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Old 12-31-2011, 11:46 PM
 
Location: The Cascade Foothills
10,953 posts, read 8,681,156 times
Reputation: 6459

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One of my dogs came home yesterday after spending five days at the vet. He had diarrhea over Christmas weekend and probably for a couple of days prior (I have a lot of dogs and it actually took me a day or two to figure out who had the diarrhea) and by Christmas, he wasn't eating (I did get him to eat a hot dog Christmas Day). But it was obvious he was under distress and losing weight and not feeling well, so Monday morning, I took him in.

At first, the vet thought it was salmonella; I have no idea how he would have gotten into any fish and I told her that but she did a blood test for it, which turned up negative. I thought possibly giardia, because he goes up into the woods and could have drank out of an infected stream; that test turned up negative.

Anyway, nothing turned up on any tests. But he was very dehydrated and his electrolytes were low so he was on IV fluids for the first two days and then he was feeling well enough they were able to give him his meds orally and he was also eating.

During this time, I called twice a day to check on him; none of these times was I able to actually talk to the vet herself - just assistants.

So, Friday, he was finally able to come home and I went to pick him up. Again, the whole time I was there getting him "checked out," I never once got to speak to the vet. As the young girl at the front desk was giving me the meds, special food, instructions, etc., each time I had a question, she would have to go in the back and ask the vet; not once during this half hour or so did she come to the front desk.

Anyway, the bill for him was HUGE and I pretty much knew it would be; I paid it - they did let me split it up into two checks (one post dated, which they will hold for a month), but I got to checking on a couple of things on the billing, and so far, I have found was that some stuff they gave me to give to my dog twice a day, mixed with his special food, that I was charged $28.99 for six packets - it's a probiotic called FortiFlora - is available on Amazon - for $19.99 for thirty packets! I was charged, by the vet, almost $5.00 a packet for stuff you can buy on-line for less than a dollar a packet. I know vets have their mark up, but is 500% (or whatever it works out to be) normal?

I'm afraid to check on the special food she sent home with him!

Also, this is not my "normal" vet. My regular vet was off for the holidays and isn't available until next week. My dog would not have waited.

And there never was any diagnosis. My suspicion (not confirmed by the vet, since I never got to talk to her) is that he had some sort of minor intestinal upset, got diarrhea, which resulted in him getting dehydrated and low in electrolytes, and which just overall debilitated him. Makes me wonder if I could have nipped it in the bud in the beginning if I had had some PeptoBismol on hand (I usually do because I have had to use it on my goats, too), and some electrolytes and probiotics, both of which can be bought at feed stores or on-line (which is usually cheaper).

Anyway, my question is: would you throw a stink at this huge markup on the probiotics (and potentially the cost of the special food - if it also has a comparable markup)? I've already written the check(s) so I don't know if I'd get any of my money back at this point.

And, who knows? Maybe it was an honest mistake and they didn't mean to charge that much.

I'd like to say I will never use this vet again but there just aren't that many vets available out here and when you're faced with an emergency situation, you don't want to have to drive thirty miles to get help for your animal. I had had to use this vet once before - last May - when my goat had a problem during delivery and (again) my regular vet wasn't available. The goat, her baby, and I were out of the clinic in probably less than an hour and I felt that what I was charged at that time was reasonable.

I know that every time we take our animals to the vet we're at their mercy and what they charge. I also know they have a business to maintain and they have to charge enough to cover all their expenses.

But when does it become a case of screwing people over?

I thought about calling on Monday and asking if they made a mistake. If it turns out they didn't, should I throw a fit? Or just politely tell them I will never use their services again, which might be embarrassing if I ever have another emergency and have to use them.
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Old 01-01-2012, 02:09 AM
 
Location: West Virginia
12,432 posts, read 31,476,724 times
Reputation: 8135
NO! Cause just like a Hospital Charging $5 for 1 Asprin that I can get a bottle of 30 for $1 You cant complain! BUT IF hes going to be on this special food.... Order it from Amazon! Tho by the time you add Shipping costs might be cheeper to buy from the vet! BTW Did you figure his shipping into your calculations?? & Vets dont have time to Shop for Cheep they buy in bulk Most times from 1 or 2 sales people that come To them & go over the products & orders! I know for a Fact the vet would rather be out saving animals that worring about costs! My vet cant tell you what anything really costs....thats what he hires acountants for LOL I also seen him walk out on Sales people rushing to farms telling the sales person to Just Order what I got Last time! Most of the time not knowing IF it was the same cost as last time LOL
As for the vet not talking to you Did you ASK to talk direct to him? Did you make an appointment to See him? Or did you just drop in when he was 1 Saving another animal or 2 S/N someones pet? Would want him to Leave an animal that needed him to talk to you without an appointment!
I will give you another shock where prices are conserned.... that DHLPP shot you take your dogs to the vet & get cost 6 TIMES more than IF you purchased it yourself! Have you Ever complained about that over charge.... I betting not! So why worry about the Food? As I said find out IF this is going to be what he has to eat for awhile then order it at the lower price if you want.
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Old 01-01-2012, 02:33 AM
 
Location: The Cascade Foothills
10,953 posts, read 8,681,156 times
Reputation: 6459
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katie1 View Post
NO! Cause just like a Hospital Charging $5 for 1 Asprin that I can get a bottle of 30 for $1 You cant complain! BUT IF hes going to be on this special food.... Order it from Amazon! Tho by the time you add Shipping costs might be cheeper to buy from the vet! BTW Did you figure his shipping into your calculations?? & Vets dont have time to Shop for Cheep they buy in bulk Most times from 1 or 2 sales people that come To them & go over the products & orders! I know for a Fact the vet would rather be out saving animals that worring about costs! My vet cant tell you what anything really costs....thats what he hires acountants for LOL I also seen him walk out on Sales people rushing to farms telling the sales person to Just Order what I got Last time! Most of the time not knowing IF it was the same cost as last time LOL

I will give you another shock where prices are conserned.... that DHLPP shot you take your dogs to the vet & get cost 6 TIMES more than IF you purchased it yourself! Have you Ever complained about that over charge.... I betting not! So why worry about the Food? As I said find out IF this is going to be what he has to eat for awhile then order it at the lower price if you want.
Quote:
As for the vet not talking to you Did you ASK to talk direct to him? Did you make an appointment to See him? Or did you just drop in when he was 1 Saving another animal or 2 S/N someones pet? Would want him to Leave an animal that needed him to talk to you without an appointment!
Wow. You're kind of making some assumptions here. I have had animals (pet and livestock) all my life and I have dealt with vets all my life and I have never just "dropped in" at a vet's with a sick animal. I called first thing Monday morning and was told to have my dog at the clinic at 10:00 in the morning. So, yes, I had an appointment, and during that appointment, when she was examining my sick dog, she left to take a personal phone call, which I could hear from the next room, and was about a dog show she was apparently interested in taking part in (she apparently raises and shows some kind of dogs - I don't know what breed). So, no, she was not all wrapped up in emergencies and/or surgeries. And I had an appointment.

Yes, I probably should have put my foot down when I was "checking" my dog out and I should have demanded to speak directly to the vet rather than through the teenage girl at the front desk, but then you probably would have accused me of taking her (the vet) away from saving someone else's animal.

As far as the food, he is only going to be it for a week so I'm not too terribly concerned about what she charged me (although I am going to check tomorrow, out of curiosity). I do, however, feel that what I was charged for the probiotics was excessive. Sure, I would have had to pay shipping if I had bought it myself on-line, but I doubt it would have amounted to that much - the total weight of the box (30 packets) is only a little over an ounce.
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Old 01-01-2012, 02:42 AM
 
Location: In the middle...
1,253 posts, read 3,038,959 times
Reputation: 1821
Well, you used the service. I would chalk it up to live and learn. You have already decided not to use them again.

If you have left over product, you could call and ask if they have a return policy? If so, you could return it and re-buy it online. However, then you have to wait for it to be shipped and you will most likely have to pay for shipping. When you include the time and hassle of the return and re-purchase, how much money will you be saving?

I don't disagree that there are vets that over charge and that you need to make sure you protect yourself financially, money is tight everywhere...my point is that you have already used their service and purchased the other items. If they even have a return policy might be a miracle. If you go through the trouble of returning the unused items, then you have to go through the trouble of ordering what you just returned...and then please keep in mind one very important aspect...

They are allowing you to pay this off. They didn't have to do it.

Live and learn. Your pup was in distress, you paid a high price but your pup is worth it. I would be careful on the extra's next time, if there is a next time, and chalk this up to a learning experience.

You asked, I answered...IMHO
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Old 01-01-2012, 02:48 AM
 
Location: The Cascade Foothills
10,953 posts, read 8,681,156 times
Reputation: 6459
Oh, and for the record, the last conversation I had with the vet was at that first appointment. None of the twice a day phone call conversations I had were with her but with assistants or whatever. And, like I've said, while it was apparent she was in the clinic when I picked up my dog because the girl at the front desk kept going back to talk to her, she couldn't be bothered to come out and talk to me about my dog and to give me the information I needed about the meds or to even talk to me about what he may or may not have even had.

And I'm not going to say what my bill was but let's just say that it was more than what I paid for the car I'm driving (bought used, of course). It would seem that for that kind of money, I would have gotten a little more on-on-one from the vet.

AND....I actually didn't come here to complain about the lack of attention but the overcharge on the probiotics. But for some silly reason, I feel like I now have to be on the defensive about the whole thing.
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Old 01-01-2012, 03:05 AM
 
Location: West Virginia
12,432 posts, read 31,476,724 times
Reputation: 8135
IF you were not complaining about the Lack of Personal attention the vet was giving you.....then why did you even get into that? My Vets showed Cattle & Horses LOL
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Old 01-01-2012, 05:09 AM
 
Location: Ohio
15,158 posts, read 13,415,358 times
Reputation: 20593
Cinebar, if it was me......I might call and ask if the charges were correct.....but I would be VERY nice about it.

Your vet may be unavailable in the future when there is a life and death emergency.......and I wouldn't burn any bridges.

Maybe, in the future, if you are in a similar situation with this vet, you could call and ask if they are going to be sending any meds, food, etc. home with your pet.....and then do a quick online check to see if you can get them cheaper elsewhere....and only buy what you are going to need in the meantime.

I hate the emergency clinic I have to use when my vet is unavailable.....but I will NEVER do or say anything to **** them off.....one of my pet's lives may depend on them someday. {they charge an arm and a leg there too}

I wouldn't be upset about the vet not coming to the front to speak to you either......you have no idea what may be going on back there.....maybe the vet is telling someone their pet is not going to make it, maybe they were in the middle of a tricky procedure they couldn't walk away from....you just never know. If I really felt the need to speak to the vet himself, I would have asked if he could call me at home later.

On a totally seperate note.....I definetely get pissed when I have to wait long past my appointment time at my doctor's office.....but I never get pissed when I have to wait at the vets office.....because I know something bad probably happened. I have been sitting there too many times when someone comes rushing in with a dog or cat that has just been hit by a car or is choking on something.....and the vet drops EVERYTHING to attend to them......and I am glad he does.....because that could be me rushing in with an emergency someday. {{{shiver}}}
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Old 01-01-2012, 08:30 AM
 
Location: Floyd Co, VA
3,415 posts, read 5,129,911 times
Reputation: 7231
I am also baffled by the huge mark up on the cost of prescription drugs. I can buy Soloxine from Drs. Foster & Smith for 0.14 per pill but my vet charges 0.92 per pill. It looks like shipping is "free" from F & S and we know that they are not loosing money at this price, they are selling at a price that nets them an adequate profit.

Checking the manufacturers website I see that they package in bottles of 250 or 1,000. So how costly could it be for my vet to order the bottle of 250, which would be a 125 day supply, add a dosage label for my dog and sell it to me? This is a medication that she will be on for the rest of her life. I know that it will be necessary to periodically test to check that the dosage is still what she needs but it seems to be that could be done after say two bottles of meds, 8 months or so.

I can understand the higher cost of a small scrip for a few days of pain relief or even a week or two of antibiotics since those are dispensed just a few at a time but long term meds could be much cheaper.

I hold Dr. M in very high esteem, she is an excellent clinician and surgeon, appreciate all the expenses of running a practice, including insurance, and I do want her to pay her staff well, since they also take great care of all my critters but this one issue really bothers me.

I would call and ask about the cost but in a nice way. Most likely they will tell you the charges are correct but if enough people question the high costs of certain things then perhaps some vets will consider the issue.
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:40 AM
 
Location: Manhattan, Ks
1,280 posts, read 6,144,638 times
Reputation: 1805
I like the idea of nicely calling to check on the price. Throwing a fit at this point won't do you any good at all.
I do think that the veterinarian should have spent more time with you, or at least had a credentialed tech familiar with the case go over everything with you. It sounds like you got most of your info. from receptionists and assistants? Who knows what was going on at the clinic, but this is less than ideal.
The good(?) news is that Wal-Mart and others are pushing a bill that would force veterinarians to write prescriptions that could be filled anywhere. We often do this for our clients anyway and have had a couple nightmare scenarios where the pharmacist makes substitutions that are completely inappropriate. Most just aren't familiar enough with veterinary drugs.
The chatter on the vet. boards is that many vets will severely cut their pharmacy or do away with it altogether. That mark-up will then have to be transferred to other things like services (exams, surgeries, treatments). The money has to come from somewhere.
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Old 01-01-2012, 10:33 AM
 
Location: North Western NJ
6,591 posts, read 20,789,484 times
Reputation: 9581
i woudl call and NICELY talk to them
the short and swet of it is your right, BUT this is a vet and your going to find EVERYTHING cheaper online ect..a 500% mark up is cheap compared to what many emergency vets charge...

i can give yoy one extreem example...
a c-section at my normal vet would cost an owner anythwre from $1100-$2000 depending on the dog with giant and high risk breeds costing the upper scale and most falling under $1300...
the same surgery ar the emergency clinic anything from $1800-$4000...
why?! its the exact same surgery, the answer, because your a captive audence, theres nowhere else to go, and they have to pay their staff extra for working over the holidays/overnights ect...

so call, talk to them but dont expect a result...
is it right?! no...but unforutnatly thats what happens in serivce industries.

id also be returning the food the vet sent him home with...perscription diets are JUNK, vets practices are sponsored by science diet, royal canin ect, they get paid every time they sell a bag of that junk ontop of the retail markup there already making...
read the ingredients on the bag, ist usually corn, bypdoducts and something resembling meat flavor...in 99.999$ of cases these perscription diets are jus tthe regular food in fancy bags and completly unnessicary...(you would have also paid about twice hat youd have paid online for it...)
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