Author Topic: Annoying vet experience  (Read 653 times)

Offline Michael C

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Annoying vet experience
« on: November 15, 2017, 09:49:06 PM »
I've got one boy, Samuel Hollingsworth (1 year old), who's been quite aggressive with my two newest boys. After a long, tense intro period on neutral turf, the carrier method seemed to help a lot. Then my oldest rat passed and Samuel Hollingsworth started to act up again, perhaps asserting himself as the dominant rat. He just torments the newbies (one a few months old, the other 1 year). Puffing, sidling, boxing, chasing, cornering, pinning, aggressive wrestling, nipping, but fortunately no injuries so far. I decided to look into neutering as an option. I know 1 year is a little old for hormonal aggression but he was always the lowest man on the totem pole until the new guys arrived. It got to the point that I just didn't want to house him with the new guys anymore. They were living in fear as Samuel Hollingsworth was basically hunting them all of the time.

I called my regular vet to ask them for a neutering quote and was told that the procedure would cost $180 after an exam ($75). $255 seemed a little on the high end but not entirely unreasonable, plus I felt it was better than making Samuel Hollingsworth spend the rest of his life living alone. I scheduled the exam and the earliest they could get him in for surgery was a month later so I scheduled that, too.

During the exam, the vet started talking about scheduling another appointment to draw blood to send to the lab for blood-work prior to the surgery. She explained the process and informed me that this would cost an additional $200-240. I told her that I was quoted $180 + the exam over the phone and asked why the charges were now creeping up toward $500. She let me know that, while she'd be very uncomfortable allowing the surgery to take place without having the blood-work done, the additional screening was optional. I thanked her and declined the $200-250 blood-work, accepting the risks.

A month later (just a couple days ago), I woke up early and packed Samuel Hollingsworth into the car to bring him in to get his balls snipped off. The same vet gives him a quick once over with the stethoscope and what-not and then brings out the laptop to get me to sign off on the procedure. On the screen is an itemized list of charges totally $500-600. The neuter itself is now $295 with additional charges for anesthesia, pain meds, and whatever else (I stopped reading). I put Samuel Hollingsworth back in his carrier and we left.

I'm not upset by what they choose to charge. For all I know, it's a fair and reasonable reflection of their costs and expertise. All I know is that there's no way I'm going to pay upwards of their recommended $700-900 (including blood-work) to neuter my rat. Even with refusing the blood-work, the total was within the $575-675 range! If this was the quote they had given me over the phone initially, I would never have wasted a month and $75 on an exam in the first place. Now I'm in a position of distrusting them entirely even though I've been happy with their services up until this point.

The owner of the clinic is currently out of town so I think I'll give them a little time to reach out to me to attempt to rectify the situation but I'm feeling like they owe me a free exam if they'd like to continue working with me. Is this unreasonable? Do I just walk away from them completely? Shrug the whole thing off and continue using them for basic stuff?

Offline MinervaThonosi

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Re: Annoying vet experience
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2017, 10:39:22 PM »
Just last month I had my two boys neutered. Not including the pre-neuter appointment, it cost me $300 total. My vet didnít suggest any blood work. He just suggested having the boys x-rayed while they were under so he could see if they had any traces of mycoplasmosis. He says dumbos seem to get it more often and both of my boys are dumbos. I declined as it was an extra $199 per rat. I trust my vet. He specializes in exotic pets.

As a vet tech student, I appalled that they didnít give you a quote for everything. Thatís unacceptable. Last term I took office management and we were told itís best to give a quote for everything. That way the client doesnít get upset by the sudden jump in price.

I also think thatís way too much for a rat neuter. That price sounds more like a dog spay. At school we do spays and neuters on cats and dogs for the local aspca. In return, we get to practice the skills we will need in  practice. We do do blood work on them before sugery, to make sure theyíre healthy enough to go under anesthesia.

I would have had the same reaction as you. When given the price of the neuter it should have covered everything.

Offline BigBen

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Re: Annoying vet experience
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2017, 10:58:38 AM »
Michael, that price seems excessive, and they should certainly stick with the original quoted price.  I had a similar experience with price creep at my new vet's and will have to speak to them about it.  My vet in the Hudson Valley charged about $250-300 total for tumor removal, including anesthesia and all medications.  By the time I got done paying for Louise's tumor removal a couple of months ago, the price was over $500.  I certainly can't afford that on a regular basis!

But the point is that this veterinary hospital is known for their high prices.  Unfortunately, they are the only practice in the area that I have been able to find that takes rats.  But now that you mention your experience, and in light of Minerva's comment, I think I need to speak to them about their pricing.
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Offline purple rat

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Re: Annoying vet experience
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2017, 07:27:11 PM »
Michael: I think it's a good idea to let the owner know what happened and it's reasonable to ask for a free exam. Hopefully the owner will be cooperative.  The last tumor removal one of my boys had was about a year ago and it cost about $370 -- that included anesthesia, meds to take home, and the follow up exam.  The office always provides an itemized estimate in writing before booking the surgery and reviews the estimate with me again on the day of the surgery.

Big Ben: It's so cool that you have a rat with my name  -- give Louise some scritches from me :wave2:
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Offline RooRat

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Re: Annoying vet experience
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2017, 01:38:44 PM »
Sheesh. That's ridiculous! While, yes, surgery isn't cheap, that's way more than any rat neuter price I've ever seen. I had two of my boys done for $90 a piece - including the pre-snip exams! When my terrier had her mass removal, I was quoted $300 and it ended up costing $150. It seems like good practice for vets (and, heck, even doctors) to aim high in their estimates. It seems like bad practice for vets to quote one price then tack on an extra few hundred dollars when it comes time for surgery :shocked2:

If I was in your shoes, and if I had access to another vet who knows rats, I'd leave this practice in favor of the other one. If they're hiking the prices up like this, I'd have to wonder what other services they're charging more for than they ought to.
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