Author Topic: How to Reduce Vet Fees?  (Read 4569 times)

BreakingtheCycle

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How to Reduce Vet Fees?
« on: November 03, 2014, 11:29:56 AM »
We have a 2 year old cat, she's very healthy.  We pay $36/month for 2x annual checkups, plus some of the vaccinations (not sure what they're for) and cream for her to prevent fleas and heartworm.

Is there a cheaper way to do this?  She's an indoor/outdoor cat so we're worried about skipping the flea/heartworm cream, but we could buy that online for the same price and save $20/month if we stopped getting the annual checkups and vaccines.

I think we should consider that option - paying for cream but skipping the vet visits a few years.  DH and I both had cats growing up that never saw a vet, and since our cat is so young I figure we can resume visits in a few years once our student loan is paid off or just take her if she starts to seem sick or hurt or something.

Cassie

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Re: How to Reduce Vet Fees?
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2014, 11:40:15 AM »
We have 4 dogs & I think the yearly visits are warranted since a small health problem could be picked up before it is a big problem.  Vet prices really vary by location. We pay about 3x's on the West Coast what my friends in the Midwest pay. 

Cassie

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Re: How to Reduce Vet Fees?
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2014, 11:41:02 AM »
Just realized your post said 2 checkups a year. I would only do one.

Gone Fishing

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Re: How to Reduce Vet Fees?
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2014, 11:47:38 AM »
Never skip rabies vaccines.  It's the law that cats and dogs have them in many places.

Might come off as a bit hardcore, because it is, but if you are really serious about getting rid of the student loans in a hurry, you need to get rid of the cat.  Not only does the vet cost, but food, and litter (if you use it) add up as well. It just depends on your situation and what you want. 

You might be able to find a friend or family member who can "foster" your cat for a couple years and then possibly return it when you have your debt knocked out.     

Goldielocks

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Re: How to Reduce Vet Fees?
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2014, 11:54:43 AM »
Depending on what your cat encounters outdoors, and the risk, you may be able to reduce checkups to every 2 years, and vaccinations too, as she is an Adult cat now.  Some vets support this.   Best for low risk cat situations.

We found our own cat surprisingly low cost until a recent problem propped up.  She is SPCA adoption cat, now 9 years old.   

I was amazed how we willingly and quickly spent $700 over 2 months of treatments, all while trying to figure out what was wrong.   
(most visits / medications like antibiotics were only $40 to $90 at a time, with only two larger bills, but 6 visits, xray, blood work testing adds up).

This was for a very low grade problem..   We are not the "surgery at all costs" people, but thought a foot infection was a minor issue deserving to be resolved.

So - be certain you have money set aside for minor emergencies.

Another Reader

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Re: How to Reduce Vet Fees?
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2014, 12:01:55 PM »
It sounds like you have a wellness plan with one of the big companies.  I prefer small local clinics with vets I know and trust.  I have had the same vets for over 20 years.

Here vaccines can be obtained through mobile clinics for under $20 a shot.  Vets charge $25 to $30 for the major vaccines, but require an annual exam.  Since your cat is indoor-outdoor, you need to have the FVRCP and the rabies vaccines.  These days, the rabies series is two shots, one year apart, then the shot every three years.  The FVRCP us a 3 shot kitten series, followed by an annual shot.  At some point, those shots get more space between them.  The feline leukemia series is something to discuss with the vet.  There are some risks with that.

At her age, exams could be annual, as long as you examine her regularly yourself.  If she goes outside, there are many more bad things that can happen to her, so you do need to look her over her regularly.  Vet exams pick up early signs of problems such as tooth decay and kidney issues.  Microchipping is a good way to insure she gets back to you if she gets lost.  That's especially true if she were to end up in a shelter.  A simple scan, and you get a phone call. 

Can't comment on the heartworm preventative, because we don't see that in cats here.  Frontline Plus flea prevention can be purchased from Amazon or Costco at a reasonable price.  It may not be necessary in the winter because fleas die off then, especially in colder climates.

The cheapest way to keep a cat healthy is to keep her indoors and feed her high quality food.  You only need the FVRCP vaccine and  the risk of her getting sick or injured is much smaller.

Tai

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Re: How to Reduce Vet Fees?
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2014, 12:07:09 PM »
Best way to reduce your future vet bills? Keep your cat inside. My 3 are indoor and I'll only get them shots every 2-3 years. They're not exposed to disease. No fleas or other parasites either. The chances of them getting hurt in accidents, attacked by other animals, or poisoned are minimal inside.

Cpa Cat

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Re: How to Reduce Vet Fees?
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2014, 12:17:08 PM »
The cheapest way to keep a cat healthy is to keep her indoors and feed her high quality food.  You only need the FVRCP vaccine and  the risk of her getting sick or injured is much smaller.

For our indoor cats we take then to the vet less than once per year (usually every 3 years, unless there's a problem). The vet usually recommends a couple of a vaccines at that point (rabies for sure and probably FVRCP). We also got them chipped for 15 bucks.

We've done preventative flea meds only twice - once when we had painters in and they had some pretty dirty looking sheets to protect furniture/floors from paint, and once when we were fostering another cat that came from a house with questionable sanitation.

They went more often and their care was more expensive when they were kittens, and I anticipate that costs will increase when they become elderly. But keeping them indoors is the clear win for your budget.

Gimesalot

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Re: How to Reduce Vet Fees?
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2014, 12:45:17 PM »
The Petco in our city has a monthly vaccination clinic that does very low cost shots.  The only downside is a long wait, 45 minutes or so.  While not a problem for me, my timid cat gets very nervous.

Low cost flea and tick medication, Revolution, Advocate, can be found from overseas sellers for a much lower cost.  I have used singpet.com in the past without issue.  Delivery takes a while, about 2 or 3 weeks.

As said before, you should keep your cat indoors to lower vet bills.

Cassie

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Re: How to Reduce Vet Fees?
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2014, 03:14:47 PM »
SoClose: When you take an animal it is for life. In the future you may choose to not get a pet but it get rid of it is horrible. 

BreakingtheCycle

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Re: How to Reduce Vet Fees?
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2014, 06:09:19 PM »
Thank you all for the insight and suggestions!  I wish we could keep her inside, but we've given up!  She is so feisty and wants to be outside (our backyard is wooded with some woods behind it), and our 4 year old and 6 year old constantly let her out on accident when they are going into the backyard.  Heck, I do it all the time too, as the cat has learned to escape through the front door, garage, and back door! 

It's laughable how many indoor/outdoor cats live in our neighborhood, nearly one on every front porch, haha!

So I guess it's more stringent vet care for us being that she's outdoorsy.  I could never get rid of her since she was a gift for the kids, but I'll talk to DH about switching to our local veterinarian (we're at petsmart) and getting annual checkups with the necessary vaccines, also look into a better source for the flea/heartworm cream as suggested. 

Thanks!

FarmFam

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Re: How to Reduce Vet Fees?
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2014, 06:33:46 PM »
I will answer this from some research I have been doing on this very subject.  We have a wellness plan from one of the big companies with a monthly fee and 2x annual visits as well.

Doing my research on how and when to administer the shots myself, I actually found that these big companies and some vets will tell you to vaccinate yearly due to the medicine companies saying the vaccinations expire in a year and need a booster.  Turns out recent studies have shown that the vaccinations can last up to 7 years and that over vaccination can actually cause health issues in your pet.

This was a way for the vaccination manufactures and vets to make more money.  Good vets will tell you that you don't need annual vaccinations.  They are out there and some are even being vocal about those 'bad' vets and their recommendation of over vaccinations.

To be on the safe side, some will recommend vaccinations every 3 years.

I would recommend to do some research on vaccinations for pets.  I Googled "how often to vaccinate pets" or something like that.  I would suggest learning to do it yourself and take the pet in to the vet yearly for just a check up with an affordable vet not one of the big company vets.  If you are skirmish about giving shots yourself, check with your Walgreens and see if they offer pet shots like mine does. They come about 2 times a year to offer shots for a low fee of about $5-10.   

Also, shop around. I have found a various range of prices by shopping around for a vet.  Most of them are a third the price of your 'big company' vet.  Some vets that offer these wellness plans mark up their prices then tell you you get a discount with their wellness plan.  Bait and switch!

Also, I suggest doing some research on your 'big company' vet.  You will be surprised of the reviews you will read!

dodojojo

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Re: How to Reduce Vet Fees?
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2014, 07:55:22 PM »
Never skip rabies vaccines.  It's the law that cats and dogs have them in many places.

Might come off as a bit hardcore, because it is, but if you are really serious about getting rid of the student loans in a hurry, you need to get rid of the cat.  Not only does the vet cost, but food, and litter (if you use it) add up as well. It just depends on your situation and what you want. 

You might be able to find a friend or family member who can "foster" your cat for a couple years and then possibly return it when you have your debt knocked out.   

I disagree with this approach--it's saving money on ethically shaky grounds.  Making a commitment to a pet isn't quite like making a commitment to an expense like cable tv or starbucks coffee.  I understand if it's a situation where a mom has to re-foster a cat because the kids are starving or have allergies.  But the OP is merely asking for some cost-saving tips and doesn't sound like s/he is or on the verge of being destitute.  Don't pass the buck of your pet's well-being because you don't feel like spending money on it anymore.