faq

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PET HEALTHCARE

Q: Isn't the cost of veterinary medicine out of sight and unreasonable? I mean, we're "just" talking about animal care. I thought my doctor really cared and would go the extra mile for me.  - click to view

A: The extent of care given to any animal is ultimately determined by its owner. Every pet owner has different ideas as to what is acceptable pet care. Veterinarians can only make their clients aware of the medical options that are available. Then, they guide owners in their choices regarding the most important health care options for their pets. The final decision and choices rest with the owner. Veterinarians are willing and do go the extra mile for pet owners, but owners should be prepared for the associated expenses and understand that the veterinarian should be compensated for his/her professional services and related expenses.

Q: Why should I spay or neuter my pet? Why does it cost what it does?  - click to view

A: There are long term health benefits to your pet when it is spayed or neutered. Ask your veterinarian to explain these. Obviously, the primary benefit is controlling the pet population and reducing the numbers of unplanned, unwanted pets. Spay and neuter procedures are major surgery for your pet. The average spay or neuter costs less than an automobile tune-up. The procedure requires the time of a veterinarian and a surgical technician, newly-sterilized surgical instruments, general anesthesia, drapes, suture material, and hospitalization. When measured against the cost of feeding and nurturing unwanted kittens or puppies, spaying/neutering is much more cost-effective.

Q: Why can't veterinarians advise, diagnose and/or prescribe over the phone and save me a whole lot of time and money?  - click to view

A: Not only is it unethical and illegal to prescribe for an animal that hasn't been physically examined by a veterinarian, it is also impossible to come up with an accurate diagnosis and rational plan of treatment.A veterinarian can't make a diagnoses based on symptoms only as observed by an owner. The outward signs may be an indication of any number of internal causes with a wide variety of clinical treatments. A complete physical examination and other diagnostic tests are required to determine the cause of the symptoms and best course of treatment.

Q: Why is there such a wide range of prices for the same procedure(s) among veterinarians?  - click to view

A: Fees are set by each individual veterinary practice and each has different expenses that are covered by the fees charged (i.e., salaries, rent, utilities). Often, the different fees do not reflect the same set of services, although there may be certain basic procedures in common. Each veterinarian sets the fees for services based on varying criteria, such as different drugs, anesthetics, antibiotics, medical techniques and products, which may have a bearing on the cost of the services.

Q: How much should I anticipate spending for veterinary care for a new puppy or kitten? On an annual basis thereafter?  - click to view

A: Most puppies and kittens need basic health examinations, checks for parasites and vaccinations. Veterinary hospitals will provide general estimates by telephone. When requesting an estimate you need to be sure exactly what you are getting for the fees charged, and whether there are additional costs for anything else. Feel free to ask for a full Health Care Plan for your family pet.

Q: Does my pet have to get a full set of vaccinations to get a rabies certificate ? What shot(s) are absolutely necessary for my dog/cat and how much do they cost?  - click to view

A: To get a rabies certificate, only a rabies vaccination is needed. This law is in place to protect humans and animals from the spread of rabies. However, the vaccine cannot be administered without the animal first having received a physical examination. It is in the best interest of your pet to get a routine check-up plus all the necessary vaccines as determined by your veterinarian to maintain your pet's good health. There are many infectious diseases of animals, many of them fatal to your pet. The additional cost of the vaccines which prevent these diseases is often quite minimal. Administering vaccines is a safe, easy and cost effective way to prevent disease. We carry written material on the recommended vaccinations your pet needs, and would be happy to provide this to you.

Q: Why is veterinary care for my pet(s) so expensive? Sometimes I believe I'm spending more on my pet's health care than on my own!  - click to view

A: Relatively speaking, veterinary care is a great value! The cost of veterinary care has risen very little over the last 20 to 30 years, especially when compared to the cost of human health care or almost any other services.Veterinary fees are a reflection of the costs of maintaining suitable facilities, equipment and support personnel to provide the level of care that is expected in animal medicine today. Remember, too, the original cost of the animal has no bearing on the cost of services delivered. Annual veterinary care is a cost that should be factored in to the decision to own a pet.

Q: I've heard that there may be pet health insurance available. Is my pet eligible and what is covered?  - click to view

A: Third party health insurance is available for pets. As with human health insurance, different companies offer various levels of coverage which have a wide range of deductibles and premiums. There are also certain restrictions on which conditions, injuries and procedures are covered. Please contact your veterinary facility which may have more information on this type of insurance.