Author Topic: Choosing a Vet  (Read 2963 times)

Gen Y Finance Journey

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Choosing a Vet
« on: March 04, 2015, 11:23:20 AM »
I have a dilemma. I've seen two vets in my area and I can't decide which one to use. Considering the pros and cons of each, what would you do?

Vet #1
Pros: Half the price of vet #2
Cons: Absolutely no bedside manner, I'm not sure the guy even likes animals; LOTS of horror stories on Yelp. Their reviews are almost entirely 5 stars or 1 star. All the 5 star reviews are about routine visits, all the 1 star reviews are about visits due to sickness/injury.

Vet #2
Pros: Great bedside manner, they obviously care about your pet and spend a lot of time with each patient; Great reviews on Yelp, mostly 4 and 5 stars.
Cons: Twice the price of vet #1

Is it ok to use vet #1 for annual checkups and vaccines, and go to vet #2 whenever there's a health problem or injury? Is that considered rude? (Should I care if it is?) Is there significant value in going to the same vet for everything (like them knowing your pet's history in the event she gets sick)? Is that value worth paying twice the price for basic care?

Mesmoiselle

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Re: Choosing a Vet
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2015, 11:43:53 AM »
I have two vets, I never have been treated differently by my cheaper "Vet#1" for going elsewhere for less basic care. And my more expensive Vet#2 admits to being higher than average in price on a lot of things, letting me get prescriptions filled at my regular vet or Walgreens.

Debtless in Texas

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Re: Choosing a Vet
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2015, 11:45:19 AM »
Personally, I would minimize cost - pets are expensive enough as it is. It is absolutely ok to take your pet to different vets.

We have 2 indoor cats and our vet (who is expensive) wants us to bring them in for unnecessary (in our opinion) routine shots.

Think of it as a doctor...you go to your GP, an eye doc, an ENT, a dentist, etc. and there are no problems. Treat the cheaper vet as your shot vet and the better bedside manner as the injury/illness vet. Just keep good records to avoid them trying to treat your pet(s) twice.


forestbound

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Re: Choosing a Vet
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2015, 11:46:25 AM »
Is there a third choice? Another vet?

I love my vet, and pay through the nose, but after a VERY bad experience at another vet, I will only use this one. With two dogs, I think I have put at least one kid through a semester of college. BUT my vet always says, get the meds where ever you can find them cheap and offers alternatives to expensive care. I don't have kids so I am willing to pay for better pet care.

lemonlime

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Re: Choosing a Vet
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2015, 11:48:14 AM »
 I don't think that a vet needs to gush over how adorable your pet is to be a good vet, so unless you feel that the cheap vet was actually cruel, I wouldn't let that external behavior affect your decision too much. If you feel you can advocate for your pet, like you know them really well and can tell when they are feeling off, go with the cheaper vet. If you don't like his/her recommended course of treatment, you can go to another vet for a second opinion. If your pet has chronic conditions that require a lot of care, you should probably see a specialist anyway. If your pet is generally healthy and just needs periodic checkups and to be kept up with vaccines, the cheap vet will serve you fine. Supervise your pet and you'll avoid most sickness and injury (not saying you don't, just that sometimes folks don't realize that it is important, for the pet, to supervise play and pet-proof your home or the pet's living area.)

MandyM

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Re: Choosing a Vet
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2015, 11:51:47 AM »
Assuming you have a mostly healthy pet, I would be fine getting vaccines from the cheap vet. But not much else, so I'm not sure it would be worth it.

I've found that some vets are cheap on routine care, but more expensive for everything else. Or vice-versa. What costs have you compared? Also, there have been times where I've had to take a pet into the vet several times over the course of a month due to an illness that just won't go away. My vet doesn't always charge me an office visit fee when this happens. Once they offered to keep my cat there for observation for the day while I was at work, free of charge (he was pretty sick).

My point being, a good vet isn't going to nickle and dime you. And when something bad happens I would much rather see someone that knows me and my pet.

Pigeon

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Re: Choosing a Vet
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2015, 12:11:45 PM »
I would probably keep looking around.  Ask everybody you know who has a pet for a recommendation.

We've switched vets a lot over the years, with multiple pets.  What I've found is that there are big, fancypants clinics that have the most up-to-date diagnostic equipment.  Those places tend to push a whole lot of unnecessary testing and treatment.  The have a ton of money sunk into this equipment and are looking for a way to pay it off.  The last place we went to, you couldn't get out of a well indoor cat check-up for less than $400.

The clinic we go to now doesn't have a lot of high end equipment.  If you really need something, they can refer you elsewhere.  The vets are great.  They are kind, smart, effective, love animals, but understand that most people can't spend an unlimited amount on a pet. 

If your animal has a serious condition, they lay out various options.  We have a dog with cancer that is inoperable.  They told us they could keep her comfortable for as long as possible.  They could give us a referral to a specialist.  They told us the possible outcomes and costs.  They were perfectly fine with whatever decision we want to make.  We had a similar situation with a dog a few years back at a different clinic and the amount of testing  and treatment they pushed us to do was insane, because it was obvious that the cancer (a different type) had already spread.

I would say we tried at least 6 practices before we found the current place.


Gen Y Finance Journey

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Re: Choosing a Vet
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2015, 12:27:40 PM »
I've found that some vets are cheap on routine care, but more expensive for everything else. Or vice-versa. What costs have you compared?

I've really only compared costs for annual visits and vaccines because none of my pets have had any health problems (knock on wood).

I suppose I could keep searching for another vet, as someone suggested, but I've asked all of my friends who have pets about their vets and they all pay similar prices to the expensive vet I visited. It seems like those costs are pretty standard and I've managed to find a somewhat rare discount vet that likely keeps costs so low by spending practically no time with patients so they can see more animals each day.

As long as I'm not making some horrible decision by going to a discount vet for routine care and a higher priced vet for more serious stuff, I'll probably just stick with that approach.

Mini-Mer

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Re: Choosing a Vet
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2015, 09:28:25 PM »
Is "keep looking" an option in your area?  After a couple tries (including the office that called one Christmas morning to try to sell me on teeth cleaning), I found what I would describe as an old-fashioned practice.  They don't have the fancy new equipment, the office was decorated before I was born, and basic visits are indeed basic. 

When my cat is sick, they describe the range of treatments available, and their cost/benefit analysis includes both financial cost and quality of life.  I've always felt comfortable choosing the less invasive option.  They do like running bloodwork - which is not cheap, but is useful since organ failure could be a factor (very senior cat!).  They will also discuss options that would provide a definitive diagnosis but *not* lead to improved treatment/quality of life, and discourage those.  Mileage probably varies, but I appreciate the realistic approach.

caliq

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Re: Choosing a Vet
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2015, 09:39:07 PM »
I've found that some vets are cheap on routine care, but more expensive for everything else. Or vice-versa. What costs have you compared?

I've really only compared costs for annual visits and vaccines because none of my pets have had any health problems (knock on wood).

I suppose I could keep searching for another vet, as someone suggested, but I've asked all of my friends who have pets about their vets and they all pay similar prices to the expensive vet I visited. It seems like those costs are pretty standard and I've managed to find a somewhat rare discount vet that likely keeps costs so low by spending practically no time with patients so they can see more animals each day.

As long as I'm not making some horrible decision by going to a discount vet for routine care and a higher priced vet for more serious stuff, I'll probably just stick with that approach.

Part of annual vaccine visits is supposed to be a full physical.  I would worry about things getting missed because your vet is just sticking them with shots and not really checking them out.

In my area, there are fairly frequent low-cost vaccination clinics at stores like Tractor Supply or the local independent feed/hardware store.  If that's an option for you, I would price out the difference between clinic vaccinations + annual wellness check at the expensive vet vs. vaccines/"exam" at the cheap vet.