Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Beating the High Cost of Vet Care

Molly, my cat, recently was attacked by Huey, one of my dogs. I had gone to Value Vet to try to save on the high cost of veterinary care at the local vet, which charges $80 just to walk in the door. Value Vet charged $29. Then a friend in Lafayette, Tennessee, told me about her vet, who only charges $24 to walk in the door, and he doesn’t even charge for an office visit if you get shots for your pet.

After spending $250-plus at Value Vet, I was told Molly had a broken rib and diaphragmatic hernia and that it would cost anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 for the risky surgery. So I sought a second opinion from Dr. Geoff Evetts in Lafayette, whose fee for the same surgery is between $500 and $700.

Dr. Evetts looked at the Value Vet films and said he thought Molly had neither a broken rib nor a diaphragmatic hernia. He prescribed a two-week course of Clavamox (only $19 as opposed to $28 at Value Vet) and told me to bring her back in two weeks so he could take new X-rays under sedation, which Value Vet did not do.

The new films showed that Molly was perfectly normal inside. I asked about a lump on her back, so Dr. Evetts inserted a hypodermic needle and drew out some pus. He said he wanted to keep her overnight and go in to see what was causing the abscess. As it happened, Molly had suffered a puncture wound inside, but not on the outside. He said that was fairly common because a cat’s skin is pliable. Dr. Evetts kept her overnight and performed the surgery. Here’s Molly going home after her surgery:

I also took both Delaney and Sally in for a full panel of shots and a six-month supply each for Interceptor. Here's Delaney getting his blood drawn for his heart-worm test:

All told, total cost for three animals, a surgery, two rounds of shots (including heart-worm tests) for two dogs, two six-months supply of Interceptor, one three-month supply for Frontline Plus for the cat, a set of X-rays, overnight boarding was roughly $420. Huey still needs to go in for his round of shots and a six-month supply of Interceptor, so add on $108 and there is a grand total of $528. Not bad for preventive maintenance of four animals, I’d say.

I plan to ask Value Vet for a refund based on its misdiagnosis of Molly’s injuries and from now on, it is worth it to me to make the four-hour round-trip drive for peace of mind where my fur family is concerned.

Anyone interested in saving big bucks on pet care, can contact Evetts Animal Clinic at 615-666-7350 (don’t let the phone prefix scare you). The clinic is at 730 Highway 52 Bypass West, Lafayette, TN 37083.

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