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How do you avoid being ripped off/scammed by the vet?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
i'm getting my 3 kittens (20wks) neutered this saturday. i've phone in a few times and have already been given different pricings. i'm trying to trust the system but family stories involving the vet and my own beliefs make this a challenge.

i was told i sign a contract. i dont want them to try to charge for extra stuff. which i know they'll try.

do cats need pain killers?

and is there some stuff the vet might try to charge for and is not necessary?

i dont want any of the extras. they dont need it. and i dont either.

i'm also taking a stool sample in. i'm told there is a $25 shipping charge?

cant they just be upfront about it. i have a feeling they'll give my kittens things they dont need and then charge me for it.

this is so frustrating

please help
post #2 of 27
If you do not have a previous relationship with this vet I would ask friends, neighbors, or people walking dogs for veterinary recommendations
Once you have chosen a vet I would say just educate yourself before you go- this site is a great resource, and Google can tell you just about everything you want.

As to your specific questions- Yes you will have to sign a release form when dropping off an animal for any surgery. I wouldn't call it a contract, though.
Pain meds for spays and neuters depend to a degree on the age of the animal. I do not use them for simple procedures as the pain of the incision limits the animals movement- it is useful that way, and animals are fairly resilient.
Sure there are extras- monitoring devices, pre surgery blood work, IV catheter put in place in case it is needed- these are listed on the release form and it is totally up to you what you want.
My vets do all their fecals in house, so no- no shipping. And outsourced lab work usually has the shipping included in the regular price.

All vets are different- if you don't trust this one (and it doesn't sound as if you do) then use another.
post #3 of 27
Just want to say that I agree with Cearbhaill about your trust of the vet. If you feel uneasy then find a different vet you will be comfortable with. Any time I've gone into something with someone/business who gives me a feeling of unease I usually wish I hadn't for one reason or another.

I'd say a lack of trust is already one strike against things going smoothly and it wouldn't take much to tip the scales to a more negative side.

As far as spay/neuter, I've had upwards of 30 cats fixed with a variety of vets due to diffferent programs I've used and personal preference and not one of them needed pain meds when they came home.

Those that came home the same day needed time for the anesthesia to wear off which means the cat should not be allowed to go up and down stairs or jump off things because they could fall and get hurt. In this area, I've also never had a cat have stitches that needed removed afterward either. I guess that differs from one vet to another.

I'm surprised to hear there is a vet that doesn't at least do their fecal in house these days. I thought they all did.
post #4 of 27
I agree with the other two posters ... Try to find a different vet one who will explain the charges and why they would vary from a quote...

Pain meds for sapy and neatur are a newer thing it makes sense but I dont think it is madatory if your cat is very young or your on a tight budget...
post #5 of 27
Absolutely get vet referrals from others you know. I had to change vets last year because although I liked the vet, I didn't feel that she was as knowledgable about geriatric cat health as she should be. You have every right to be picky, as your babies are depending on you for their health and wellbeing. All vets I've ever been to have done their fecal exams in house, and ours costs between $15-21 for the test. There are extras involved that I have used prior to surgeries, for example, I chose the special anesthetic for a surgery he had due to his age and the risk of complications, and for one cat with a low pain threshold I opted for pain killers post-op. Normally, like the others said, young kittens are very resilliant after a spay/neuter. But do not turn your kitties over to someone that, in your gut, you don't feel quite right about.
post #6 of 27
Another chime in from me.....
to agree that you should find a vet that you feel comfortable with.
The best way to not get ripped off is to do your research and be pro-active about solutions and information. There's so much stuff and info on the net these days.

This site especially is a good source of pre-vet-visit info.

If you ask your vet relevant questions then he/she knows that you are an informed pet owner and will/should treat you accordingly.

You could call your local shelter and ask them for a vet reference and tell them that you don't want to be ripped off and that you want a vet that has in house facilities for diagnostics and x-rays etc. I'm sure they'll be able to point you in the right direction.
post #7 of 27
This sounds a bit odd, the only "extra" my Vet has offered was a nail trim. The rest of the things that she has done for my boys she has walked me through first. If I were you, I'd check with the Better Business Bureau in your area to see if people have filed any complaints.
post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 
the vet i go to has the lowest price for neutering and was recommended to me by the animal adoptions agency. this is my first experience with them.

they said they will explain the charges to me upfront when i get there.

do you think that my kittens could get dissolving stiches? it would cost so much less because i wouldn't have to go back. but my cats are really active.

i called the adoptions agency and my aunt who fosters kittens for an adoption agency. they gave me some advice. not much.

i looked the company up in the better buisness bureau and they were not recognised. funny, cus they've been around for about 50 years.

i guess there's not much i can do but read the contract well and not sign for any extras.

its just some of the stories i've heard of other vets:

- my ex girlfriends dying dog. they take him to the vet. charge $2500 on tests. and he dies shortly after. the vet says "it was worth the money to keep him alive a little longer." i bet he would've lived the same time or longer at home!

- my parants wanted to put one of our cats asleep because they could see her health deterioting. the vet says "i think she'll come around..." the cat stays for ONE day. she dies late nite. the vet charges over $1000. my mom goes to pay it and they say there is an additional charge for a 'test' done in the morning. my mom says "WHAT TEST????? SHE WAS DEAD BEFORE THE MORNING!!! " the vet says, "oh, there must have been a mistake here. i'll fix it."

****ING VETS

sorry, but dam scam artists they are!

they dont care about the pets -

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
post #9 of 27
There really are some wonderful vets out there so don't be discouraged. Our Mika had dissolving stitches so need to take her back and Bijou just had glue so again no need for a return visit.

Do some research - talk to friends - ask for references - whatever you can do to find an honest, decent vet. The vet you described above seems very pricey to me. If you live in the downtown area of Toronto that could be one reason they are so pricey as their rent would be much more expensive than in the suburbs.

I don't know where in Toronto you live, but if you PM me I'll try to get some info on vets for you. My friend lives downtown and she had a wonderful vet that they used to take their dog to.
post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
Yosemite,

this vet i goto is the cheapest i know of and i've called and called for pricings. asked people. and talked to the adoption agency. they charge half the price of every other clinic for almost every service. even boosters, meds and so on. they are cheap as they come and have been around for 50 years.

and sorry but i dont live in toronto, just 'nearby'. i dont wanna say the city i live in for safety reason.

thanks for offering the PM * hugs *
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamingRecover View Post
Yosemite,

this vet i goto is the cheapest i know of and i've called and called for pricings. asked people. and talked to the adoption agency. they charge half the price of every other clinic for almost every service. even boosters, meds and so on. they are cheap as they come and have been around for 50 years.

and sorry but i dont live in toronto, just 'nearby'. i dont wanna say the city i live in for safety reason.

thanks for offering the PM * hugs *
I understand your reason for not wanting to indicate where you live. It's just that I also live outside the Toronto area and thought I might have been able to offer some vet suggestions. No problem.
post #12 of 27
We got Gretta spayed at 20 weeks- no extra bloodwork, no pain meds (she was just fine), no worming or fecal test- just our $35 spay certificate from a local adoption group, even covered the overnight stay. Covered everything except her rabies shot that I asked for. My regular vet (doesn't take the certificate ) has a form that you fill out- Bloodwork? check yes or no. Pain meds?-Y or N. Microchip, etc. It also lists the cost of the total spay/neuter. And then you sign. They will also explain over the phone, no problem. I would check around some more. There's GOTTA be an option. I would try a more "rural/suburbian" vet-might get a better explanation and price .
post #13 of 27
a lot of vets where i live send their stool samples out to a lab for testing and i have heard that these places are much more thorough than the ones that test in house at the vets office.

edited: oh, and i never get pain meds or anything extra either. its just like when i take my kids (humans) to the doctor for a vaccine and they say here sign this, and its giving permission for them to give my kids a whole bunch of other vaccines as well, they dont even ask first! you just hafta pay close attention. and if they do something without asking i certainly would not feel obligated to pay for it!
post #14 of 27
For those who forgo pain medication for their animals, can I ask why you do that?

Animals feel pain just like we do. I know I sure wouldn't undergo surgery and then forgo pain medication. I had an ingrown toenail removed a month ago and I was in total agony for days after. And that's just a toenail. There was no way I'd have been able to go without pain medication.

For me personally my cats' comfort level is paramount and that means pain medication if they have what I deem would be a painful procedure if I had it done to myself.
post #15 of 27
If you have a concern that your vet is going to scam you, get a recommendation for another vet. I personally look at my gang as my kids, and I wouldn't take my kids to a doctor that I didn't trust - their lives are on the line. If you build a good working relationship with your vet, you should trust them to not scam you.

When you are considering a vet, call them and ask them questions about how they operate their practice. One question that is always telling concerning what you might call "scamming" is this: If I bring in an animal that is terminally ill, how do you approach the decision to euthanize. If their answer is that they go to all extremes to save the pet (no questions asked), then I suspect you will feel scammed. On the other hand, if they talk about educating you about the decision and help you to draw your own conclusions, then they will always include you in any decision to spend money on them.

I'm not sure what you described was a scam, I think it's just a different approach to medicine. I always chose a vet who takes the latter approach.
post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
For those who forgo pain medication for their animals, can I ask why you do that?

Animals feel pain just like we do. I know I sure wouldn't undergo surgery and then forgo pain medication. I had an ingrown toenail removed a month ago and I was in total agony for days after. And that's just a toenail. There was no way I'd have been able to go without pain medication.

For me personally my cats' comfort level is paramount and that means pain medication if they have what I deem would be a painful procedure if I had it done to myself.
As a human you understand that a necessary medical/surgical procedure has been done on some part of your body. You know what cutting open a part of yourself means, and also understand that the area should not be walked on, stretched, or over exerted. You know all about complications, infections, and the need to protect the damaged areas. You can be told that you need to take it easy, not lift things, or not go jogging.

An animal cannot.

Pain is natures way of limiting movement. Pain is a signal that says "don't do that".

Animals need such signals to tell them what they should and should not be doing. Feeling poorly causes an animal to "lay low", to hunker down and let a few days pass before they get back to their usual routine.

Pain tolerance among humans varies wildly and is often related to how you were treated as a child when you were hurt or sick. We learn that pain is a terrible, horrible thing when our mothers fuss over every little thing.
Animals handle pain much differently than humans- they are able to compartmentalize it,and they do not lay there thinking "poor me, woe, woe, woe, I'm gonna die it hurts so bad". They don't have the language to think such things- their thoughts are more along the lines of "ouch- better not".

To compare a human reaction to an animals reaction to any given situation is a faulty premise from the get go. They are a different species, and perceive the world through a completely different set of standards. Completely.
Years of animal management has given us the tools and understanding to best manage situations involving pain in animals, and restriction of movement is key to a speedy and complete, uncomplicated recovery.

No one is advocating withholding pain medications in serious situations under veterinary supervision. But offering pain meds after simple outpatient procedures in the majority of animals is contrary to a speedy recovery, and when it is offered it is more to satisfy the owners needs as opposed to the animals.
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cearbhaill View Post
Years of animal management has given us the tools and understanding to best manage situations involving pain in animals, and restriction of movement is key to a speedy and complete, uncomplicated recovery.

No one is advocating withholding pain medications in serious situations under veterinary supervision. But offering pain meds after simple outpatient procedures in the majority of animals is contrary to a speedy recovery, and when it is offered it is more to satisfy the owners needs as opposed to the animals.
OK, I can see your point of view. However, the reasons that you are suggesting using no pain meds is an extremely outdated and cruel. I am extremely interested and educated in pain management and have been to many CE courses in this topic. There have been numerous studies and reports done on pain management and the results have been the opposite of what you cite. They have proven that animals with adequate pain management recover faster and healing time is actually reduced.

Animals do feel pain similar to humans, you just have to be able to recognize the signs. The have the same neurological response to pain that we do. Pain takes the same pathway to the brain in animals as it does in humans. Offering pain medication is totally for the welfare of the animal, and it is up to their responsible owner to follow post op instructions and keep the activity limited, which can be done. In my opinion, as well as many veterinary anesthetists, IM specialists, and surgeons, not giving pain medication is worse for the animal and can be considered downright cruel.

I am very proud to work at a practice in which ALL surgical patients recieve appropriate pain medication. It is not an option, it is included in the procedures and our clientelle appreciates our more modern approach to medicine and pain management.

I respect your view, so I hope that you can respect mine.
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cearbhaill View Post
An animal cannot.

Pain is natures way of limiting movement. Pain is a signal that says "don't do that".
I'm a Registered Nurse and know all about pain and pain management. I can't imagine leaving an animal to suffer in pain.
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
For those who forgo pain medication for their animals, can I ask why you do that?

Animals feel pain just like we do. I know I sure wouldn't undergo surgery and then forgo pain medication. I had an ingrown toenail removed a month ago and I was in total agony for days after. And that's just a toenail. There was no way I'd have been able to go without pain medication.

For me personally my cats' comfort level is paramount and that means pain medication if they have what I deem would be a painful procedure if I had it done to myself.
I like and agree with what Cearbhaill said again.
I also wanted to mention that I was never even offered pain meds for any of the cats I've had fixed from 3 different vetrinary practices.

I was asking about pricing, etc. for spay/neuter at this new vet I am seeing and the tech mentioned "spay & neuter packages" which I of course asked what the "package" meant. She explained about whether you wanted them DECLAWED() at the same time or if you want pain meds to go home with them. I think that was all the extras she mentioned. This practice does insist that the shots be started, (three weeks prior), and completed on day of surgery or before, before they will fix a cat.

A couple of the other practices only insisted on rabies shot when they spay/neuter since they also work through programs to spay/neuter at a very reduced price just to be sure the animals are getting fixed. Good for them I say!

I know I have gotten off track, but want to add that I don't agree that all vets are scam artists just as all anyone or any business should not be judged on the actions of one.

Living is not free and easy for anyone and I don't begrudge someone wanting to be paid for their services. People do not come by their aducation and equipment to assure our and our pets good health by happenstance. They have worked hard and put their own sweat, sacrifices and finances toward that end. Whatever your job is, would you want to go and perform it day after day and not want compensation?

I have in the past done the little whine that I hate having to do the footwork and decision making regarding dealing with the right person or company for me, but it is my responsibility. An analogy that comes to mind is....
If I needed personal care and Dr. Frankenstein was available or $10, but Mother Teresa could provide the same care for $50, which way would I go? I think we know where my comfort level would be.

Money might make the world go 'round, but it is not the only consideration for living and our choices.
post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Les0304 View Post
OK, I can see your point of view. However, the reasons that you are suggesting using no pain meds is an extremely outdated and cruel.
seeing how it is the most common thought today about pain meds, i dont see how it is extremely outdated.
post #21 of 27
Any veterinarian who is up to date on pain management does not think that way. One of the vets I work for graduated in 1976 and this is what he was taught, however, he works very hard to stay current on many topics including vaccine protocols, diagnostic testing, etc. He strongly believes in adequate pain relief for post op patients (even cats who need dental extractions). Unfortunately, there are still a lot of veterinarians who think the "old fashioned" way.
post #22 of 27
every animal ive had spayed or neutered has been up and running and playing around as soon as the anesthesia wore off, so i really dont think they needed any kind of pain meds. now if its obvious your pet is suffereing in that case i would give it, but not under normal circumstances when they re running around playing right after. now i know people say cats hide their pain but i doubt theyd be running around.
post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Les0304 View Post
Any veterinarian who is up to date on pain management does not think that way. One of the vets I work for graduated in 1976 and this is what he was taught, however, he works very hard to stay current on many topics including vaccine protocols, diagnostic testing, etc. He strongly believes in adequate pain relief for post op patients (even cats who need dental extractions). Unfortunately, there are still a lot of veterinarians who think the "old fashioned" way.
Les0304,
I'm glad for your posts about the pain meds. Gives me some food for thought and I will certainly discuss this with my vet when I go in. I don't want to make my fur-babies suffer because of my ignorance about something.
The wonderful people that post on this site are always teaching me and I, (and all my babies), are grateful for that.
post #24 of 27
I think there is some talking past each other going on here. Some vets offer both pain meds at the time of surgery and pills to go home.

When I got my kittens spayed, there was a long checklist style contract for the spay.

I could even have chosen to do a laser instead of scalpel surgery. I simply didn't have the money to do it (for three kittens).

One of the items was pain medication while at the vet (I said yes) and pain medication to go home (I said no). I do think it would be cruel to have no pain medication (beyond anesthesia), but, depending on the cat, I do not think they need pain medication at home. For one thing, when I got my kittens spayed I had a very, very hard time pilling them, as they didn't like me all that much. The pain they'd have to go through to get the pills (which they might not even get much of) would probably be worse than the pain from the surgery.

Personally, I try to avoid pain meds for myself for the same reason that Cearbhaill avoids giving pain meds to cats when not absolutely necessary. If I have a fever and take drugs to make it go down, or get rid of the pain from an injury, I don't treat myself the way I should and I stay sick. If I feel the pain, I treat the pained part gingerly, and it heals faster. Of course, if the pain is not giving me a useful signal, I don't want it, and that kind of pain shouldn't be felt by my cats either.

I'm pretty sure dissolving stitches was automatic - no choice. When I look through veterinary supply catalogs, it's very hard to find the non-dissolving stitches. Most vets use dissolving stitches for spays. I'd definetly go with the dissolving stitches.

I had taken the kittens' mother to a cheaper vet (a clinic), and there were no options. They did the most simple, straightforward surgery; no laser surgery, no pills to go home, no other options. They were a very good clinic; they gave vaccinations, they did spays and neuters, they were extremely cheap, but if your cat had a serious illness, they told you to go elsewhere. I am still a huge fan of this clinic; it is extremely useful for all the pets not gifted with rich owners. I stopped going there simply because the wait, line outside, and waiting room was too much for my cats. And I could ask for the most simple, uncomplicated procedure and pay only slightly more at the vet with all the options.
post #25 of 27
[quote=DreamingRecover;1318851]do you think that my kittens could get dissolving stiches? it would cost so much less because i wouldn't have to go back. but my cats are really active. [quote]

ive never heard of anyone charging to remove the stitches, its included in the procedure.
post #26 of 27
Like the other poster said, suture removal is usually n/c, and included with the procedure. I prefer that kittens/cats are brought back in so that we can see how the incision healed.
post #27 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite
I understand your reason for not wanting to indicate where you live. It's just that I also live outside the Toronto area and thought I might have been able to offer some vet suggestions. No problem.
thanks for understanding

Quote:
Originally Posted by catsallover
There's GOTTA be an option. I would try a more "rural/suburbian" vet-might get a better explanation and price
they do explain it, but they sometimes try to 'add' stuff after. its just a matter of reading the bill and disagreeing to pay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaycee
a lot of vets where i live send their stool samples out to a lab for testing and i have heard that these places are much more thorough than the ones that test in house at the vets office.
thats good to know . also, i hope the vet give me the lab testings result to look at myself. i will definately ask for it anyways.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaycee
and if they do something without asking i certainly would not feel obligated to pay for it!
don't pay it, and think of it as a gift from them to you. presents are nice once and a while.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany
One question that is always telling concerning what you might call "scamming" is this: If I bring in an animal that is terminally ill, how do you approach the decision to euthanize. If their answer is that they go to all extremes to save the pet (no questions asked), then I suspect you will feel scammed. On the other hand, if they talk about educating you about the decision and help you to draw your own conclusions, then they will always include you in any decision to spend money on them.
an excellent question to ask. thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cearbhaill
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie
For those who forgo pain medication for their animals, can I ask why you do that?
Years of animal management has given us the tools and understanding to best manage situations involving pain in animals, and restriction of movement is key to a speedy and complete, uncomplicated recovery.
Natalie, i'm going to have to agree with Cearbhaill's comment. as it sounds like it has great reason. and i'm glad i made the decision to not use pain medication.

Quote:
Originally Posted by les
Offering pain medication is totally for the welfare of the animal, and it is up to their responsible owner to follow post op instructions and keep the activity limited, which can be done.
during the night i cannot control their behaviour. they go wild and pounce and stalk each-other for hours while i'm asleep. i've talked to an animal fosterer and she's neutered and sprayed over 20 cats without pain meds and all has been fine.

i do care about the pain they are in. but i also care about their complete recovery. if they get active and careless and tear a stitch and it gets infected they'll be in ALOT more pain after that. not to mention there'll be another gruelling 40 minute ride to the vet and 40 minute ride back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tru
A couple of the other practices only insisted on rabies shot when they spay/neuter since they also work through programs to spay/neuter at a very reduced price just to be sure the animals are getting fixed. Good for them I say!
i got my flvcp and rabies before + a booster shot that i need. it was an excellent price too! + i took fecal samples of all three cats at the same time. all done in one trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Enuja
I could even have chosen to do a laser instead of scalpel surgery. I simply didn't have the money to do it (for three kittens).
at my clinic laser surgury was the only option. and they also got dissolving stitches, which was an option, but the doctor said i didnt need them.
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