You should get secondary veterinary advice. here’s why

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Pets are expensive, so it’s good to save money when you can.

Key points

  • Don’t assume that the nearest veterinary practice to you, or the one you’ve always used, will offer you the best price for routine care or special procedures.
  • Call around and get quotes for non-emergency pet care.
  • In an emergency, however, it is best to consult a veterinarian you already know.

As someone who has historically moved around cities and states very often and always had pets, I feel like I talk to more than my fair share of veterinary practices. Sometimes I even call different veterinary offices when I have already established my pets with a local of my own. Why did I bother? It all comes down to cost and knowing how much I could or should spend on veterinary care.

Veterinary care is often expensive

If you, too, took a beloved family pet to the vet and later left with a noticeable dent in your checking account, then I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. And chances are there are several options for vets in your area, so you don’t have to settle for the first clinic you call. I spent several months living in a very rural town with a population of less than 6,500, and still had several veterinary clinics to choose from when I needed to take one of my cats for a checkup. routine and vaccinations.

Note that even if you have a pet insurance policy to cover your beloved pet, you will likely have to pay for veterinary care out of pocket and then be reimbursed by your insurer. So if you can shell out less money up front to be reimbursed later, that’s better.

Pre-existing conditions may require more frequent care

If your pet has a pre-existing condition, defined as any injury or illness your pet suffers before insurance coverage begins, you’ll likely spend even more on veterinary care. This makes shopping even more crucial. No pet insurer covers chronic pre-existing conditions, but some may cover treatable conditions, such as respiratory or gastrointestinal issues that eventually go away.

If you have a pet with allergies or diabetes, for example, it’s a good idea to call and see if you can find a vet who will charge you less for the likely more frequent vet visits than you will need to do and medications. your pet will need.

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to shop for boarding for my oldest cat. He needed a dental cleaning and some dental extractions, which is not a cheap undertaking. The whole process involved blood work beforehand (to make sure he was healthy enough to have the procedure), anesthesia for cleaning/extractions, painkillers, and a follow-up appointment afterwards. . Based on the level of care expected and the number of teeth my cat needed to remove (included in the price at my regular vet), I was offered approximately $1300 for the entire procedure. Ouch.

I called two other local vet clinics to get basic quotes over the phone for the procedure (without examining my cat it was not possible to get as firm a quote as I got from my vet clinic usual). In both cases, I was quoted less than $1,000, but with the caveat that tooth extractions would cost more. And my vet thought he would need to remove at least three. Cha Ching.

Knowing that, I felt better planning to pay that $1,300 to my regular vet. So while I didn’t end up using a different clinic, knowledge was power in this case. And it turns out that my bill for my old cat was only $1,000 because he had to keep more teeth than expected.

Tips for Choosing the Right Vets to Call

If I’ve convinced you that shopping around for vet care is a good idea, you might be wondering how to choose which vets to call. I had the most success when I asked local friends and colleagues for recommendations. And if you have a friend with the same type of animals as you, he’s probably a better judge of a clinic. I have a former boss who also had cats, and she recommended the vet practice I used for over four years – they were great with my cats too.

You should also check online reviews of veterinary clinics; take them with a grain of salt, but if you see the same rant (or rave!) repeated by different reviewers, that’s a sign it’s probably accurate.


The tips above are for non-emergency veterinary care. If your pet is in trouble, and minutes count, now is not the time to shop around! You’re more likely to get an emergency appointment with a veterinarian who already has your pet’s health information on file. So stay with your usual veterinarian, and if he sends you to a specialized emergency veterinarian instead, TRUST THEM.

Having pets is a wonderful part of life for many people, despite the monetary costs. It just makes financial sense to shop around for vet care and save a little money when you can.

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