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Tips to Help Save Money If You are Using Multiple Veterinarians

January 29, 2014

Reality Check: Your Limited Budget Causes You to Jump from Doctor to Doctor to Take Advantage of Free or Discounted Initial Examinations

red tabby cat sits on the exam table, his back fur sticking up like a dragon frill because of dehydration

Peaches looked like this cat Spitty, but angrier!

Peaches hissed from his carrier. Then he yowled and Doc Truli suspected the examination would be limited, at best. The angry, sick  4-year-old orange tabby cat had not urinated in 48 hours. During that time, he had seen 4 veterinarians for initial “discounted” visits. His mom could not afford full hospitalization and unblocking under anesthesia, especially considering he should have had blood tests and intravenous fluids therapy and other costly treatments to save his life. So each veterinarian told her that her cat would die a painful toxic death if he did not urinate and gave her a treatment plan estimate ranging from $100 for basic passing a urinary catheter and no other medications or treatment to $650 to do everything properly. Mom felt $100 was not affordable, so she declined and packed her cat off to another doctor for another opinion.

By the time she arrived at Doc Truli’s pet emergency room, the cost of the 4 veterinary examinations was $120. Basically, if she had stayed at the first clinic and accepted a basic treatment plan that would probably save his life, he would be unblocked and have chance of recovery. Instead, she already sent more than her budget and after Doc Truli told her Peaches was indeed completely “blocked,” she refused to believe the diagnosis and packed him up for a car trip to another vet office.

This is an extreme example of the craziness desperation can infuse into a situation. But it nonetheless happened. Doc Truli hopes someone was able to treat Peaches.

If You Feel You Must Consult an Additional Veterinarian, Do It Right

  1. If the diagnosis is straightforward and you cannot afford the plan our hospital offers, ask for a payment plan. Ask if they participant in any third-party systems like CareCredit.
  2. Ask if there is a doable less expensive diagnostic and treatment plan. Let them know you do not wish to harm your pet, but is there a solution that is cheaper and usually works (understanding there are no guarantees in medicine.)
  3. If the diagnosis is made, but the treatment is too expensive at your hospital, bring a copy of the records with you to the second opinion hospital. “Too many people are embarrassed to tell their vet they have to try elsewhere, so they don’t even let the new vet call for the records,” says Doc Truli. If the second opinion veterinarian can review the physical exam, history and diagnostic test results, you save time and money every time.
  4. If the diagnosis is not straightforward, pay for a second opinion with a board-certified specialist. “There is little point in dragging your pet from one general practitioner to another. Upgrade your information source to a specialist and often you will save money in the long run.”says Doc Truli.
  5. Ask how much and how many rechecks the vet expects to need. Budget for them. “Skipping rechecks often lands you back at the starting point of the disease and you never get anywhere with it,” says Doc Truli.

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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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 4, 2014 4:25 pm

    I love how straight forward you are, it really takes all the bull out of everything and makes things so much easier to understand. I have told you before how much I appreciate your site but I have to say it again…Thank you.

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