn't charge for boarding if the dog is left for treatment the next day since I am disabled and am unable to take the dog in in the morning.) The 2nd vet was wanting me to get chemo for Hank, but I had seen to many humans suffer with chemo. I would have spend the money if I had felt that it would have worked, but I felt like there were 2 chances: slim and none. Hank lived about 3 years after that. I had to learn to walk slower for him and also he had to accept much shorter walks. Hank was a self trained service dog and would alert me if my medication level was low or if I was dehydrated.

Over the last few years, I have found most people don't take the time to complain. At least I am constantly being told that I am the only one who has complained. I just had an incident at Arby's and called the District Manager. He said that was the first time he has heard that complaint and rephrased it to, "At least you are the first to call." He thanked me for taking the time otherwise he would not know there was a problem. Really, people should take the time to complain; but we sure don't feel like complaining when we have just lost a loved one.
I was just charged $2400 for 2 nites --all kinds of tests--dog is chronic kidney failure--I called and asked no tests be done but they said already done! I dont know if the specialist actually saw the dog as she is deaf ,blind and had cancer--so already on Gods time. No good news- I could of reached the same conclusion had I been informed he dog was at12.5function--So now the quality of final days are most important--and the$2400 is gone and so will be my beloved dog. I am considering a complaint to the American Vet Association

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