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Shakti

Vets Fees With No Warning?

84 posts in this topic

Shakti   

Hi all,

Took my dog to be neutered today - had made the appointment two weeks ago. While standing in the waiting room after he had been led off I was told that he should also undergo a thorough blood test which would ensure that the absolutely right anaesthetic for him could be administered correctly as it would reveal info about his kidney and liver etc. It would also reveal if he had any issues so they could be dealt with promptly. The cost would be $240.00

I declined.

They then said that they were now recommending all dogs undergoing a GA to have fluid therapy - they explained the advantages of it to me - and it sounded great. The cost was another $200

I declined

They then said that while he was under the anaesthetic they could remove his hind dew claws - at the very cheap rate of $90.00

Again I declined.

I came away feeling terrible as most of these procedures sounded like things I should certainly have done for my boy but why on earth didn't they mention them when I made the initial appointment so I could have budgeted so much more? Is this usual practice?

PS they did clip his claws free of charge!

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stormie   

Personally, I think this sort of thing is rubbish. It's the Vets job to be the professional and make decisions on what is best for the animal. If the Vet thinks that its necessary that all animals have pre GA bloods before surgery, then they should just do it and factor it into the price. Same with fluids. If they personally believe it's the best, then there should be no option, it should be done.

Obviously if owners want things like this done in places where it's not routine, then that's fine as well. But offering it like this to routine surgeries and making people feel guilty for saying no, IMO, is ridiculous.

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he should also undergo a thorough blood test which would ensure that the absolutely right anaesthetic for him could be administered correctly as it would reveal info about his kidney and liver etc.

and then charge you the extra few dollars for Alfaxan over Thio.

That all seems soooo expensive an extra $440 for pre GA bloods and fluids. How old is your dog?

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stormie   
he should also undergo a thorough blood test which would ensure that the absolutely right anaesthetic for him could be administered correctly as it would reveal info about his kidney and liver etc.

and then charge you the extra few dollars for Alfaxan over Thio.

Noooo.. do clinics really do this???? Charge more for different GA's?

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Pippa   

At least you had the option to refuse. My dog went for a superficial cyst removal under GA. He was allowed to drink water up until I dropped him off, he was home within three hours and allowed to drink then, so why did he get IV fluids (cost of $70)? He was fluid overloaded and didn't go near water until the next day!

There should be a standard charge for anaesthesia without all these optional extras, most owners don't understand whether they are necessary or not and can easily be sucked in.

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Hope he's recovering well!

I'm guessing he's fine, so don't worry, saying No didn't harm him. It's a bit mean to offer the dew claw op without any pre planning, what are the after care needs etc, and were you prepared etc, what possible complcations? Sounds a bit unprofessional to me. If I'm ambushed I shut down and say no to everything. If you send him to the same vet again, tell them you want to discuss all possible costs in advance. Or you could try another vet if you are really miffed.

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stormie   

I'm always curious as to what happens in cases where people decline fluids, but something then happens during the surgery and the dog needs them?

If a dog required fluids during one of our surgeries, we just do it? If it's an older animal or an animal who we think needs them, we'd discuss it with the owner and there would be an extra cost. But if we were doing routine surgery on an animal and it suddenly required fluids, we'd give them and certainly wouldn't charge the owner for them after.

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I had the option to add the test / fluids when I desex mine.

I didn't do the test but did the fluids for additional $20 or $25 I think it was.

The fluids was for "incase of emergency, there will be supply available" I found that was a bit dodgy.. I mean shouldn't they have them ready incase of emergency anyway?

Even if they don't end up using them, just for the incase of emergency, I paid them anyway.

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Shakti   

This all kind of supports how I was feeling but I hated feeling so worried and guilty when I ;left him there.

He is a 1 year old dog who has seen this vet his entire life/.

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The vets I worked for (a while ago now) offered all of this but it was discussed prior to the day of surgery and the cost wasn't anywhere near that . . . I think they leave it seperate as alot of people cannot afford it and to be honest most dogs don't really need it.

Personally, we run a full blood panel on bitches about 4 mths out from them coming into season if being bred, dogs if at stud also and we run full blood panel on dogs over 8 annually. A dog younger than that comes out of anesthetic quite well - I don't think its necessary for a young, healthy dog (either) but we choose to have the fluids for dogs over 7/8 as it does help with the recovery process - they bounce back and get on with healing quicker.

Anesthetic's in general are better now than they were 10 years ago but I think we all take it for granted a bit - there is still every chance that you can lose your dog/cat/human under anesthetic and that is why you have to sign permission / legally binding documents - the dangers of anesthetic are still listed in that paperwork - if you actually read it. The bloods show if there is any additional risk to be wary of and the fluids help to metabalise drugs used and aid recovery.

I am sure your dog (once he gets over being crabby with you for taking away his bits :laugh: ) will be his normal self in short order.

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Rappie   

The things you've been asked about are valid, but perhaps the way they are presented to you could use some work. If you truly feel uncomfortable about it, I would suggest you contact the clinic and let them know. I'm sure it's not their aim to guilt you into doing anything but there is no way for them to know the effect things like this have on a clinic unless there is feedback. A good clinic should take it on board as a constructive comment. We have several questions on our surgery consent forms now that are a direct result of client comments.

Edit to add:

I've outlined our anaesthesia protocols previously. Everything that is essential or necessary is included either as part of the surgery (such as in desexes) or in the estimate for a particular procedure (such as lump removals or dentals). Everything gets pain relief, almost everything is on fluids. If for some reason and animal was not on fluids and needed them, they'd get them. In risky anaesthesia cases, I also discuss what steps the owner would like us to take in the event of an emergency (DNR, closed CPR, all available measure ie open chest CPR).

I believe that owners must be aware of what is being done to their pet, what treatments options are available and the various ways a particular situation can be approached - this is all informed consent. If option A, B and C are all acceptable, I will offer them all. If they are not, I let owners know that. I am not the one paying for the treatment, but I am the one that acts as the advocate for the animal and their welfare is my main interest. If you're offered a blood test, you don't have to take it, but we do have to tell you it is available, and what impact the results may have.

Edited by Rappie

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I have had exactly this experience and felt a bit ambushed too, but I agreed to the fluids but not the bloods - BUT, the charge for the fluids was more like $20 - $40 (I can't remember the exact amount, it was many years ago). $200 is robbery, unless you just remembered incorrectly.

I think vets should rethink how they advise of costs. When the procedure is booked info should be provided then, and the dog owner should be told to think it over, ask any questions they might have and be advised that a decision is not needed until they drop the dog off. Booking the surgery and then dropping these bombshells on dog owners is not fair. We have a shock, we have not budgeted, often one person drops the dog off so the husband or wife is not there, often we are in a hurry to go to work etc, and the whole thing is unexpected. I don't think its right.

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newfsie   
At least you had the option to refuse. My dog went for a superficial cyst removal under GA. He was allowed to drink water up until I dropped him off, he was home within three hours and allowed to drink then, so why did he get IV fluids (cost of $70)? He was fluid overloaded and didn't go near water until the next day!

There should be a standard charge for anaesthesia without all these optional extras, most owners don't understand whether they are necessary or not and can easily be sucked in.

And bag of 1000ml normal Saline 0.9% (or Hartmanns) costs at the most $5.00-$8.00, IV line about the same. I am sure vets would not pay much more than we do at our Private Radiology Practice.

And all the Aneasthetic drugs are not that expensive either except Ketamine. It is not as if vets have to pay those huge Insurance fees Aneasthetists pay.

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At my vet back in Vic, they would take them in and do them, no do want this and that etc. When I took one to a vet up here to be done there was a whole form asking if I wanted bloods, fluids, extra pain relief plus numerous other things. I said no to all. I dont think it is neccessary, they are just trying to make more money. I did feel bad becasue Im sitting there going no, no, no, no when she is asking each question but Im sure they are going to give him what he needs to get the job done and for him to be comfortable. Bloody annoys me though. I didnt ask for bloods or anything I just wanted a desexing. One other vet I rang about an appointment for the desexing told me, we do a full work up when they come (its a requirement for new dogs), bloods etc. And I was like "no thanks". And went elsewhere. My dogs are healthy I dont need them to tell me that. If I think there is something wrong then I will get it checked out but I am not spending more money than I need to on Dogs that are healthy, just to be told they are fine, I now that. Bloody rip offs. Sorry to OP for taking it a bit off topic.

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Are you sure it was $200 for fluid therapy. :laugh:

$240 just for the pre-anaesthetic profile???

I'm gobsmacked by those prices as well!

A couple of years ago I was asked if I wanted the pre anasethetic profile bloods done, but they were only charging $60!! Just two or so years ago!!!

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I really detest this kind of "do you want fries with that" up-selling on medical stuff. As others have already said, if it is crucial, then it should be included...if it is not included, it isn't crucial in my book. I certainly don't worry about pre-GA bloods for surgery on young healthy dogs. If it was an older dog, or one that has some health problems already, I might consider it (though certainly not at $240! :laugh: ). Ditto the fluids. It's OK for me because I have been around for a while and know my own mind; I am more than happy to say "no". I do worry that newer or less confident owners will be pressured by a kind of emotional blackmail into these overpriced extras that are not necessary.

Edited by New Age Outlaw

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At least you had the option to refuse. My dog went for a superficial cyst removal under GA. He was allowed to drink water up until I dropped him off, he was home within three hours and allowed to drink then, so why did he get IV fluids (cost of $70)? He was fluid overloaded and didn't go near water until the next day!

There should be a standard charge for anaesthesia without all these optional extras, most owners don't understand whether they are necessary or not and can easily be sucked in.

And bag of 1000ml normal Saline 0.9% (or Hartmanns) costs at the most $5.00-$8.00, IV line about the same. I am sure vets would not pay much more than we do at our Private Radiology Practice.

And all the Aneasthetic drugs are not that expensive either except Ketamine. It is not as if vets have to pay those huge Insurance fees Aneasthetists pay.

Propofol and Alfaxan is actually quite pricey. We use opioids with most pre-meds too.

Extension sets are more like 12-15 and a giving set (well the only ones we can use in our IV pumps) are about 35-40 each.

I am not objecting to the options, that's quite alright and they should be offered. I'm just thinking that the prices sound a bit off.

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