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Outrageously high vet bill!?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I am the owner of four male cats, which until recently have not given me many health problems. One of my cats though is a stray male, neutered Persian who once was blocked by bladder stones. That was a year ago to the day and I had the cat unblocked by my vet and put on a special diet. The procedure with anesthisia, catheter, plus boarding for 3 days was in the realm of $400.
This time it happened on a weekend and my vet refered me to another vet who was on duty for weekend emergencies. They said they will unblock the cat and keep it over the weekend. Since I had this done to the cat before, I admit I did not bother about an estimate, naively thinking the vet bill would roughly be the same like last time. Well, it was not of course. For unblocking my cat and 2 days boarding I was charged $900.
I would like to know from the more experienced memebers if I have to live with what I find an outrageously expensive vet bill, or if there is any way for me to fight this bill, like complaining to the Board of Veterinarians (I live in Miami, FL) or to the consumer protection board.
Or is $900 to unblock a cat plus 2 days boarding still a price I should not complain about? Please advise.
post #2 of 12
Sounds like they charged your after hours emergency rates did it happen during the weekend. You really have to shop around to find a good vet at a decent price. They are out there but it means you really have to research.
post #3 of 12
Originally Posted by Tekunda
This time it happened on a weekend and my vet refered me to another vet who was on duty for weekend emergencies.
This is probably why there was such a price difference. Emergency vet visits are usually very expensive compared to regular vet visits because they are emergencies. My vet charges extra for emergenies if she is in the office at the time of the emergency but its still not as expensive as the ER vet. If she is not in the office, you are referred to the ER vet.
post #4 of 12
No, unfortunately you don't have a legal case and your complaints to the vet association won't be met with sympathy. You agreed to the services provided and they charged you a fair rate for "emergency" work and weekend boarding. In the future, don't be shy about asking "point blank" for estimates and details of how much it will cost.

Hope your cat has recovered!
post #5 of 12
Do you have to pay this all at once or will they let you make payments?
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
He forced me to pay it all at once. Well, live and learn I guess although here in Key Largo, FL were I live the choice for an emergency vet is not huge and my situation was a live and death situation for my cat, so I would not have had a choice anyway, no matter what estimate he would have given me.
But the price seems to be a "regular" price, since a special emergency weekend rate is not mentioned. All it says is a $35 surcharge for weekend emergency treatment.
What really angers me that they did charge me for a detailed blood test only to repeat this exact same blood test a few pages down the list again, now calling it a pre-anasthesia blood test. I mean this is a bad joke and in my eys clearly proves that this vet is out to overcharge his patients. I would love to go to small claims court, but I guess I will not stand a chance to fight this bill.
post #7 of 12
I might take that bill back down to the clinic and ask them to explain why they were double-charging for the bloodwork - the least they can do is give you some sort of explanation for that and possibly remove it from the bill.
post #8 of 12
Gayef's right - take the bill back and ask for an explanation about the bloodwork. There was no reason for them to have done two tests - one test was sufficient for the information they needed if it was a complete blood panel.

Check the bill carefully -get explanations for any other charges that seem unclear or questionable.

In my part of the country vet care is expensive, and I've had my share of eye-popping bills. Still, your charges seem somewhat excessive. I can understand the vet charging you a higher exam fee (and even a surcharge, though why wouldn't they just build that into the emergency fee?...)since it was on an emergency basis. However, it seems that they charged you more for every procedure that was done for your cat and I don't think that's ethical.

It sounds like this vet has a monopoly in an area of limited service and is taking full advantage of it.
post #9 of 12
In NYC a friend had to take her cat to the ER on a sunday night with her cat who had serious uterine infection requiring surgery on monday, and the bill was $2500. It would have been $3000 if they operated sunday night.
post #10 of 12
All vet care in my area, So. Calif.--- is almost as expensive a human care. Just ck. your bill carefully.
post #11 of 12
I would do as others suggested and take the bill back and note any discrepancies...

I have a friend that spent $5000, yes $5000 on her cat and it still died

BTW, I used to live in Key Largo too
post #12 of 12

February of this year, my 14 yr old male cat Snickers blocked up with crystals. He spent SEVEN DAYS in the hospital, was catheterized THREE TIMES because the first doctor in the hospital was a retard and did it wrong, then the second doctor did everything right and saved him.

7 days of boarding, being unblocked, the catheter, being put under 3 times to suture the catheter, feeding Snickers and all the bloodwork & urine tests, came to $1,000. I looked at the 2-page itemized bill and saw line by line what they did, and some of the stuff had $0 by it (Freebie).

I'm in Kentucky; Vet care around here is hit-or-miss. There are bad Vets and good Vets. In the practice I go to (which I won't go to anymore), there is a very bad Vet named Tracy & a very good Vet named Theresa.

I was going to fight the "bad Vet" part of the bill, which would have knocked it down $150 or so. However from what I gathered after viewing the bill, they gave me several discounts due to me being a multiple-pet household (in other words: they think I'll bring all 6 of my cats to them from now on since they saved Snickers life and they'll make beacoup money offa me!!!).

Anyways I guess it depends on where you live. I was going to fight the bill but in all honesty, I was so exhausted from crying for a week thinking my lovely Snickers was going to leave me, I just paid the bill and took my baby home. Thankful to have him so $1,000 is totally worth it.

I can attest to the fact that weekend visits are pricey; in my area, it's double the price. If I'd have taken Snickers to the ER Vet and left him there vs. at the regular Vet, it'd been closer to $2k, guaranteed. Kinda sad but that's how doctors are, Vets, etc.

I hope your cat is doing better? The diet they put Snickers on, well he turns his lil nose up at it and prefers the other stuff so I have to feed his Hills to all of my 6 cats with the stuff mixed in, like a casserole.
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