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Old 03-21-2007, 08:15 PM
 
1,501 posts, read 5,183,220 times
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Hi,
I'm reposting combined posts from another thread because I saw the Pet forum & hope it can help somebody. I hope, as well, to hear of exceptions out there. Family was spoiled with wonderful vets for three generations before relocating too close to McVet facilities, so here are some Red Flags, which we've put together the hard way:

A really good veterinarian's appointment availability won't always be very "convenient" (if ever), as appointments are at such a demand. They also don't need to advertise, offer cupons, and sell Science Diet dog food because their reputation alone yeilds overwhelming business in just getting to the bottom of health issues.
(A new private practicing vet just relocated in an area may be exception as far as ads).

But you may live closer to a bigger, maybe "fancier" place which will always say "come right in", no matter when you call during their hours? It/they may seem nice as pie ...multiple receptionists... vast staff... There's a rea$on for that convenience. They'll fill their bigger lobby with merchandise gracing the shelves and not be as thorough as a "no frill" vet would be. High volume priority.
Of course, there are hopefully exceptions out there and please spread the word about them!

If you see a sign posted informing clients which day/time of the week they're closed for "staff meetings", I'd compare friends' experiences (pets' average required visits for an ilness ... cost for basics), especially with smaller vet facilities, first. This is for discussing the goals of what to sell that day/week, as vets do get "points" from companies depending on sales goals met. (We were naive to think our former ones sat around talking about new treatments, stuff like that).
Of course, there are hopefully exceptions out there and, please, spread the word about them!

If the doctors promptly insist on expensive tests/XRays all the time -- even just weeks later for the same "mysterious" ailment! -- as opposed to actually taking the time and thoroughly examining your dog, cut your losses and run while you can. (Doctors plural, as odds are you've come back again for the same mystery and, of course, got a different doctor).

You're going to have to be mucho patient availability-wise with a really good veterinarian, especially at the last minute. An established vet has less convenient appointment avaliability and seemingly infinite waiting time for good reason. They're more thorough!! And they tend to be more "no nonsense", as they don't want to "push" anything more than just fixing your dog! No multiple receptionists there to give you a lovely "pampered pet spa" atmosphere, either. It's a hospital!

May want to check out a University hospital for emergencies, as the faculty and students' only goal is to diagnse and fix as well; And, in their case, the high cost (and further travel) is worth it.

I'm not against facilities receiving "points" for the drugs or other things they sell, as much as the fact that there may be "McVet" facilities out there which will push something which is not best for your dog (or cat).

#1) Drugs (Rimadyl, for example). Be on guard for pet quickly being prescribed potentially unnecessary (and controversial) drugs which "points" are awarded for, as opposed to vets being thorough in examining your dog and/or considering any alternatives which may not be so risky. And there are very realistic, possible side effects which they SHOULD tell you to look out for with these drugs -- but don't. And "Quick Fixes" always come back to bite!

2) Selling other stuff. Take Science diet, for example. (See dog food thread & websites :>)
You'd be amazed in what you could save in some health issues by looking into ingredients in different foods available out there, (including SD). Wonder why your dog scratches too much, always has ear infections, poops so much?? Allergic to corn (being first ingredient listed!) or something, maybe?

**Good, successful vets have no reason or time to even deal with this stuff, unless it's a rescue or shelter, to which the company usually donates or gives a break. Most vets are not trained in nutrition anyway, unless they choose to personally take the extra courses if they wish, or they're Holistic vets. Oh, and you just may find these "no frill" Veterinarians' prices to be quite reasonable, read: normal, as well.

These are just our experiences and observed contrasts in having dogs and wonderful veterinarians for decades.

Sorry for the long post, but there are some things to look out for which can avoid much grief and guesswork. It's very disturbing to see this trend that's flourishing, due to the convenience factor.
Pet owners can be vulnerable, too trusting. In over 50 years of having many, many dogs, our family certainly wasn't used to this "new trend".

You may prefer to be real patient for those appointments. Again, there's a very good reason you may have to wait three days, or leave your name hoping for a cancellation. Just our observations :>)

Last edited by Travel'r; 03-21-2007 at 09:06 PM.. Reason: caught a spelling oops
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Old 03-21-2007, 08:24 PM
 
Location: Stuck in NE GA right now
4,585 posts, read 10,822,100 times
Reputation: 6616
Great post, I have a fantabulous Vet, he treats my large animals and my dogs and cat. He's brilliant and he works out of his home and truck. He's so low key and all of his biz comes from word of mouth.

I will miss him when I move and I actually dread looking for a new vet. Mine has really spoiled me. His prices are very reasonable.

When I said his is brilliant I should have said genious IQ!!!

His first doctorate is in Aero Engineering and then he got married to a horse breeder so while he was working his day job he went back and got his doc in Vet med.

Because of his dual background he is uncanny in diagnosing lameness issues. He loves what he does and he's so kind and unassuming. I feel lucky to have him.
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Old 03-21-2007, 09:39 PM
 
Location: Southeast Idaho
4,655 posts, read 15,750,072 times
Reputation: 2502
We've got an excellent vet; great in medicine and mannerism. In fact we've grown close enough that I can call her at home day/night and we've done dinners/lunches and baseball games. Also went to visit her at the hospital when she had her first baby.

The downfall? She's going to be just as bothered when the time comes as we will
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Old 03-22-2007, 01:22 AM
 
73 posts, read 376,453 times
Reputation: 49
"Hi,
I'm reposting combined posts from another thread because I saw the Pet forum & hope it can help somebody. I hope, as well, to hear of exceptions out there. Family was spoiled with wonderful vets for three generations before relocating too close to McVet facilities, so here are some Red Flags, which we've put together the hard way:

A really good veterinarian's appointment availability won't always be very "convenient" (if ever), as appointments are at such a demand. They also don't need to advertise, offer cupons, and sell Science Diet dog food because their reputation alone yeilds overwhelming business in just getting to the bottom of health issues.
(A new private practicing vet just relocated in an area may be exception as far as ads).

I work for a clinic with very late, convenient hours. Because of the late hour we stay open until, we see a lot of emergencies and can usually see clients the same day they call. We don't have any coupons, but we do advertise. We are a business and we want people to know we're here...especially when it's late and they have a pet with urgent needs.

We sell Hill's (Science Diet) Prescription Diets because many of our client's pets require them and they are not sold by pet/discount stores. Other than that, we don't sell food.

But you may live closer to a bigger, maybe "fancier" place which will always say "come right in", no matter when you call during their hours? It/they may seem nice as pie ...multiple receptionists... vast staff... There's a rea$on for that convenience. They'll fill their bigger lobby with merchandise gracing the shelves and not be as thorough as a "no frill" vet would be. High volume priority.

We also have multiple receptionists, vet techs, kennel workers and doctors. The multiple receptionists keep you from waiting and waiting...and waiting. Ditto for the other staff. Because we have more staff, we are also able to spend more time with each client and explain exactly what's going on with his of her pet.

Our bigger lobby is stocked with prescription diets, dental products and informational brochures. The "biggness" of the lobby allows for better air circulation which can be important when your patients tend to have accidents on the floor. Our big lobby also allows us to have seperate waiting areas for contagious pets and well ones.

Our "frills" include diagnostic equipment that most clinics don't have. You get your lab results immediately instead of waiting for them to be sent out and returned. If your pet's sick, that makes a big difference.
We can also print you out a patient chart of your pet's entire medical history including, all lab values and doctor's notes, with the tap of a button. We can even print out a weight history graph for your pet.


Of course, there are hopefully exceptions out there and please spread the word about them!

If you see a sign posted informing clients which day/time of the week they're closed for "staff meetings", I'd compare friends' experiences (pets' average required visits for an ilness ... cost for basics), especially with smaller vet facilities, first. This is for discussing the goals of what to sell that day/week, as vets do get "points" from companies depending on sales goals met. (We were naive to think our former ones sat around talking about new treatments, stuff like that).

We don't close for our weekly staff meetings, but we do have them. Yes, the owners of the clinic are interested in business, but they're also interested in providing service and value. Health topics are discussed, at length, and staff memebers are evaluated on their knowledge after researching assigned topics. Client comments/problems/compliments are reviewed. Suggestions are made to improve the practice for patients, clients and staff.

Of course, there are hopefully exceptions out there and, please, spread the word about them!

If the doctors promptly insist on expensive tests/XRays all the time -- even just weeks later for the same "mysterious" ailment! -- as opposed to actually taking the time and thoroughly examining your dog, cut your losses and run while you can. (Doctors plural, as odds are you've come back again for the same mystery and, of course, got a different doctor).

Guilty, again...but consider this...pet ailments really are a mystery without diagnostics. They can't talk to us and tell us what's going on.

We had a client come in because her dog had a swollen face. The dog was most likely stung by an insect and the problem was relatively minor. The patient was given a few injections, monitored for a while and sent on his way. A few weeks later, the same client called requesting medication for the SAME problem. She was pretty upset when she was told she needed to come in for an office visit because she just wanted the medication. She already KNEW what the problem was and thought we were being greedy. It turned out her dog was bitten in the face by a rattlesnake and needed anti-venom and hospitalization.

There's also the cat vomiting cat who, "just needed something for hairballs". The client had taken him to a vet before and been given something for the hairballs. Since the symptom was the same, she assumed the problem was. After running some bloodwork, the cat was discovered to be in renal failure.

I've seen a "constipated" dog that had X-rays and had actually swallowed a large rock that couldn't move through his digestive system. Since the dog had acted the same way before when he was constipated, the owner KNEW that was the problem.

I could go on and on and on, but hopefully that explains a little bit. A vet who wants to run some diagnostics before he or she sends you packing is a good vet. Aside from that, vets are required to have medical records that support the need for any medication dispensed.



You're going to have to be mucho patient availability-wise with a really good veterinarian, especially at the last minute. An established vet has less convenient appointment avaliability and seemingly infinite waiting time for good reason. They're more thorough!! And they tend to be more "no nonsense", as they don't want to "push" anything more than just fixing your dog! No multiple receptionists there to give you a lovely "pampered pet spa" atmosphere, either. It's a hospital!

We have convenient hours and see patients at the last minute every day. In fact, most of our clients come in the same day they call us. We usually don't make appointments more than a few days ahead of time and our clients like that. People lead busy lives and many of them miss their appointments when they do make them. A long wait doesn't mean the vet's good and a short wait doesn't mean he or she is not.

We "push" things that are important for your pet's health. At the very least, we want you to be informed. How would you feel if your dog got heartworms, then you found out it was preventable. How would you feel if your vet had never mentioned heartworm prevention to you? If you'd be upset, you're like most people. What if your clinic didn't "push" pre operative bloodwork and your pet suffered a fatal or expensive to treat complication that could have been prevented? I hear people say they wish they had known how important _____ was and that they would have made different desicions if someone had taken the time to explain why the diagnostic/treatment/prevention was a good idea.

On the other hand, high pressure "sales" are not our thing. We want clients to be informed and make the right desicions for their pets. We even "push" items and services that we don't sell, but do believe in.

May want to check out a University hospital for emergencies, as the faculty and students' only goal is to diagnse and fix as well; And, in their case, the high cost (and further travel) is worth it.

I'm not against facilities receiving "points" for the drugs or other things they sell, as much as the fact that there may be "McVet" facilities out there which will push something which is not best for your dog (or cat).

#1) Drugs (Rimadyl, for example). Be on guard for pet quickly being prescribed potentially unnecessary (and controversial) drugs which "points" are awarded for, as opposed to vets being thorough in examining your dog and/or considering any alternatives which may not be so risky. And there are very realistic, possible side effects which they SHOULD tell you to look out for with these drugs -- but don't. And "Quick Fixes" always come back to bite!

We prescribe Rimadyl along with many other drugs. There are risks associated with the drug, but that could be said about any drug. Patients who are on in long term have bloodwork run regularly to monitor for any ill effects. (there go those annoying, expensive tests, again) Our clients are informed of the potentially harmful effects of Rimadyl. The client's receipt even includes information about the drug and it's possible side effects when it's prescribed for a patient. Rimadyl improves the quality of life for many older dogs despite it's risks. Other medications are used as well, it just depends on what's right for your dog.

2) Selling other stuff. Take Science diet, for example. (See dog food thread & websites :>)
You'd be amazed in what you could save in some health issues by looking into ingredients in different foods available out there, (including SD). Wonder why your dog scratches too much, always has ear infections, poops so much?? Allergic to corn (being first ingredient listed!) or something, maybe?

Testing is often suggested to pinpoint what may be food related allergy symptoms. If a food allergy is the problem, it can take six weeks from the change in diet to see a noticeable improvement. A stab in the dark can be difficult for that reason, but it does work for some people.

**Good, successful vets have no reason or time to even deal with this stuff, unless it's a rescue or shelter, to which the company usually donates or gives a break. Most vets are not trained in nutrition anyway, unless they choose to personally take the extra courses if they wish, or they're Holistic vets. Oh, and you just may find these "no frill" Veterinarians' prices to be quite reasonable, read: normal, as well.

Good vets MAKE time for this stuff.

These are just our experiences and observed contrasts in having dogs and wonderful veterinarians for decades.

Sorry for the long post, but there are some things to look out for which can avoid much grief and guesswork. It's very disturbing to see this trend that's flourishing, due to the convenience factor.
Pet owners can be vulnerable, too trusting. In over 50 years of having many, many dogs, our family certainly wasn't used to this "new trend".

You may prefer to be real patient for those appointments. Again, there's a very good reason you may have to wait three days, or leave your name hoping for a cancellation. Just our observations :>)"

Patience isn't always good. You may have time to wait, but sometimes the pet doesn't. We had a cat come in for a "urinary tract infection" a few days ago. The client had made an appointment a few days ahead with her vegular vet. She ended up calling us because she was concerned and her cat seemed to be very uncomfortable. It turned out he was "blocked" and unable to urinate. It that cat had waited for his appointment, he would have been dead.
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Old 03-22-2007, 03:43 PM
 
1,501 posts, read 5,183,220 times
Reputation: 1128
<<<We sell Hill's (Science Diet) Prescription Diets because many of our client's pets require them and they are not sold by pet/discount stores. Other than that, we don't sell food.>>>>

This is the one thing in your outstanding post which I just can't grasp. Ground whole grain and corn ... Brewers, dried egg product, chicken by-product ... as the very first ingredients?
There are so many foods with more meat content and less junk fillers which are in the same price range as these Prescriptions. And you don't even need the prescription, let alone way inflated cost -- especially considering the ingredients -- for a much better product.

<<<Our "frills" include diagnostic equipment that most clinics don't have. You get your lab results immediately instead of waiting for them to be sent out and returned. If your pet's sick, that makes a big difference.
We can also print you out a patient chart of your pet's entire medical history including, all lab values and doctor's notes, with the tap of a button. We can even print out a weight history graph for your pet. >>>


We were always happy to go with anything suggested for all our dogs. No hesitation whatsoever. But when it takes multiple visits between two facilities, and finally a visit to old vet to finally get to the bottom of an ailment which did not require so many X Rays & Blood tests, it gets kind of frustrating.
(Using our dogs' more minor things such as skin/ear issues as examples here).

<<<We don't close for our weekly staff meetings, but we do have them. Yes, the owners of the clinic are interested in business, but they're also interested in providing service and value. Health topics are discussed, at length, and staff memebers are evaluated on their knowledge after researching assigned topics. Client comments/problems/compliments are reviewed. Suggestions are made to improve the practice for patients, clients and staff. >>>

We'd have never guessed, or noticed, anything regarding these unless we hadn't shared perplexing experiences with friends in another area. Having known somebody who worked for one, one person actually guessed that our places did the same (they do), and another was continously "upsold" (his word) by his, got frustrated, and found a smaller vet.
.
<<<We had a client come in because her dog had a swollen face. The dog was most likely stung by an insect and the problem was relatively minor. The patient was given a few injections, monitored for a while and sent on his way. A few weeks later, the same client called requesting medication for the SAME problem. . She already KNEW what the problem was and thought we were being greedy. It turned out her dog was bitten in the face by a rattlesnake and needed anti-venom and hospitalization. >>>

Insect and a rattlesnake! I'd have called a witchdoctor in for the poor dear to unjnx him.
I hear what you're saying, though.
We have always had faith in capabilities of doctors, which was why it took the third visit (and 3rd doctor) for us to even get up the nerve for her to please check ears. And dog did have an ear infection. But stayed on Rimadyl?? We had absolutely no idea back then about drugs, as we'd always had great vets and no doubts, so no reason to second guess or wonder.

<<<I could go on and on and on, but hopefully that explains a little bit. A vet who wants to run some diagnostics before he or she sends you packing is a good vet. Aside from that, vets are required to have medical records that support the need for any medication dispensed. >>>

Thank you very much for your insightful and thoughtful post!
Never had a problem with any tests. But these particular places relied solely on them, and drugs. We found out what one lingering problem actually was long after (and he even had the name for it!), by a doctor just going through more basic procedures which the other different doctors hadn't.
It was quite obvious that one youngster was rushed, and flustered. Perhaps she should have consulted a mentor, or we should have? It crossed our minds, but we didn't want to offend her, so it cost us dearly (as we got her again on 4th visit, although we'd requested another doctor that time). .

<<<We prescribe Rimadyl along with many other drugs. There are risks associated with the drug, but that could be said about any drug. Patients who are on in long term have bloodwork run regularly to monitor for any ill effects. (there go those annoying, expensive tests, again) Our clients are informed of the potentially harmful effects of Rimadyl. The client's receipt even includes information about the drug and it's possible side effects when it's prescribed for a patient. Rimadyl improves the quality of life for many older dogs despite it's risks. Other medications are used as well, it just depends on what's right for your dog.>>>

It wasn't the tests which were annoying. It was the fact that our dog was prescribed this for symptoms of an inner ear infection. We knew nothing back then. Too late now.

<<<We "push" things that are important for your pet's health. At the very least, we want you to be informed. How would you feel if your dog got heartworms, then you found out it was preventable....>>

Touche'. Never hesitated for any test recommended - ever. Even found a hidden health issue thanks to Xtra tests. But it would have been nice to have had the initial ailment addressed as well (as the recommended operation.) They told me I'd be charged for a Post Operative discussion because I wanted to ask about an issue which the dog had initailly been there for in the first place.

<<Good vets MAKE time for this stuff.>>>

With all due respect, good vets just diagnose and heal efficiently (if they can). Much more profitable vets have time for this stuff (the extras; food mentioned.) Just our observations, though.

<<<Patience isn't always good. You may have time to wait, but sometimes the pet doesn't. If that cat had waited for his appointment, he would have been dead.>>>

All great points well taken.
But we, unfortunately, were in just that dilemna. And that is now why I recommend to be patient with a vet Just been burned too many times.

Thanks again for your great insight, and the opportunity to air some irks regarding some places, not all such as yours. Unfortunately, with the more people we talk to comparing notes & experiences, the strong "profit first" impression is getting to be a trend. I learned from one lady that she gets great personal care for hers because she brings alot of business to one of the doctors, so that doctor really takes care of her and she can always get him. Wish we'd have been in her shoes :>)

Last edited by Travel'r; 03-22-2007 at 04:51 PM..
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Old 03-24-2007, 02:40 PM
 
389 posts, read 3,289,391 times
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I had a great vet back home, and I currently work for a clinic with vets that I love! The big test for me is when I take my dogs in for an appointment, if the vet is down on the floor with them and giving a "proper introduction" by playing and petting first I love that, it makes me feel like they're in the job because they really love it and not for any other reason. Our vet would get on the floor and rub and pet, and not only does it make the dogs happy and relaxed, but it allows for the dr. to feel for any lumps or skin problems. Obviously this lovin' would be useless without a skilled, thorough exam too, but that first impression before getting down to business is huge in my mind.

I have never had a vet push anything to me like they were a used car salesman (no offense to car salemen, but it's the best stereotypical analogy I could think of) I have always heard recommendations and reasons behind them, but there have always been choices presented and me left with a decision.

I feel very lucky to have always had vets that I really like and respect. I have heard lots of stories about less than pleasant experiences with vets from so many people
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Old 03-26-2007, 09:26 AM
 
Location: Tejas
7,545 posts, read 16,362,612 times
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I am convinced that i hhave the best vet around! I have never been charged a vets fee before, only for medication. When i had Ash put down (Lab / golden retriever mix) he told me i can leave if i dont want to see it, his heart is always in the right place.

When i lived at my inlaws our animals were attacked by a skung with rabies. He had to put 10 of their cats down and constantly check our dogs too. He was always over at the house checking on the dogs but never once charged a single penny for the service, you could see his heart was broken putting the cats down.
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