January 25, 2012 19 Comments
Why does a visit to the vet sometimes feel like a trip to the used car lot?
Sure, I admit that, although I fancy myself a relatively well-informed pet owner, I do not, in fact, have a degree in Veterinary Medicine or even Biological Sciences. Perhaps it is this necessitated deference I therefore must pay to the professionals that in turn heightens my doubt and cynicism.
Or perhaps it’s the way everyone in a vet office baby talks to my pets. It’s uncomfortable to watch. (We actually visited one vet who baby talked to both Moses and us. It was jarring. We did not go back.)
At a certain point, I do feel that the average pet owner’s lack of expertise and love for our companions makes an easy target for price gouging and misinformation. And the increasing popularity of pet insurance should not be a license to charge even more.
Of course, there are exceptions to my complaints and there are lots of good vets out there. Vets that don’t want to have them overnight for observation for no real reason. Vets that don’t recommend unnecessary blood tests. Vets that don’t go to lengths to argue wild canines have grain-heavy diets. If you find or have one, hang on to them!
For us, however, we could nearly fill a recreational kickball team with our team of vets. Or at least a travelling band. We seem to collect them like trading cards, noting opinions and specialities, often trading one in for another.
Yes, it is true; we are veterinarily promiscuous.
But I find everything I wanted in one vet, maybe I wouldn’t need to call in a second opinion. I want a holistic opinion to compare with the one that’s more “western medicine”. And I want to have that information when we see a specialist. I want a thorough explanation of the problem, prognosis, and the options for treatment – no sugar-coating. I want to be able to understand what’s going on and be able to Google it at home later. And I want to trust that I’m not being taken advantage of, instead of having to compare the price for services across the city, because the realisation that one place can charge you $200 to neuter your dog and another can be upwards of $600 is ridiculous.
Because even though we have pet insurance, I’m not going to put Moses or Alma through unnecessary treatments and I’m not going to pay an exorbitant mark-up on services just because.
So yesterday when Alma was unusually demure and I found the cause in a lower incisor, I was not looking forward to the forthcoming rigamarole.
A dental cleaning with potential extraction is in order. Let the shopping around begin.
I better work on my pokerface, too. “$485 base price for a dental cleaning? Extraction on top of that? And post-op meds? And an additional pre-surgery check-up? And pre-anestheric bloodwork for the low, low price of $80? No, no, that all seems perfectly reasonable. Mere pocket change. I assume you can break a $1,000?”