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Need some advise, please

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
As many of you know from this thread, my crazy boy Peter has a heart murmur and on my vet's advice we're going ahead with an ultrasound to determine the cause.


Here's my dilemma, my vet (whom I trust and have a great relationship with) has been pushing to have this done by a board certified cardiologist, which is going to be very expensive. However, a friend of mine, who has three cats with heart problems is recommending an internal medicine specialist, who has been successfully caring for her cats for years. He can do the same thing for about half the price and would be much more reasonable about follow up care. I actually dealt with this guy a number of years ago when Willy went into kidney failure and was very impressed.

I don't want this to be about money, because what's really important
is getting the best care possible for Peter. But, I also have to be realistic. I have three other cats to think about, including one senior kitty. She's fine for now, but I want to be prepared for whatever care she may need down the road, as well as for emergencies with any of them.

I'm just wondering why my vet didn't mention the internal medicine specialist to begin with. I have a call into her now to see what she thinks.

I'd appreciate any feedback you guys might have too.
post #2 of 8
I personally think that if you like and trust the internal medicine specialist, there is no reason not to go to him. Because as long as YOU feel comfortable, that's what is important. Vets are humans and they're fallible and a lot of them, as nice and amazing as they may seem, have personal agendas (is the cardiologist a close friend? do they have a referral system set up between the two practices?).

And there's nothing wrong with saving money. I'll admit this now: I use a family friend/person in our clinic to do dentals and vaccinations because I save quite a bit of $$. That's money I can put into my savings for when big emergencies (either my own or my cats) pop up AND to give them a higher quality food, etc.

If you really trust the internal medicine person and you have a good referral, there's nothing wrong with leaning that way. I wouldn't sacrifice quality, but I would take a slightly different route than what my vet advises if I knew that it was going to do the trick just as well.
post #3 of 8
I think you can call the internist's office and see if they are comfortable doing cardiology. Internists study cardiology as part of their residency but unlike cardiologists, they do not focus strictly on cardiology. But for half the price, I think having the internist do the procedure is not a bad idea at all. S/he can always send you to a cardiologist if you need one, and the ultrasound will have already been done.

Vets recommend different specialists for a variety of reasons and it definitely doesn't necessarily mean one is a whole lot better than another. Case in point, we have two board certified dental specialists in this area. One is basically the Tooth God, the other is perfectly competent. The perfectly competent doctor's fees are also approximately half of the Tooth God's. Personally when I'm talking to people I tell them that Dr. Tooth God is, well, the Tooth God but they will also pay through the nose for his services - which is 100% worth it if they can afford it. If they can't, then Dr. Perfectly Competent is also a fine option.
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the feedback and support. I called the internist's office and emailed my friend for a little more information. Turns out one of his specialities is cardiology, so I'm feeling even more comfortable about going this route.
post #5 of 8
I think if you are happy about going to them you should. If you wern't happy with what they say (which i'm sure you will be) you can always go back to your vet and who he recommends.
post #6 of 8
Sounds like you would still be receiving great care for him, just at less cost. You trust them, you've worked with them in the past....I see a lot of pros and very few cons.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Well, I just got off the phone with my vet. She said the reason she no longer refers patients to the internist (unless they request it) is that she's had trouble communicating with him in the past, although she does trust his judgement and is willing to work with him. So, looks like I'll have to be sure to keep the lines of communication between them open regarding Peter, which isn't a problem. The good thing is that we'll still have the option of the cardiologist should it be needed. Thanks for your support!
post #8 of 8
That's good news! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Peter.
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