Do you really get what you pay for?

Ever heard the saying, "You get what you pay for?"  Do you believe that applies to all things in life?   I personally think that pricing can be a double-edged sword.  I think that you will pay more in general if you are wanting quality over quantity.  But hey, that's just my opinion.  So how does this relate to veterinary medicine?  Why are some vet clinics charging more for vaccinations than others?  Why are spays and neuter prices so varied by clinic?  I obviously can't speak for everyone on this topic, but I can tell you my thoughts without taking an hour to explain every cent that goes into caring for your pet.

Vaccinations-  Have you ever heard of low cost shot clinics?  Sounds like a good idea on the surface right?  Cheaper, quicker, and getting the same vaccines right?  WRONG.  Did you know that the most important part of vaccinating your pet is the examination done by the doctor?  And proper exams take time.  Time to speak to you about your pet and any concerns you may have.  Time to check your pet over from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail.  Time to listen to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope.  If you have your pet vaccinated in a total appointment time of 20 minutes or less, you are missing out.  Do you know if the vaccines given to your pet at a low cost clinic have been stored properly?  Yeah, neither do we.  Your veterinarian will not accept vaccines, even from the manufacturer, if they are not at the proper temperature upon arrival.  If you are looking for a less expensive way to have great medicine for you pet, there are options other than a low cost clinic.  Try checking out our health plans link.

Spays and Neuters-  Now I can't verify for every low cost spay and neuter facility out there, but there are several that I do know that only send home pain medications if you ask for them, and at an additional cost.  REALLY?  My dog just had her entire uterus removed and you think pain medications are OPTIONAL?  Did you know that all of our spay and neuters here at VZACC require a heartworm test before surgery, and include IV catheter and IV fluids, and pain medications before, during, and after surgery?  And all of our patients are entubated and monitored by a trained technician using the most advanced monitoring equipment.  That seems to be worth the little bit extra to me.  How about you?

Teeth Cleanings-  Dentistry can really only be done effectively one way.  With the patient under anesthesia and full mouth x-rays taken.  Now remember, this is the opinion of a long time technician who has trained with several board certified veterinary dentists, and may not be the opinion of every veterinarian you meet.  But I believe that you are doing a disservice to your patient if x-rays are not taken.  Did you know that 2/3 of the tooth resides under the gum line?  So, unless you have X-ray vision, you can't possibly see it.  So taking your pet in for an "anesthesia free" teeth cleaning is basically taking them to have the tartar chipped off of the top 1/3 of the tooth without ever knowing what's going on under the gum line.  Crazy huh?  And if anybody out there can tell me how to stick an x-ray probe into a dog or cat's mouth while they are awake and have them sit perfectly still and not bite it, please let me know.  This is the reason for anesthesia!  Yes, cleaning your pet's teeth is a great way to keep them healthy in the future.  Yes, having it done once a year can add up to 4 years to their lifespan.  And yes, to have it done correctly, it may be a little more expensive than somewhere else.  But is your pet worth it?

Just some thoughts from this old vet tech turned practice manager.  And hopefully something for you pet owners at home to think about in the future.  Are you really getting what you are paying for?  Or could you be getting much, much more?  ;)

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