Veterinary care doesn't have to break...

Veterinary care doesn't have to break your bank account

There are 63 comments on the TwinCities.com story from Apr 22, 2008, titled Veterinary care doesn't have to break your bank account. In it, TwinCities.com reports that:

These reader questions were answered by experts attending the recent American Animal Hospital Association yearly conference at the Tampa Convention Center.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at TwinCities.com.

First Prev
of 4
Next Last
Julie

Saint Paul, MN

#1 Apr 23, 2008
"Pet insurance is also a good idea, though you must pay a monthly premium."

I would have to disagree with this. I had pet insurance. You pay in a premium every month (if you have multiple pets this is expensive). You take your dog to the vet thinking you're covered and you have to pay the bill. You submit a claim to the insurance company and one of three things will happen:

1. They pay a small portion of your bill. This is what they consider to be a fair payment for the treatment your pet received (even if every vet in your area charges what you paid).

2. They deny your claim because it isn't "covered". They have a list of things they will cover.

3. They tell you your pet's problem is pre-existing and you must show proof that it isn't by getting copies of all you pet's records as well as a letter from your vet. If your dog had a toe injury before you had insurance and then had a growth on the toe, I guarantee you they would consider it a pre-existing condition.

Insurance is a rip-off. Start an emergency fund for your pets. The money is always there and if you don't need it, it's still yours.
Learn to ask questions

Chesterfield, MO

#2 Apr 23, 2008
Our dogs have had several odd growths over the years. We're always concerned that it could be something malignant and get these things checked out with an aspirate. We've had to get one or two of them removed, at a price of around $500 each. But the others are just "lumpy fat accumulations," according to our vet. Sure, it may be a little expensive, but it's still cheaper than the children and our dogs are just as important as our kids.
JP - St Paul

West Hartford, CT

#3 Apr 23, 2008
Several years ago, there was an organization in Wisconsin whose mission was to assist low income families with vet bills. I don't recall the name or if they still exist.
Carlos

United States

#4 Apr 24, 2008
Oh yes it does! I have spent thousands out of pocket already on my 7-year old cat!! And I have a very low income. Ouch! Help!! I hope my cat doesn't get sick again because I dont have pet insurance. Where is a low-cost vet clinic??? Vets should have a sliding-fee scale for us low-income pet owners.
John

United States

#5 Apr 25, 2008
I have another idea that will hold down the cost of vet care! Have the costs for all vet procedures made public, preferably on one website, so pet owners can comparison shop! Why should vet care be any different?? In the meantime, how does one find a "low-cost" vet clinic???
Buddy

Onamia, MN

#6 Apr 25, 2008
One of my cats bit into a power cord. She lived, but wound up with a $350 bill for 2 visits (her eyes were spinning around in her head and not getting better as the days went on), x-rays and blood work to make sure there wasn't any organ damage from the shock, IV hydration and another $50 for meds. With the insurance plan I looked at a few years ago, that amount wouldn't have met the deductible.

Those insurance plans are pretty much only good for life threatening illnesses that they won't survive anyway even with treatment. I stick extra paper change in a jar now and spray all the cords with bitter apple spray and keep my fingers crossed.
Buddy

Onamia, MN

#7 Apr 25, 2008
John wrote:
In the meantime, how does one find a "low-cost" vet clinic???
All you can do if you know what's wrong or have gotten a diagnosis is call around. Don't bother calling the U of M Veterinary School. While a person can get their dental work done for about half price at their dental school, treatment there is double. They did tell me that vet rates are usually lower the further out of the metro area you get. Out of any large city for that matter. I haven't checked that out myself...yet, but it would be worth a few calls to find out.
Shebas Mom

Saint Paul, MN

#8 Apr 25, 2008
I have a diabetic Belgian Malinois. In addition to all the numerous expenses associated with his diabetes, I spent $3,000 on cataract surgery for him. I'm not complaining about the money I spend on my dog, but it makes it difficult for me to feel sorry for the money other people spend on their pets given all the ongoing expenses of treating diabetes. People think nothing of spending big money on vehicles or other toys, but they often times are annoyed by the money they spend on veterinary care. It's all a matter of where your priorities lie.
Ann

Shakopee, MN

#9 Apr 25, 2008
Our dog needed some tooth extractions a few years ago. It would have come to over $400 through our metro area vet. My sister referred us to a vet clinic in Centuria, WI, which did it for under $300. One thing I hadn't thought of was having to drive that hour+ for the followup visits too, but it did save us a lot of money.
Buddy

Onamia, MN

#10 Apr 25, 2008
Ann wrote:
Our dog needed some tooth extractions a few years ago. It would have come to over $400 through our metro area vet. My sister referred us to a vet clinic in Centuria, WI, which did it for under $300. One thing I hadn't thought of was having to drive that hour+ for the followup visits too, but it did save us a lot of money.
That confirms what the U of M told me.
Senior

Minneapolis, MN

#11 Apr 25, 2008
Carlos wrote:
Oh yes it does! I have spent thousands out of pocket already on my 7-year old cat!! And I have a very low income. Ouch! Help!! I hope my cat doesn't get sick again because I dont have pet insurance. Where is a low-cost vet clinic??? Vets should have a sliding-fee scale for us low-income pet owners.
Maybe think about not having a pet if you can't afford one?
JPJ

Saint Paul, MN

#12 Apr 25, 2008
[QUOTE who="Sure, it may be a little expensive, but it's still cheaper than the children and our dogs are just as important as our kids.[/QUOTE]

I love my dogs too, but they are NOT, nor will they EVER be, as important as my children. I feel sorry for your children.
Buddy

Onamia, MN

#13 Apr 25, 2008
Senior wrote:
<quoted text>
Maybe think about not having a pet if you can't afford one?
That's helpful.
KYI

Minneapolis, MN

#14 Apr 25, 2008
As a veterinarian myself, I hate to tell you this, but veterinarians don't make much. Starting out of school (which is just as long as medical school), you're lucky if you get 40 to 50K a year for grueling hours of work and clients who seem to think that their care should be close to free, because obviously vets love animals, and it's their responsibility to care for them. That hummer comment was funny, because I don't know any vets who can afford that on their salary--maybe that one married well? Veterinarians would not be able to afford to treat any animals if they gave away their services to everyone who asks, and then no one would get any care. And it is true, the further away from the metro, the cheaper the rates, but also the fewer safety protocols are employed (such as pre-anesthetic blood work, gas anesthesia, etc.) We do try to help people when we can, but it's frustrating to hear a client complain about our prices when they're driving a convertible, carrying designer purses, etc. Oh, and since most vets carry debts of 100 to 200,000 dollars, most of their pay is eaten up there. People just assume that we must be making hordes of money because we're veterinary doctors. Do some research. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Buddy

Onamia, MN

#15 Apr 25, 2008
KYI wrote:
As a veterinarian myself, I hate to tell you this, but veterinarians don't make much.
Do you think $800 for a colonoscopy on a cat is reasonable? BTW, that amount only for the colonoscopy, nothing else.

“standing on my lil soap box”

Since: Mar 07

United States

#16 Apr 25, 2008
People go into business to make a living.

If the vet is driving a hummer it is because that is what he choose to buy with his income. Also, the vet needs to go to school for a number of years to earn his DMV certificate-that is a feat within itself. I have several pets and pay the vets bills when given to me-I understand to have a pet, I may incure these bills.

Kudos to my vet!!!
Only What You Can Afford

United States

#17 Apr 25, 2008
Carlos wrote:
Oh yes it does! I have spent thousands out of pocket already on my 7-year old cat!! And I have a very low income. Ouch! Help!! I hope my cat doesn't get sick again because I dont have pet insurance. Where is a low-cost vet clinic??? Vets should have a sliding-fee scale for us low-income pet owners.
While I feel for your plight, the concept of a sliding scale is just silly. If you can't comfortably afford a pet, you should not have one. Its is really amazing you thing that others should pay more for vet care so you can have a cat.
Our solution is to have a credit card that we do not use - its set aside for the day we know will some day come when one of our pets will have a large vet bill.
Karen

Calgary, Canada

#18 Apr 25, 2008
Wow some really interesting comments. Keep em rolling!
I have over 6yrs experience working as a veterinary receptionist. All too often, pet owners were faced with the difficult decision of not being able to afford vet care. It was really heartbreaking and definitely the worst part of my job. Because of this, I have always been a huge advocate of pet insurance.
I am now territory partners with a company called Trupanion. We have been operating in Canada as Vetinsurance for over 8yrs and have recently launched into the United States. We offer $20 000 worth of coverage over a pet's lifetime for any unexpected veterinary bills (yes, including congenital and hereditary disorders). We cover 90% of a claim for accidents and illneses (not routine wellness care). There aren't any limits placed per year or per incident, it's like having an open chequebook for $20 000. We don't change your coverage or increase your rates based on your pet aging or as you make claims. We've made a choice to only offer our policy to pet parents with puppies and kittens between the ages of eight weeks to one year. This way, risks are shared equally and fairly across all our pet parents, which translates to better coverage— more paid claims—than nearly any other pet insurance company. We are committed to being in the business of paying claims, not denying them.
I truly understand the frustration that some pet owners have with pet insurance companies, we are striving to change that.
www.trupanion.com
Buddy

Onamia, MN

#20 Apr 25, 2008
Karen wrote:
I truly understand the frustration that some pet owners have with pet insurance companies, we are striving to change that.
www.trupanion.com
Prepare to get even more frustrated if you click on that link.

If your pet under 8 months or over 1 year old, no insurance for you.

Use the Get A Quote function. Again, no insurance for you. Not available in this area.

Let's say you can get their insurance. They don't pay for exam fees, the first $25 Daily Hospital Boarding Fees (they tout no deductibles, this is a deductible, they just don't call it that).

And then theres the famous (or infamous) no pre-existing illness clause. The way they word it "Problems that you or your veterinarians were aware of prior to this policy taking effect", is no different than any other companies plan. How do you prove that you, the owner was unaware there was something wrong prior to getting the policy. Pre-existing or not, you're in for a fight getting it paid.

Most if us don't have to worry about it anyway as our pets are more than a year old.

Since: Apr 08

Twin Cities

#21 Apr 25, 2008
Our vet claims almost a 50% walk off rate. She explained that in an emergency, a person will authorize charges that they may not be able to afford (every vet will have their staff work up an estimate while they triage the pet in crisis with the most minimal and least expensive option available until authorized to do more intensive care). In the face of watching a beloved pet die some people will do just about anything. Once the crisis is over, the owners get shell-shocked at the bill and once their pet is back home there is little incentive to pay the bill.

Imagine trying to keep a business afloat that way.

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker
First Prev
of 4
Next Last

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

Minneapolis Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
Dems Radicalized National Felons League 1 hr cowboy chris 2
News Judge rejects couple's argument for refusing ga... 2 hr Wondering 227
I'm Black Look How Cool I Am 10 hr Space ace 9
Why Are Black Players Taking A Knee 11 hr Hillary Blames ot... 10
Anthony Weiner sobs as judge issues sentence 12 hr Hillary Blames ot... 8
My Heroes LeBron James and Stephen Curry 13 hr Cat Fan 3
Trump vs The NFL 19 hr Davycrockett 16

Minneapolis Jobs

More from around the web

Personal Finance

Minneapolis Mortgages