A Few Tips About Vets
Veterinarians and their clinics are not charitable organizations. Some people are surprised to find that when they bring an injured stray cat to a vet, they will be charged for their services. The vet needs to make a living and cannot afford to offer free services to all the strays that are brought in.
You can call various vets to compare charges. Some things cannot be foreseen, but you can ask how much they charge for a simple exam, that price is always a fixed fee and usually ranges from $35 to $65. If you think your cat has a dental problem, there is usually a fixed fee for a cleaning, plus varying fees per tooth extraction, depending on the difficulty of its removal. These charges are wildly different among vets. X-rays are usually a fixed fee.
Ask for an estimate. If you do not know what is wrong with your pet, it is hard for a vet to give an estimate over the phone for what the charges may be. However, once a vet has determined what your pet needs, he/she should be able to tell you what you will be charged in total or an estimate that comes close to what you will pay. If you think another vet might charge less, pay the exam charge and go elsewhere.
Write down symptoms and any details, like length of time your pet has been acting differently. Cats can’t tell the vet what’s wrong, so you have to.
Advocate for your cat. If you go into a vet’s office indicating that you expect your cat to die, the vet MIGHT take his/her cue from you. If you enter expecting or even insisting the vet try to help it live, the vet will take your cue. If you are unwilling to continue giving it meds or treatment at home, they might recommend putting it down. If the cost of treatment, meds or surgery is too much, it is well worth taking the cat home & calling a few other vets to compare costs. Again, costs can drastically differ from vet to vet! Skills can also differ from vet to vet.
ONLY YOU CAN PERMIT YOUR PET TO BE EUTHANIZED! This is very important to know. It is illegal for a vet to euthanize your pet without your signing an agreement indicating you give your permission for this to be done. A vet can urge you by strongly recommending euthanasia, and they might be right. But sometimes they are not. If you want to keep your pet alive and take it to another vet, then do so. Please do this politely.
YOU PAID FOR YOUR VET RECORDS, THEY ARE YOURS. Vets are required by law to give you copies of any of your pet’s records at your request. This includes x-rays or radio-graphs. If there were any surgical procedures, you can also get the notes from them. You can get physical paper copies of them or have them faxed or emailed to another vet so that procedures do not have to be repeated (and paid for again).
ASK FOR YOUR RABIES CERTIFICATE. Oddly, some vets do not automatically give you one when you pay for rabies vaccinations! They should. It should have the name of the vet who gave the shot.
INSIST THAT THE NAME OF THE VET WHO TREATED YOUR PET BE CLEARLY PRINTED ON YOUR BILL!
The quality or skills of any vet is not reflected in their charges. The least expensive may be the best, average or worst. The most expensive may be the best, average or worst.