The Animal Person Minute: On Getting Ripped Off at the Vet
I’m going to attempt to make The Animal Person Minute into a real podcast, possibly today, and use the podcast for general issues that might attract people new to considering animal rights. Kind of like the pamphlet. In fact, I might just create a series: Thinking Critically About Animal Rights, in an effort to help a larger audience think about why they use animals and if they should, and to whom they give their hard-earned cash if indeed they do want to help animals.
Today will be the last day with a photo and a Minute, although I’m going to increase my usage of photos the rest of the week. Also, I’m setting up a link to the most talked about posts such as Why Did YOU Go Vegan as well as the abolition-survey post on the sidebar so you can find it easily and keep discussing. At this point, that’s the best I can do within this blog, without going elsewhere to set up a forum, although I do reserve the right to do that at a later date.
Now, today’s topic. Our kitty, Emily, started vomiting about a week ago. A lot. Like six times a day. She couldn’t hold down any food, but she would drink water, from a scotch glass only I might add, and her behavior and mood were fine. After two days, I tried to get an appointment with a specialist in internal medicine, but there wasn’t one for a week. I ended up at my vet’s practice, but not with him, and I adore him. I got some new guy who worked with horses until this summer.
Here’s the problem, and it’s a legitimate one: the vet knows no more than I do. Either there’s an obstruction or she has some kind of intestinal distress, perhaps from eating a bad lizard (in South Florida, lizards and geckos are all over the place, including in your house). So the vet orders over $1,000 of tests and expects me to say yes, as I want to help my kitty. If I say no or try to negotiate, I must not want to help my kitty.
Here’s my solution: go test by test and say, do we really need this first? Or do we really need four of them, like with x-rays. Is there one x-ray that will tell us much of what we need and can we do that first and only do the others if there appears to be an issue (surprise! The answer is yes and you’ve just shaved almost two hundred dollars off the bill). If you send the bloodwork out rather than do it in-house, do you save money? ($100 at my vet.) Is there a test you can hold off on and only do if you get a helpful positive result on another test (yes, I could hold off on the barium and x-ray series, which was $450). Do you need to take an antibiotic with you if you don’t even know whether she has an infection (no you don’t, but I didn’t think of that so I paid for it like an idiot).
I’m joking when I say "getting ripped off at the vet." Because Emily can’t tell the doctor what she ate or how she feels, we have very little to go on and must do a bunch of diagnostic tests. However, we don’t have to do everything immediately, and we certainly don’t need antibiotics immediately, and we don’t need a complete set of x-rays immediately. When you’re at the vet you’re probably a bit distressed to begin with, but that doesn’t mean you should leave your common sense and good business sense at the door and agree to everything they suggest.
Emily is perfectly fine now. Her vomiting increased a bit when I took her home and I was concerned, but once I stopped giving her the anti-vomit medicine guess what happened: she stopped vomiting. And when I asked the vet if I should try to continue the antibiotic, which also made her vomit more, he said no, as there was no infection, and he prescribed it "just in case." Well, I’m going to make sure to ask for my regular vet, just in case someone tries to hand me off to that guy again.