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vent about vetinary visit

vent about vetinary visit

Old Aug 19th 2011, 5:22 pm
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Default vent about vetinary visit

I tend to be a bit wary when visiting opticians, doctors, vets etc. Anywhere really which seems to want to cash in on my ignorance. My 2 cavaliers were due their annual MOTs and shots in June. I put it off until this week because I dislike being made to feel I am a bad owner because I am reluctant to "buy" other services which are crucial to my dogs wellbeing...or so it is implied.
Both dogs are fit and healthy, no change in behaviour or eating/drinking habits noted and both dogs appear very happy.
During the examination I was offered, or it was suggested, I agree to:
Buying a special shampoo for dry fur.
Buy both dogs toothpaste ($12 a small tube)
Have their nails clipped (this is done regularly by the groomer by the way)
Have blood tests done for diabetes (one dog has a weight issue but this is not new)
Have blood tests done for hypothyroidism.
Have both dog's anal glands expressed.
Finally, after agreeing to the anal gland expressing (I have to get my own back somehow) and buying one tube of toothpaste the vet noted that the bitch has a perpendicular cracked tooth which "must be painful" and needs removing. The estimated cost is between $300 - $500. I was further told it needs to be done within 2-4 weeks.
There seems to be no pain at all (I can't even see a crack but I'm not a dentist) and she even chomps her way through bones with no problem.
Half of me thinks this is just a money-grabbing excuse but the other half is worried my dog really does need this extraction.
What would other dog owners do?
Is $300 - $500 a "fair" price?
Is it worth me insuring my dogs, who are both nearly 6?
These are the first dogs I have ever owned and I want to get it right.
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 5:50 pm
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Default Re: vent about vetinary visit

Oh boy am I used to this...it does seem to be a common theme and extends itself to taking children to the dentists as well strangely enough. They try quite hard to make you feel like an errant owner/parent if you don't accept every test, procedure under the sun. After one bad experience where the vet went ahead and performed all these silly tests without asking me first and then having the gall to charge me I am very upfront now about wanting permission and pricing prior to any step they take. You feel silly and cheap doing this at first but then I think they start to respect you somewhat.
You have to shop around a bit. I live in an affluent town but take my pets across to a more blue collar town where the costs of all procedures are way cheaper. I also get shots and frontline at the big chain pet stores which do clinics once a month. There is a fair amount of waiting around in these clinics but its worth it in the savings you make.
I love cavaliers btw, grew up with them as a child, you can't find a nicer little dog IMO.
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 5:57 pm
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Default Re: vent about vetinary visit

Originally Posted by Lola-Monmouth View Post
I tend to be a bit wary when visiting opticians, doctors, vets etc. Anywhere really which seems to want to cash in on my ignorance. My 2 cavaliers were due their annual MOTs and shots in June. I put it off until this week because I dislike being made to feel I am a bad owner because I am reluctant to "buy" other services which are crucial to my dogs wellbeing...or so it is implied.
Both dogs are fit and healthy, no change in behaviour or eating/drinking habits noted and both dogs appear very happy.
During the examination I was offered, or it was suggested, I agree to:
Buying a special shampoo for dry fur.
Buy both dogs toothpaste ($12 a small tube)
Have their nails clipped (this is done regularly by the groomer by the way)
Have blood tests done for diabetes (one dog has a weight issue but this is not new)
Have blood tests done for hypothyroidism.
Have both dog's anal glands expressed.
Finally, after agreeing to the anal gland expressing (I have to get my own back somehow) and buying one tube of toothpaste the vet noted that the bitch has a perpendicular cracked tooth which "must be painful" and needs removing. The estimated cost is between $300 - $500. I was further told it needs to be done within 2-4 weeks.
There seems to be no pain at all (I can't even see a crack but I'm not a dentist) and she even chomps her way through bones with no problem.
Half of me thinks this is just a money-grabbing excuse but the other half is worried my dog really does need this extraction.
What would other dog owners do?
Is $300 - $500 a "fair" price?
Is it worth me insuring my dogs, who are both nearly 6?
These are the first dogs I have ever owned and I want to get it right.
I think it is really important to build up a good relationship with a specific vet, someone you feel comfortable with and who seems to relate to you personally, rather than just treating you as a cash-cow.

It is really difficult for a layperson to know what's best, but try to educate yourself about basic veterinary issues relating to your dogs. The tooth issue is a tricky one; if you couldn't see the crack, did you not ask for the vet to point it out to you? The risk and incidence of diabetes and hyperthyroidism increases with age, and at age 6 your dogs are probably borderline middle-age, so a baseline measurement may be useful. But I'm not a vet, so don't take my word as gospel.

Having said that, virtually all vets will try and sell you stuff which may not be strictly necessary, or which can be purchased more cheaply elsewhere. (For instance, we buy our dog's Heartguard from an online shop in Australia.) I would not be surprised if they weigh up your 'ability to pay' and price accordingly. I'm pretty sure we pay towards the cost of some less well-off pet-owners bills, but I'm okay with that because I'd rather pay a bit more and maybe help some other pets. We have been going to the same vet for years and it's pretty clear that she isn't rich. We trust her, and to us it's worth it. Unlike the place we went to before, which was clearly $$$-driven, and we didn't feel they had our pets' best interest at heart.

NB: just noticed your mention that your dog "even chomps her way through bones with no problem". Giving dogs bones is not a good idea and will only increase the risk of dental problems.

Last edited by Elvira; Aug 19th 2011 at 6:14 pm. Reason: Bit about bones...
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 6:04 pm
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Default Re: vent about vetinary visit

It seems as if you are not very comfortable with your vet -- for me, that would mean time to find a new one. Your dog can't speak, so you need someone you believe in to figure out what he needs or doesn't need. Did the vet come recommended, just come out of the yellow pages? At the age of six and above, my vet always does a blood workup at the dog's "annual" to see what is going on. Not cheap, but I'm happy to pay for it as it eliminates guesswork. Also, if a dog of that age is going to go "under" for a procedure, a blood workup should be part of the pre-op routine. Did he x-ray the tooth before coming to the conclusion that it had to come out? Sometimes preemptive action is necessary, but I haven't a clue if this is one of them! Good luck with your dogs.
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 6:09 pm
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Default Re: vent about vetinary visit

How frustrating. I would look for another vet. Re the tooth, Sam broke two teeth last time he was in kennels. One was snapped off and the other had a small crack. After a few days, the cracked one pretty much fell out as well. Sam had been pawing his face to try and help. To get both extracted and a chlorohexidine treatment coated onto his teeth was $360. This included the sedation, operation, medication and post op care. The operation took 2 hours as they were healthy teeth, just broken off. They didn't use full sedation. They sedated and then used gas and air. This ment that Sam was fine that night, previously under full sedation he has been floppy for days. My vet doesn't try and sell additionals unless you show an interest.
The trouble is that if it's a cracked tooth, it will only get infected and worse. They dog wont necessarily let you know that anything is wrong. I don't think I would be happy to ask this vet to treat it as they have tried to sell so much else. Maybe you should go to another vet as lots offer a free dental check to try and draw you into using them. If the tooth is cracked then they should mention it at the check.
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 6:44 pm
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Default Re: vent about vetinary visit

Thanks everyone for your input. I wouldn't say I have a very good relationship with my vet. There are about 5 in the office, but there seems to be quite a turnover of staff in the non-partner vets. I seem to see a different one each time I visit. However there are no expensive cars in the driveway and they always seem busy. Plus the office and examination rooms are clean. Maybe I will start to request a particular vet when I visit and try to build up some sort of trusting relationship.
I didn't know big store pet stores have shot clinics so I will explore that option.
The dog in question isn't pawing at her face, in fact she shows no sign at all of being in any discomfort. But you all seem to be saying get a second opinion which makes perfect sense. Also the price quoted seems to be about right. The $300 quote was for a no complication extraction and teeth cleaning. $500 was if there was a need for base line blood work and any complications.
I do buy flea control stuff on-line. I also don't much mind paying a bit more if it is to compensate poorer dog owners, and not the vet himself.
I am just glad I don't have young children I could be swayed into all sorts of examinations and procedures.
As an aside my husband is not really a dog lover. He originally comes from West Africa, where pets are animals and treated as such. His face was a picture when I bought stuffed toys for the dogs to play with . You should have seen him when I arrived home with a tube of doggy toothpaste and a soft tooth brush. All I will say is that I did a good job in teaching him to swear like a true Brit
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 6:46 pm
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Default Re: vent about vetinary visit

Originally Posted by Elvira View Post
I think it is really important to build up a good relationship with a specific vet, someone you feel comfortable with and who seems to relate to you personally, rather than just treating you as a cash-cow.

It is really difficult for a layperson to know what's best, but try to educate yourself about basic veterinary issues relating to your dogs. The tooth issue is a tricky one; if you couldn't see the crack, did you not ask for the vet to point it out to you? The risk and incidence of diabetes and hyperthyroidism increases with age, and at age 6 your dogs are probably borderline middle-age, so a baseline measurement may be useful. But I'm not a vet, so don't take my word as gospel.

Having said that, virtually all vets will try and sell you stuff which may not be strictly necessary, or which can be purchased more cheaply elsewhere. (For instance, we buy our dog's Heartguard from an online shop in Australia.) I would not be surprised if they weigh up your 'ability to pay' and price accordingly. I'm pretty sure we pay towards the cost of some less well-off pet-owners bills, but I'm okay with that because I'd rather pay a bit more and maybe help some other pets. We have been going to the same vet for years and it's pretty clear that she isn't rich. We trust her, and to us it's worth it. Unlike the place we went to before, which was clearly $$$-driven, and we didn't feel they had our pets' best interest at heart.

NB: just noticed your mention that your dog "even chomps her way through bones with no problem". Giving dogs bones is not a good idea and will only increase the risk of dental problems.
Fully agree about bones. I lost a dog...she had compacted bone in her intestines (it was not a cooked bone). At the time my vet said they remove bones from dogs more than any other procedure. That was 30 years ago and I have never given my dogs a bone since.
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 6:51 pm
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Default Re: vent about vetinary visit

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
Fully agree about bones. I lost a dog...she had compacted bone in her intestines (it was not a cooked bone). At the time my vet said they remove bones from dogs more than any other procedure. That was 30 years ago and I have never given my dogs a bone since.
Oh crikey, really? I always thought giving a dog bones was good for them and their teeth. They seem to like nothing better.
I have tried to get them used to kibble or tinned food but they won't have it. Is it time to be cruel and starve them until they eat it?
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 6:53 pm
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Default Re: vent about vetinary visit

Originally Posted by Lola-Monmouth View Post
Oh crikey, really? I always thought giving a dog bones was good for them and their teeth. They seem to like nothing better.
I have tried to get them used to kibble or tinned food but they won't have it. Is it time to be cruel and starve them until they eat it?
You can get fake bones made of animal products from your pet store. Also dental chews, some of which are shaped like bones.
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 7:18 pm
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Default Re: vent about vetinary visit

Originally Posted by Elvira View Post
You can get fake bones made of animal products from your pet store. Also dental chews, some of which are shaped like bones.
Yes, I give them a small nylabone every evening to help clean their teeth. It really is time I read more about feeding dogs. I tended to concentrate on behaviour management and keeping them safe when first I became an owner. Up until I got my two cavaliers I always only had cats....which really are less stressful pets. I cook my dogs fresh meat every day too...nuts or what?
There is some truth in the saying ignorance is bliss.........
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 7:29 pm
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Default Re: vent about vetinary visit

Originally Posted by Lola-Monmouth View Post
Yes, I give them a small nylabone every evening to help clean their teeth. It really is time I read more about feeding dogs. I tended to concentrate on behaviour management and keeping them safe when first I became an owner. Up until I got my two cavaliers I always only had cats....which really are less stressful pets. I cook my dogs fresh meat every day too...nuts or what?
There is some truth in the saying ignorance is bliss.........
Have you discussed your dogs' diet with your vet? I'm not an expert, but I believe home-cooked meat may not have all the nutrients that are added to commercial foods, so they may need some kind of supplement.

Also, middle-aged and older dogs may benefit from glucosamine.
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 7:34 pm
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Default Re: vent about vetinary visit

Originally Posted by Lola-Monmouth View Post
I cook my dogs fresh meat every day too...nuts or what?
There is some truth in the saying ignorance is bliss.........
No wonder they don't want to eat proper dog food! The way to wean them off people food and onto a more completely nutritious dry (or wet) food is to start mixing in the dog food a little at a time, until the swap is made and the bowl has all dog food. Perhaps start with a canned food, and when they are on that, start adding in a dry food, which is better for their teeth. Also, feeding a PetTab dog vitamin every day would be a good idea.
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 7:35 pm
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Default Re: vent about vetinary visit

Originally Posted by Lola-Monmouth View Post
Yes, I give them a small nylabone every evening to help clean their teeth. It really is time I read more about feeding dogs. I tended to concentrate on behaviour management and keeping them safe when first I became an owner. Up until I got my two cavaliers I always only had cats....which really are less stressful pets. I cook my dogs fresh meat every day too...nuts or what?
There is some truth in the saying ignorance is bliss.........
I love Cavs...had them for over 30 years. It was a little tri colour Cav that I spoke about in my previous post.

I have a 13 yr old black and tan Cav now.

Because they are such beautiful little creatures it's easy to overfeed them with snacks. Don't be tempted because they are prone to knee and heart problems. My 13 yr old is slim...although she does have a heart problem she runs and skips around like a pup. Recently my daughter took her to a vet in Toronto...he asked her age...when my daughter said 13...he said months?

Last edited by Jerseygirl; Aug 19th 2011 at 7:37 pm.
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 8:39 pm
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Default Re: vent about vetinary visit

Originally Posted by Nutmegger View Post
No wonder they don't want to eat proper dog food! The way to wean them off people food and onto a more completely nutritious dry (or wet) food is to start mixing in the dog food a little at a time, until the swap is made and the bowl has all dog food. Perhaps start with a canned food, and when they are on that, start adding in a dry food, which is better for their teeth. Also, feeding a PetTab dog vitamin every day would be a good idea.
I will try this, thank you. I did try putting a bit of kibble in with their meat a while ago but they just left it on the side. I guess I am just too soft and need a bit more resolution. I have worried about them getting a balanced diet and they do get treats with added vitamins and glucosamine. I also give them dried sweet potato and the like for variety. I know I have to do something about their diet and soon, not only for them but my pocket. I start off with good intentions then give in when they whine and bark.
I totally agree with the posters who say cavaliers are lovely little dogs. I wouldn't have any other breed.
Never heard of PetTab vitamins and will look out for them at the pet store.
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 8:44 pm
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Default Re: vent about vetinary visit

Originally Posted by Lola-Monmouth View Post
I will try this, thank you. I did try putting a bit of kibble in with their meat a while ago but they just left it on the side. I guess I am just too soft and need a bit more resolution. I have worried about them getting a balanced diet and they do get treats with added vitamins and glucosamine. I also give them dried sweet potato and the like for variety. I know I have to do something about their diet and soon, not only for them but my pocket. I start off with good intentions then give in when they whine and bark.
I totally agree with the posters who say cavaliers are lovely little dogs. I wouldn't have any other breed.
Never heard of PetTab vitamins and will look out for them at the pet store.
I have always fed my Cavs dried food. Sometimes I mix a little chicken with it rather than throwing the legs away. I've always had problems keeping their teeth clean...take them to the vets for cleaning every 6 months. Mine are booked in for next Thursday.
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