View Full Version : Rip off vets

14th Apr 2004, 10:57
There's been an on-going story in some newspapers over the past couple of weeks, ref the cost of vetinary treatment.

Yesterday, I had to take my cat in for a "consultation"
The Total bill was £36.50, of which £24 was for the consultation, (10 minutes) and £12.50 for 30 tablets. (41p each)

I've just had a look on an animal pharmacutical web site, and provided I could get my vet to sign a prescription, I could get a bottle of 500 tablets for £10.40. (2p per tablet)

I know vets have to make a living, but the consultation fee gives an approx hourly income of £144, and the pills have a mark up of 2000%. Is it any wonder elderly and unemployed people can no longer afford to get pets treated.


Shaggy Sheep Driver
14th Apr 2004, 11:09
It's like the old tale of the business that is held up by an IT problem, losing many thousands of pounds per hour. Eventually, after the in-house guys have sweated for a few hour to no avail, the expert is called in. He looks at the problem, checks a few lines of code, and changes one. The system then runs perfectly and business re-commences. Then he presents a bill for £6,000.

"What", says the MD. "You've only been here 20 minutes. Can you please justify that bill by itemising it".

The guru obliges:

To re-writing a line of code: 50p.
To knowing which line needed changing and to what: £5,999.50


14th Apr 2004, 11:22
My local car dealer charges £85 an hour for work done by semi skilled mechanics.
My plumber (2 years part time college course) charges £50 call out then £50 an hour, if you can ever get him.
Sparky wanted £400 for a days work (including parts that I could get for £75)
And a ten minute consultation with a private doctor will see you the wrong side of £100

A vet spends 5 years at university running up huge debts thanks to the crazy british education system, needs at least a year if not 2 post grad working before most practice owners will let them do anything complicated by themselves. They must do at least 5 days continuing professional development every year (thats extra training, every year) most do more.
They are avaliable 24 hours a day 7 days a week. If your animal is hurt they WILL see you, try getting a plumber on christmas day or midnight new years eve.
They are private medicine for animals.
If you could get your doctor to sign a prescription you could get you human meds over the internet cheaper than going to a pharmacy. But then you would not get the benifit of the pharmacists several years of training to back up the doctor.
Vets provide that under one roof. Drugs have short shelf lives so there is an amount of wastage. Thus the price will be higher than getting them from a warehouse outside New York.
Practice facilites are very expensive, Most vets have at least an x-ray machine and blood test equipment. Many have ultra sound , some endoscopy, all to the same standard as your local NHS hospital. Add on the cost of kennels, professional fees that make the CAA look charitable,insurance,staff,taxes etc etc I think £36 is good value for the service you have recieved.

The Nr Fairy
14th Apr 2004, 11:26
I know what you mean - read this tale of woe:

A woman brought a very limp duck into a veterinary surgery. As she lay her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird's chest. After a moment or two, the vet shook his head sadly and said, "I'm so sorry, Cuddles has passed away."

The distressed owner wailed, "Are you sure?"
"Yes, I am sure. The duck is dead", he replied. "How can you be so sure", she protested. "I mean, you haven't done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something."

The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room, and returned a few moments later with a black Labrador Retriever. As the duck's owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the duck from top to bottom. He then looked at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head. The vet patted the dog and took it out, and returned a few moments later with a beautiful cat. The cat jumped up on the table and also sniffed delicately at the bird. The cat sat back on its haunches, shook its head, meowed softly and strolled out of the room.

The vet looked at the woman and said, "I'm sorry, but as I said, this is most definitely, 100% certifiably, a dead duck."

Then the vet turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and
produced a bill which he handed to the woman. The duck's owner, still in shock, took the bill. "£150!" she cried, "£150 just to tell me my duck is dead?!!"

The vet shrugged. "I'm sorry. If you'd taken my word for it, the bill
would have been £20, but what with the Lab Report and the Cat Scan" .....

Mike Southern
14th Apr 2004, 13:12

must agree heartily - having forked out £158 to have my 6yo daughters rabbit mended two weeks ago!!! (you can get a new rabbit for £25!!).

I know Vets are skilled people and so on, and my daughter was v grateful to have the lad back home again, but I can't help thinking there should have been some warning about the fees.

P.S. Loved the joke about the cat scan and lab report!! will definitely try to remember that one.

14th Apr 2004, 13:40
Used to amaze me at how much a consultation would cost when we had our rabbit. Half the time they wouldn't be able to diagnose anything because rabbit research is not as high as for cats and dogs yet they still charged an arm and a leg for the brief time in there. One of my regrets that his last minutes on this planet was spent in a money grabbing vets clinic. Nearly decided to save cash and whack him myself. :mad:


Aileron Roll
14th Apr 2004, 13:55
You think getting your cat repaired is expensive, try going to the dentist........ a damn fortune even if they only stick that pointy hook thing into a couple of teeth to ensure at least some pain for your money !

.... and we know why all Doctors wear those white masks ?

so if they mess up the operation you won't know which one it was !

14th Apr 2004, 14:13
Nearly decided to save cash and whack him myself.

So why didn't you. Ah yes that would be because it would be cruel , unless you have the correct expensive to buy requiring approval to keep drug and the years of training required to administer it without either causing your pet unbelivable pain or killing yourself by mistake.

Mike Southern Why didn't you ask before hand how much it would be? Then you could have said " darling daughter, fluffy can get better for £158 or for less than a third of that this nice vet will kill fluffy (in a humane way) and we can pop down the pet shop on the way home and get a new fluffy, call him fluffy 2" Its your pet , you have the choice.

14th Apr 2004, 14:24
That is incredibly expensive! :ooh: I took my dog Leo to the vet a week ago, and the fee (shot included) was 25 Euro.
Now there's something terribly wrong in the figures you are quoting. What could the explanation be? Cheaper cost of living? Different taxes on vet earnings??? :confused:

14th Apr 2004, 14:36
They are private medicine for animals.

Indeed. If you had to pay the true cost of your own medical care, i.e. without the NHS or medical insurance, I suspect that you would find the cost is comparable. I was shocked when I got the invoice for a simple blood count at a private hospital. About 5 seconds work for a nurse to stick a needle in my arm (I could do that myself!) and about 5 minutes work in the lab (I could get one of my mates to do that for me!) Bill was about £40.

Have you considered medical insurance for your pets? I think my parents use Pet Plan (http://www.petplan.co.uk/) for their dog. Comes in handy for those pet disasters, especially when moggie is knocking on a bit...

14th Apr 2004, 14:43
I was thinking 'brick-over-head' type actions Daysleeper, not expensive requiring drugs. ;)


14th Apr 2004, 14:50
on Down by Law (http://www.pprune.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=36), that is a MUST see, there's an exhilarating scene where Benigni mimicks his mother "whacking" rabbits...

14th Apr 2004, 14:54
I've got pet insurance, but like most policies, the first £30 from each claim isn't covered.

Flyblue, The cost at my local vets is £35 for a booster jab for a cat.

The stories in the papers started over the cost of annual vacinations for animals. A lot of vets are now saying that they are a total waste of money, and may even be causing harm to your pets.
Human vacinations don't require yearly boosters, We get typhoid (5 years) Tetnus (10 years) , MMR (life) So why should pets jabs only be one year, but if you want to put tiddles in a cattery or kennel, you have no choice.


Big Tudor
14th Apr 2004, 15:15

There is research going on to determine whether yearly boosters are actually necessary for animals. A lot of vets seems to think they aren't.
As for pet insurance, it's great until yer fluffy wotsit gets past 10 years old. Uninsurable (almost) then.

14th Apr 2004, 16:27
Hmmmmmmm, some interesting views on this thread.

I have insurance for my gorgeous pussycat, it costs £6 a month for a 3yr old Maine Coon.
I can't remember the excess for medical care, but it's not much.

These costs include all sorts of things, such as his medical treatment, should he need it, advertising costs if he goes walkabout and boarding fees in a cattery if I am hospitalised.

Worth every penny of this frugal amount.

He is part of my family and gives so much pleasure that I wouldn't quibble about any amount of money I would need to pay to ensure that he stays healthy and has a quality of life.

Love, The5th

Who loves her cat and everyone else's cat. :) .......and is more than a bit keen on her cat's Veterinary Surgeon ;)

14th Apr 2004, 16:33
A FEW vets say the vacinations may not be required, just the same as a FEW doctors say MMR may be dangerous. You have to look at the evidence for yourself and make a decision. At present the vaccines are only approved for one year. Unless they can be proven to work for longer your kennels will not risk your dogs life or anyone elses and neither should a responsible vet. You can take that up with drug companies and the goverment approval process.

As an aside IMHO a number of the dozen or so vets who wrote to the press about vaccines are homeopathic practicioners and as such they are interested in moveing people from vaccines to homeopathic treatments for which there is dubious scientific proof and thus have a financial motivation. Hardly the most impartial of opinions.

Big Tudor If you get pet insurance before your animal is around 8 years old then normally it can continue beyond this age. It is the same with humans. the older you get the harder/more expensive it is to insure yourself. In human dog equivelents an 8 year old dog is around 60. I challenge you to find an insurer for your 80 year old granpa.:hmm:

14th Apr 2004, 17:15
We have two horses and last year we had to have treatment that cost a total of £3800.00. Fortunately we have them both insured and have no complaints about the premiums. People should consider extraneous costs before buying animals. Unless you are prepared to pay at least an insurance premium you shouldn't bother getting the animal in the first place.

Paul Wilson
14th Apr 2004, 17:51
Re the vaccinations, heard a very good interview with someone from the Royal College of Vetinary Surgeons or whatever they call themselves. The deal is that the vaccines were NEVER tested to see if they lasted longer than a year, in order to do the testing they would need to get a load of cats and dogs, then vaccinate them, then the problem comes, you've now got to keep them for 10 years and repeatedly expose them to the infections, to see if they catch them.

Animal rights people won't stand for that - so millions of pets having potentially unneccesary vaccinations. Luckily my cat is done by a friendly vet nurse for nothing

Rich Lee
14th Apr 2004, 18:01
Isn't Presidential Candidate Kerry a Vet? What does he have to say about all of this?

17th Apr 2004, 12:50
He says it is all George Bush's fault.

17th Apr 2004, 13:51
This happened to a buddy of mine yesterday. This is true! He has a cat, a very old cat. He had two cats but recently had to take moggy #1 to the vet for embarkation on that final journey to feline Valhalla. So he is now very protective of moggy #2. Yesterday, moggy #2 was not doing too good, so he phones the vet. The vet listens and surmises etc etc, anyway he receives the instruction "give the cat an enema and then bring it in":uhoh: How the **** does one give a clawed animal a fecking enema without protecting oneself, for example by wearing chain mail?

The good sport that he is, he tries valiently to complete his mission. The cat is screaming, his hands ripped to shreds and the enema nozzle has yet to see the inside of the moggy.

After two hours of scrimmaging with the moggy he admits defeat. He whisks the cat over to the vet - the cat, as well as being ill, is now a quivering pile of jello/jelly. The vet gives my buddy a rather dirty look and says "Leave the cat here, we'll do the enema". He then beat a hasty retreat.:ok:


PS: the cat is still at the vet.:E

17th Apr 2004, 15:08
After moving house, Gilbert and Sullivan, my pedigree alley cats, had to have a check-up at the new vetís insistence before booster jabs would be administered. At 7 years old, Sullivan was fine, but 14-year-old Gilbert had a range of ominous problems including a heart murmur. Said vet printed me out an estimate for £360 for carrying out an accurate diagnosis Ė treatment extra. I declined, pointing out that the elderly Gilbert would have to take his chances just like his elderly owner, who must rely on providence and the creaking NHS. Two years on, Gilbert and me are still chasing things and catching them even though our breathing is somewhat laboured.

17th Apr 2004, 22:41
I had to have my beautiful Siamese cat put down on Friday (too late to operate and too much pain). My children and I were heartbroken and sobbing. As I was carrying her poor little body out of the vets he says "I will send you the bill when you are feeling better." As my daughter said, great bedside manner he has!

17th Apr 2004, 23:11
Ozzy2, any word about the vet? Is he still at the vet's?

18th Apr 2004, 02:24
The vet is fine. The cat is still not home yet. I will find out more on Tuesday. My buddy is a mess of worry about the poor moggy.


18th Apr 2004, 06:38
Consider how difficult it is to get into vet school, how much time a vet has to spend in training and cost of setting up/ buying into a practice, about the same as a lawyer, yeah? Then compare the cost.
Personally I prefer vets.
And I think often the trouble is that some owners wait far too long before getting their animals looked at professionally, and where the problem could have been diagnosed and solved easily and realtivley cheaply in the early stages the vet 's job is made a lot harder when presented with an end stage illness with complications cos the owner didn't get Tiddles to the surgery sooner.

henry crun
18th Apr 2004, 09:46
It is obvious from the posts on this thread that there are rip off vets around but I can tell a different story.

It was on a weekend the condition of my lovely Burmese suddenly deteriorated I had no choice but to ring the on call vet and make that final appointment.

The following Monday, still upset, I called at the clinic to settle to account and the nurse after calling the details up on her computer, leaned across the counter and gave me a hug saying "there is no charge for that Mr Crun".

18th Apr 2004, 12:27

I am so sorry to hear about your cat. I went through the same thing early last year when my beloved moggie became ill during the night.
I saw the on-call vet, I hadn't seen before and she was lovely, I was crying and she had tears in her eyes as I cuddled him for the last time.
She dealt with me and the situation with empathy.
She refused any money at the time and I received a bill for the euthanasia a month later.


I hope all is well with your friend's cat, it's a long time for the cat to be in there for investigations/treatment.

Regarding the rip off factor, my cat developed a thyroid problem in his later years and needed blood tests.
I wasn't charged as the practice had a machine on trial from a manufacturer. It wasn't costing them anything, so it didn't cost me! :ok:

Fletchers Left Boot
18th Apr 2004, 19:53

Were the "rip-off" vets concerned, big "chain" practices?

We switched to a small family practice (2 brothers) in Wimborne some years ago and not only was the standard of care and attention a lot better, but the prices a lot lower too.

The other practice was one of these large chain practices with nice spanking new premises. One of our pets had a long running problem and we never saw the same vet twice with her. By the time the problem was properly diagnosed (should have been a simple matter) it was too late and we lost her. They also mis-diagnosed a problem with one of our dogs and that was the last straw.



Charlie Foxtrot India
19th Apr 2004, 05:29
When my Jess was dying rapidly and horribly from the effects of a poison bait the vet met me after hours at the surgery, but we couldn't save her. The only thing that they sent afterwards was a big bunch of flowers and a nice card, not a bill. The vet also came to my house at no charge to check Jess's orphaned three week old puppies were OK. And they kindly kept Jess' remains in their freezer until the crematorium people could get there. :(
Eleven years on, I will only ever take Jess's descendants to that particular vet. So it was a good long term investment for them!

So they're not all bad. You just gotta find a good one and stick with them.

And if anyone thinks a vet's job is easy, try replacing a prolapsed uterus in a cow.:uhoh:

19th Apr 2004, 07:23
Errr, if I may hijack the thread a bit, who knows the Vet James Herriot fine books?


19th Apr 2004, 11:15

Moi - I read all of them way way back as a teenager and loved them. Still have them somewhere on a shelf! I have memories of laughing 'til I cried at some of the antics....:rolleyes:

The TV series dranatisation that came out of the books was a fantastic series. not just fro the fun + games but as a n insight into Yorskshire life in the 30's (some say it hasn't changed a bit either ;) )