Good question. While I am not a vet, I don’t think it is for the simple reason that before your pet undergoes a surgical procedure, the vet makes you sign a waiver of liability so in the off-chance that your pet does die on the operating table, they are held harmless, even if a pre-surgery blood panel was done.
My family has had a few pets. Over the past 40 years We/I have had 2 dogs spayed, 5 cats spayed, 1 dog neutered and 3 cats neutered. Aside from 3 animals, the other pets were treated at the same clinic with the same vets. The pre-surgery blood panel option never came up until I brought Jersey in for her spay three years ago. The last time I had a dog in for surgery was 9 years ago, so what changed? The management changed. My family and I have been clients at our vet clinic for over 30 years and as soon as the founding vets sold the clinic, all the fancy new procedures and options started appearing. They are still cheaper than the “city” vets and I really do like all the staff and the service they provide (the old guard are still there, just not as often), but there are just some things that just set my teeth on edge. The last thing that pissed me off was when one of the vets recommended trying out some bullshit homeopathic style “woo” on Jersey. I flat out refused because it was a course of action that I knew wouldn’t work. But hey, I would have spent $50 on a useless product and been back for another exam fee to buy the pharmaceutical drugs that eventually did work.
Here are some highlights from an actual presentation at the 2007 Pacific Vet Conference titled “Secrets of High Performing Vet Practices” The little things that made me smile;
- Look back at your records and try to boost income during the slow months. Why do you think that pet dental health day is in February?
- Charge more for the services rendered. A plumber or electrician charge 2 times what a vet charges for a physical exam just to show up at your door. Neither of them have 8 years of college to back them. People are more attached to their dog then their pipes in their home.
- Reciprocation (give candy to kids and the mom will pay for that blood test)
- Authority – Use the weight of your knowledge. Don’t let the client make choices about animal health.
- People associate high prices with quality.
- Check and see how much VPI (pet insurance) is willing to pay for certain procedures. Many don’t charge as much as an insurance is willing to pay them!
- Peter Drucker said 25% of clients should be complaining about your prices.
- Clients have no idea how much medicine should cost, so a fee increase will almost never be noticed.
- If a client says you are expensive then tell them that quality medicine is expensive.
- Lab work is not more than 10% of gross income. It should be more than 30%.
- You should require all pets to have a pre-anesthetic exams.
While we’re on the topic of bill padding at the vets, I was inspired to write this article by a “sponsored post” that came up in my Facebook feed. The post was sponsored by an emergency vet clinic that, not surprisingly, received mediocre to poor ratings on the website Vet Ratingz. I do not know a single person, myself included, that has had a positive experience with an emergency clinic, so choose your clinic very carefully. Do some preemptive research so you immediately know where you want to go if an emergency does arise and try to use your regular vet if possible.
In 2007 took Jersey into an emergency clinic on a long weekend because I feared that she had bloat. $800 (All lab diagnostic work, by the way) later I was told that my dog *might* have had heat stroke and the vet had the audacity to tell me that Jersey was probably pre-diabetic. Well, it’s been almost 6 years later and still no diabeetus. I guess he attended that conference.