By Dr. Andrew Jones
This story is a disconcerting one which highlights the large inequality in the veterinary medicine, and how some veterinarians are acting more like heartless corporations as opposed to compassionate animal caring people.
Senior wants $4,800 vet bill reduced (Source: CBC News)
Says tab for dog’s dental surgery almost equals her annual CPP pension
An Edmonton senior says a $4,800 dental surgery bill from a local veterinary clinic is far higher than fees charged by other vets and is almost equal to what she receives from the Canada Pension Plan each year.
“I think there has to be an element of compassion and reconsideration of this bill,” Davida Marantz said.
Mayfield Veterinary Hospital has refused to budge, saying the dog was owned by someone else at the time of the surgery who agreed to pay for the procedure.
Marantz, a 67-year-old pensioner, had given her 12-year-old Sheltie, Libby, to friends in January because her own declining health caused her to doubt she would ever be able to care for the dog again.
Following a hospital stay and two-month recovery period, Marantz began feeling much better and decided to ask for Libby back.
“She’s my life. She gives me a reason to get up at five in the morning. She keeps me fit,” Marantz said.
In the meantime, Libby’s health had also declined because of several rotting teeth and a spreading infection. Her new owners took her to their own vet, Mayfield Veterinary Hospital, and agreed to pay for surgery to remove up to 16 teeth.
Because of Libby’s age and weakened condition, the surgery was done in two stages to reduce the amount of time the dog would be would be under general anaesthetic.
Vet’s fees out of line says senior
Marantz said she also has no complaint about the care Libby received at Mayfield Veterinary Hospital and said the dog appears healthier than ever.
But she feels Mayfield’s fees were out of line compared to fees charged by other veterinarians.
Marantz says she canvassed three other clinics to ask what they would charge for a similar procedure and found their costs were about half.
“When I saw those quotes, and they were coming in so significantly lower, that’s when I considered asking Mayfield for some redress,” Marantz said.
Mayfield Veterinary Clinic Won’t Lower The Fees
Mayfield Veterinary Hospital has told her it won’t reduce the bill and considers the matter closed.
Veterinary medicine has no fee schedule
Unlike human medicine, veterinary medicine has no fee schedule, according to Dr. Phil Buote, deputy registrar and complaints director at the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association.
“They’re private businesses that set the fees according to what they need to, based in the economics of their practice,“ Buote said.
So what can you do
1. Develop a good relationship with a veterinary clinic that you trust
2. Always get accurate estimates, and phone calls prior to additional veterinary services being performed ( as in additional extractions etc)
3. Price shop to get a sense of the cost
4. ASK many questions
5. Do MORE for your pets at home. As in providing basic veterinary care, regular examinations, and become comfortable with simple at home remedies.
Start with my complimentary books and videos by signing up for my newsletter.
Check out the articles and videos here on my blog.
Consider my Getting Started Kit. A great way to begin with at home veterinary care.
P.S. In veterinary practice we had hundreds of animals that have needed multiple extractions, and NEVER ever charged anything close to this clinic’s price.
In my opinion it it excessive, unreasonable, and putting the profession in a bad light.
But who am I to say?
Sign up here for Free Updates (and get my free e-book "Top 10 Ways to Save Money at the Veterinarian"):
To post a comment, click the 'Comments' link below: