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$4800 Dog Dental Bill: Excessive and Unreasonable

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?


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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Health, Pet health | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “$4800 Dog Dental Bill: Excessive and Unreasonable”

  1. Avatar Gale Says:
    June 6th, 2014 at 6:16 am

    When I lived in Ottawa, the vet wanted $1500 to remove 6 teeth that were loose; we didn’t have the money, and he was not in pain. When, a year later, after we moved to a small town, the local vet said he needed 12 teeth out and the cost would be $400. It ended up being 25 teeth and $790, leaving my beautiful boy almost toothless, just like his mom was (I guess making this genetic?).

  2. Avatar Renate Starr Says:
    June 6th, 2014 at 10:15 am

    When my 12 yo. Cocker spaniel needed 22 teeth removed I paid $780.00 at the value pet clinic. Initially they thought he would only need to have about 6 of them removed. She only charged me $50.00 more and he also had a cyst on his shoulder removed at the same time. I am forever grateful to this clinic for being that compassionate.

  3. Avatar Marja Says:
    June 6th, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    My very dear cat has a heart murmur and is 14 y/o. Her teeth are in terrible shape. I’m told she will need an echocardiogram and senior blood work and probably many extractions.

    All of which I would do immediately if I made more than I do in a year [I am retired enlisted military and petsit part-time], but this testing, anaesthesia,and surgery look to cost me about $3,000. Not a fee I can afford.

    I am thinking of speaking to the clinic and providing a financial statement if necessary to see if they can give me a price break. I will also apply for Care Credit [a US credit card for health care and vet care], but suspect they may not extend credit b/c my credit’s not great.

    I’m very sad and worried, because Emma is so dear to me and has the sweetest personality of any cat I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I have three other cats who, along with Emma, have been treated for various things this year. Expenses mount up.

    Any opinions? [My low-cost vet advised me to get the echocardiogram; she is reluctant to perform the surgery without it.]

    And please, don’t tell me if I can’t afford full vet care that I shouldn’t have pets. My cats joined my life in a period of prosperity I thought would last.

  4. Avatar Sherry Says:
    June 7th, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    That is outrageous, that vet’s office won’t be around long at those prices! I want to know why she is responsible for the bill when the people she gave the dog to were the ones who took the dog to that vet and agreed to pay for it. I would tell that vet’s office to kiss my ass! She didn’t authorize the charges so she’s not responsible for them, if she feels obligated to pay then pay what the average price is from the other estimates she got and tell them that’s all they are getting from her.


Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM