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Tips to Help Save Your Relationship With Your Veterinarian When Your Finances Change Drastically

January 21, 2014

Reality Check: We Used to be Able to Afford Top Veterinary Care, Now the Vet Takes Us for Granted and We’re Embarrassed to Tell Them

Great smile, big happy tongue, bulging shoulders and belly on a fat labrador retriever

Happy, but too fat for health!

Hershey’s dad was a model top-end veterinary client. The 6-year-old chocolate labrador retriever received all preventative care, including hip x-rays and regular anesthetic tooth cleanings and all diagnostics when she started showing symptoms of diabetes insipidus.

Reviewing her medical history was a dream for Doc Truli. “What could this family’s previous vet possibly have done to lose such a good client?” thought Doc Truli, wishing to avoid the same scenario if possible.

The answer.”They took me for granted and stopped explaining anything they were doing. I still trust them, but I felt disrespected and frankly, I lost my high-paying job and can no longer afford to just say ‘yes’ to everything without prioritizing,” said Hershey’s dad.

So he left. Flew the coop. Sashayed up county to Doc Truli. Wished to start a new veterinary relationship from a fresh perspective. The problem? “Continuity of care is invaluable to saving you money on veterinary care over the years,” says Doc Truli. “If you feel you need to reset the relationship with your veterinarian, go ahead and address it with a trusted nurse or the doctor themselves. If you frequent a large multi-doctor practice that you love and trust, ask to speak with the manager. It’s their job to facilitate your needs.”

How You Save Money Sticking With an Excellent, Trusted Veterinarian

  1. No repeat work-ups. Your veterinarian knows you have already investigated certain avenues.
  2. Understanding your goals for your pet. Some people value longevity, some quality. Some people believe in surgery and medical intervention at any cost. Some people believe in keeping a pet comfortable, but not in the hospital setting. A veterinarian who knows your wishes can tailor a plan for your family.
  3. One mind holding a long-term diagnostic and treatment plan for skin disease, ear disease, eye disease, and many different internal conditions, like diabetes mellitus. Miscommunication and missing medical records will cause a veterinarian new on the case to retrace your steps, redo testing, and maybe misunderstand and actually cause a decline or death earlier than you expect for your pet.
  4. A new veterinarian might just keep doing what the record says your old vet did, instead of forwarding the plan and building on any progress you have made. For example, not curing a skin infection, but just keeping it under control so it seems like you cannot ever get your pet off the medicine.

The Phrase That Causes the Veterinarian Stress and Complicates Open Communication

This is not your problem, but let Doc Truli share a secret:

“When you say, ‘go easy on me Doc’ meaning you lost your job, your pension, you’re disabled, you only brought $40 with you, or whatever, it causes me to worry about money, even subconsciously, when I really should only apply my brainpower to the medical care for your pet,” says Doc Truli. Basically, why are you paying for a consultation and then asking the veterinarian to limit their recommendations and not tell you all of your options? You should demand a full consultation and a written record of all of your options for the price of your office call and examination. Your veterinary team can then help prioritize the plan for you and make a plan to fit your budget and your priorities. But only after you know the situation at hand.

You only add tremendous stress on your veterinarian’s shoulders when you air your personal problems. In fact, in decades past, it would be unthinkable, degrading, and downright embarrassing to tell a medical professional, or anyone, that you are broke, jobless, homeless or unhealthy. Nowadays, it seems to be a calling card. Where have manners and civility gone? No wonder modern society has so much stress!

Thank you for reading!

All VirtuaVet content is original, written by Doc Truli, and copyrighted 2014 with all rights reserved. Please see the “terms of use” for for more information.

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