Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Because they're worth it

I've had a lot of animals over the years, large and small, and my experience here in New Mexico 
is that the large animal vet bills (horses, donkeys, pigs) are always less than what I expect 
and the small animal vet bills (dogs and cats) are always more. Since most of you overestimated 
the amount of Hank's vet bill in last week's contest, I thought it might be interesting 
to look at a breakdown of the charges so we could all compare and commiserate. 
Also, the procedures appear more or less in the order they occurred, so if you ever
have a snakebit horse that presents with colic symptoms two days post-bite,
this might give you a general idea of what to expect.


Nothing on there seems exorbitant to me, especially when I consider the things
I wasn't charged for, like all the phone calls with the vet in the days between the snakebite
and Hank's hospitalization and the hours that the vets and techs spent at Hank's side,
willing him to eat and drink. Viewed in that light, I'd say I got a bargain.

I really don't understand veterinary economics, nor why small animal vets here
charge more than large animal vets. I don't think the small animal vets are charging too much; 
it's more like the large animal vets aren't charging enough.
Perhaps it comes down to what the market will bear.
In any case, if you're going to have animals, you're going to have vet bills,
but I think we'd all agree, they're worth it.



31 comments:

  1. $30 for overnight board???!!!! I pay more than that for a 45-lb Siberian Husky! AND I take his own food for him! Holy mackeral. All the charges seem extremely reasonable, especially considering they come with bedside lovin'. I'm sure small animal vets charge more because they can. Also because they have more expensive equipment these days than ever before & that has to be paid for. Many give free or discounted care for animals someone is rescuing -- and bless them. All of our 4-footed buddies are worth every penny anyhow -- my husband complains that ours get much better doctoring & pampering than he does. I agree -- they never get cranky!

    What a good boy Hank is about his medicine!

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  2. I like the way you talk to your patient. What a good mom :)

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  3. Those charges do seem reasonable. What surprises me the most is the boarding fee was only $30 for a horse, and the ultrasound was only $100. I've paid $1200 for an abdominal ultrasound (w/ interpretation) for a dog. Around here, you have to go to a specialty center for ultrasounds which drives the price up to a ridiculous level. I think vets charge what the market will bear,and farmers wouldn't pay the kind of fees that pet owners do.

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  4. When I was a kid in the 1950s-60s, my parents never paid for a vet bill. Daddy always insisted we never let a cat or dog inside the house (I sneaked the cat through my window screen in my room on more than one occasion), and none of our animals ever got shots or exams. Even though I came from that upbringing, I've paid vet bills since we had our first kitten after we got married. The last large "small animal" bill I paid was over $500 for the vet to find out nothing was wrong with my cat, and that was for a few tests and an overnight stay. And yes, I agree they are worth every penny, but seeing your bill makes me wish my dog and cat were horse-sized. ;)

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    1. ha! the idea of having a horse-sized cat makes me laugh and terrifies me at the same time!! I take my cat every year for holidays with me and that means a 6,5 hours of train on my knees!!

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  5. One more day of medicine. Everybody must be happy. Healthy once again.

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  6. The next time I get sick, I'm going to a large animal vet. Those are crazy low prices.....luckily.

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  7. I was going to ask "what kind of board did they use on him and why"? Never mind....
    What a deal and such an awesome vet, too!

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  8. My lab was bit by a Copperhead in May. We spent about $800 more than this for his total bill.

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    1. Wow, that stinks...the bite and the bill. Hope your lab is feeling better now.

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  9. So this is what you do with all your free time. He he. Aunt Jean

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  10. So which one of us was closest? I've forgotten how much I guessed. :)

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    Replies
    1. Joy was the winner - she came within $3.41 of the total.

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  11. I agree - very reasonable, and clearly those folks gave Hank great care. The vets who care for our dogs also have reasonable charges for services. (Some of the medications though...ouch!). But when our lovely old dog had some surgery, they did laser therapy on the wounds every other day with no charge after the initial session, They even boarded him at their clinic for two weeks while we were out of town so that treatments wouldn't be interrupted. Again, no charge. Good, caring vets are beyond price. Glad you have good vets available for your family, Linda.

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  12. Wow.....I am in shock. We paid way more than that when Ms. G's cat Cybella was hospitalized. Now I know how over board I was in my estimation of costs.
    So glad he doesn't run like our dogs do when it's time for meds. Handsome Hank is so worth every penny and every fanagaling that you have to do to keep him healthy. Love from the Cuckoos

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  13. Small animal vets are soooo expensive here in Nevada and it just seems like it is a luxury to have a pet now. My dog just had a hot spot and the vet bill was 233.00. Large animal vets are less expensive here as well but not as cheap as yours is. You're probably right about what the market will bear. Like I say I work for my animals and car. So worth it! Betsy

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  14. That was a very reasonable bill. I would be happy with that. I agree too about small animal vets being so much more expansive. When i was 19 my puppy was sting in the eyelid by a bee. My neighbor up the road a half of a mile or so was a large animal vet. I scooped her 50lbs up ran her over to his house in a panic and her fixed her up for free. Her eyeball was not injured, fewww! Ya just gotta love horse people.

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  15. I think that is quite the deal. We are dealing with our 8 1/2 year old Scottie who was just diagnosed with diabetes. His well check up, with blood work was $440.00, insulin $145.00, syringes $40.00 and he goes back tomorrow for an all day glucose monitor (haven't even asked how much). I think you are correct that large animal vets undercharge, but it is all worth it in the end. Glad Hank is feeling better!

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  16. Good to have your voice (audio) back! And Handsome Hank The Great, what a sweetheart he is to make doctoring him not too hard for you. Still, let's all count down the days... until the end of treatment and 100 percent recovery!

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  17. P.S. Is your wonderful vet reading your blog? Maybe we should forego the use of words such as "cheap" with respect to his bill?? ;-)

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  18. Definitely not a Lexington, KY, bill ;-).

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  19. Count your blessings and hope they don't change too soon. This used to be what vet care costs were around here just a few years ago. The only place to go for inpatient treatment like this is Cornell. Just the emergency or after hours fee is $450. Ramsey's post surgical care was $350/day and that did not include medications or procedures, that was just board.

    A couple of weeks ago, I found a vet bill from 2008. I had three horses get spring shots, coggins and a checkup. The bill was $124. I had the EXACT same things done this spring and the bill was $480. Even euthanizing a horse and disposing of it will cost over a $1000.

    And people wonder why horse ownership is declining and so many animals end up at auctions and on slaughter trucks.

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  20. That's insane! Definitely NOTHING like small animal vet bills in southern CA. There's only a $30-40 difference between the cost on day 3 of Hank's vet stay and the 3 hours we spent at the emergency vet clinic with our guide dog puppy-in-training after she got nipped by another dog. And all we got out that 3 hour visit was one (IMO slightly unnecessary) staple and some antibiotics and some wipes. I think it was $75 just for her to be examined!!! Lucky for us, we didn't have to pay the bill. ;) Normally the organization would pay for it, but we chose to let the people who owned the nasty dog that bit her foot it instead.
    Hank is SOOO LUCKY to have such an awesome vet.

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  21. Northern AB gal7/14/15, 12:17 PM

    I can only wish that vet care in our part of the world was that reasonable! Will be interesting to see if Hank gets used to his twice daily meds or if he resists till the end. Have you tried giving a watermelon slice/carrots to make the medicine go down better? :)

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  22. do I read in the bill that the medication the most expensive part? and yes in France too the vet for my cat is expensive: I paid 250 euros last year for a blood test only.

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  23. I think George is gallant for offering to eat Hank's medicine.

    I am glad Hank is home where he belongs and on the mend.

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  24. An American in Tokyo7/14/15, 6:00 PM

    It makes me think that I could never afford to own a horse of my own...boo.
    I guess I'll have to make do with your videos!!

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  25. Loving the hat cam! 21 more days? Oh oh! I don't have a horse any more, and my bank balance shows it. :P All the more money to spend on the dog and cat bills instead. :) But yes, they are worth it, so long as you feel well enough to enjoy them. For me that was no longer true for horses.

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  26. I think I should switch from adopting dogs and cats to adopting horses. An emerg visit here starts at $200 just for the call out, no tests or exam. My last non-emerg checkup for one of my senior dogs was: $70 exam, $25 dewormer, $51 urinalysis, $36 fecal, and $335 for a geri-panel (blood test) with a mini thyroid panel. Plus tax, of course. With two senior dogs who were both ill this spring and who both passed away the same weekend, I ran up a bill of over $2000 in just a couple of weeks - and that was the second time in six months.

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  27. Wow! With charges like that, we might all move there!

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  28. I'm glad that Hank got such good care (wow! such a bargain,too!) and that's he's feeling well enough to turn up his nose at the meds.

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