Vet ran several tests that I didn't authorize- recover $$? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-28-2006, 11:45 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2
Vet ran several tests that I didn't authorize- recover $$?

I recently brought my cat to the vet for renal failure, and the vet indicated that he'd recommend a hospital stay. He printed out an estimate of what it would cost for a three day stay, which included one batch of bloodwork. I said I was ok with that.

However, when I went to pay the bill after the hospital stay, it was several hundred dollars above the estimate becuase they had run several other batches of tests. No one ever called me and asked if I was ok with performing or paying for for these extra tests.

What grounds might I have for arguing this with the vet? They could come back with "we were just doing our best to figure out what we could do for him," which I do in fact agree with, but then again, just leaving him there doesn't give them carte blanche to do whatever they want. Thoughts?
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-28-2006, 08:41 PM
Cool Cat
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 1,355
IF they were honestly trying to be helpful, negotiate a price that would be acceptable to both of you,

a good Vet can be worth the cost.

But it the test had nothing to do with the cats' condition, then you may want to argue them cost more.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-28-2006, 10:25 PM
Tom Cat
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 343
At our vet, we always call to authorize any tests performed after the drop-off unless:

A) It is an emergency situation and the test results are needed stat - we run the test and then call in that case. This is usually only if the cat is failing rapidly and there is no apparent cause. If the owner objects, the vet explains the charge and usually cuts a deal - charges it as a serial instead of a complete panel for example.

B) If the owner is not available, we will SOMETIMES go ahead and run the tests if we are absolutely sure that the tests are vital to the treatment of the animal and the results are needed stat. We once had a chihuahua boarding with us that was (unknown to us) pregnant. We ended up doing an emergency c-section and going to the pet store to buy milk replacement. We couldn't reach the owner, so we had to do everything we could to save both the mother and the puppies. The puppies died, and when the owner returned, he was absolutely livid that we were charging him for these things. He knew his dog was pregnant (had bred her in fact) and so dropped her off to have her puppies with us. He thought that he would get away with paying for just boarding and come back and act suprised when she had a litter of pups! - Just an example of what I mean in this instance...

C) If the owner, upon dropping the animal off, says do ANYTHING you have to do to save my baby don't worry about the cost. In this case, we will run only what is necessary to treat the animal and use our best judgement.

In all cases we contact the owner multiple times giving updates, leaving messages, and doing everything we possibly can both to save the animal and to keep the owner satisfied.

Most veterinarians are pretty willing to negotiate, especially if you can point out that they are in error. However, if they believed that without the tests/treatments that they performed the animal would die - it is hard to punt on the payment because you didn't authorize the procedures.

All in all, if it weren't an emergency situation and you WERE reachable, simply tell them that you did not authorize the treatments and if they wanted to perform the tests they should have contacted you. Most vets in this situation will back down and negotiate. They will probably still want you to cover at least cost on the tests but may not charge you for the exam fee or one nights hospital stay. It really depends on the veterinarian and the condition of your kitty.

Good Luck and I hope this helps!
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