I recently had the below Facebook exchange with a potential client, a fellow I know well from the volunteer fire department and from our community. Inasmuch as a veterinarian in private practice is also in business, I felt it appropriate to point out that he wasn’t comparing apples to apples. If low cost is your main priority when it comes to your pet or pets, my practice will not be a good fit. That said, I am always willing to work with people to get the best outcome under whatever financial circumstances exist. Nevertheless, the first question upon meeting us cannot and should not be, “How much for shots?” It really ought to be both “Do you care?” and “Are you competent?” You must decide for yourself what you would ask first when your pets health is at stake……
Sorry about this method of communication, but I couldn’t find an email address for you. I sent your office an email inquiring about the cost of the initial visit for 2 kittens we just got. I’ve got to tell you I was absolutely floored when they replied $314. I can take them to PetCo and get their immunizations for $42 each. Why such a difference in costs? I’d like to bring them to you, but I’m not sure I can afford it.
It was nice to hear from you and congratulations on getting two new kittens. I also appreciate the opportunity to explain the difference between two very distinct forms of animal care, a full service animal hospital and a shot clinic in a pet store.
Canton Animal Hospital does not sell shots. We instead offer “preventive medicine” which is a medical philosophy based on spending the time necessary to educate pet owners on how to avoid foreseeable problems and anticipate events related to inevitable aging, so that problems can be addressed as soon as they occur, rather than after they become severe and recovery is less likely. Immunizations are a part of preventive medicine, but by no means the only or most important part. We do not attempt to compete on price with “low cost” shot clinics. Whether we would be a good fit for you and your family, only you can decide.
We work to develop a long-term client-doctor-patient relationship in which we share an understanding of your preferences for your pet’s care, while also making initial recommendations based on what is medically best for the pet. Always, you retain the right to decide what types of care you may want. We are committed to spend the time with you necessary to understand what care your pets may need and why. Our regular appointments are scheduled for 30 minutes for exactly this reason and we pride ourselves on not being a high volume, low commitment veterinary practice. With this relationship comes an intention to be there for you whenever possible, including out of hours most times, which helps you avoid costly visits to an Emergency Clinic, where they will not know you or your pet.
Additionally, we have on hand the medical, surgical and dental equipment necessary for the wide variety of problems our patients present with. This includes a fully equipped surgical suite, life support and intensive care equipment, cage-side oxygen fluid therapy pumps, cardiac debrillator and the drugs and products necessary to manage virtually any acute or chronic pet health care need. Thus a pet store cannot, and should not, be seen as a substitute for a full service animal hospital.
In a pet store vaccine clinic, you are unlikely to routinely see the same doctor or get the detailed physical examinations we perform at every visit. The veterinary services provided are limited in degree and convenience. You are right to note they are low cost, but with all the compromise that entails.
In conclusion, a relationship with an animal hospital is a partnership in your pet’s health. A veterinarian should fit the value you place on your pet as well as your pocketbook. If we are that practice, I will be pleased to work with you and if not, I hope you will find the right fit in a colleagues’ practice, rather than in a pet store shot clinic. There is so much more to pet care than can be provided in that latter setting.
Hope all is well with you and yours.
(originally posted at PetDocsOnCall.com, September 2010)
Share and Enjoy
Powered by Facebook Comments