"heartless vet" Rant! - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 46 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
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"heartless vet" Rant!

I didn't feel it appropriate to say anything on the particular thread where this was said, but I just can't let it go.

Anytime someone goes to a vet for help but can't get full treatment due to lack of funds why is the vet immediately vilified and called heartless and uncaring? I really don't understand this logic.

The vast majority of people who go into the field of veterinary medicine, do so because they LOVE ANIMALS and want to help them. But there are certain realities that come with being a veterinary professional.

1) Vet school costs money. Lots of money.Most vets leaving school have at least 100K in debt to pay off.

2) Vets don't make a lot of money. You don't become wealthy working as a vet, unless you are a specialist, its just not a lucrative profession. But, thats not why people go into vet medicine. They don't go into this field to make money, again, they do it because they love animals and want to help them.

3) Living life and doing business costs money. This is the reality for absolutely EVERYONE who lives in the free world. Why Vets are someone expected to live off nothing I don't know. I know that the vets I work for and with DO hurt for our clients and our patients and bend over backwards to help them as much as they can, but there are limits. After all, the electric company isn't going to accept "but I love animals' instead of cash money payment for their electricity service. Nor will any grocery store I know of allow a vet to have food to feed their family based on the fact that they are animal lovers. Landlords and mortgage holding banks, also don't care that vets love animals. They want money. Its a fact of life. Vets cannot and should not be expected to give their services away for free because they wouldn't last long in this society if they did. There's a nasty double standard going on here and it really makes me angry.

Other things to consider, most vets, especially emergency vets, don't own the practice and therefore are limited in what they can do for free or how they can arrange payment plans. There are rules that are set down by the owner or a board of directors that are not present at the clinic or available to make exceptions based on circumstances in the middle of the night.

No one likes to see animals suffering, most especially veterinary professionals, but because they cannot give away treatment for free does not make them devil animal hating heartless people.

And for the record, the vet in question in the thread in question, did examine the cat, and offered treatment options that could be purchased over the counter, and even sent home some donated medications. Sounds like he or she did a good amount of work for nothing.

/rant

Rachael with Thurston, Sully and Ninja.
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post #2 of 46 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 04:07 PM
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Great post! I agree wholeheartedly. I'm lucky to have an awesome vet who is willing to work with me when things go south. Like this last time with Samantha and her ginormous vet bill...I paid the main costs, but she knocked quite a bit of money off for me, which was very appreciated. But if she hadn't, I wouldn't think she was heartless...she's just trying to do her job, and is expecting to get paid like everyone else for it. Can't fault a vet for that.
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post #3 of 46 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 04:11 PM
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Nice post.

Especially true:

Quote:
Other things to consider, most vets, especially emergency vets, don't own the practice and therefore are limited in what they can do for free or how they can arrange payment plans. There are rules that are set down by the owner or a board of directors that are not present at the clinic or available to make exceptions based on circumstances in the middle of the night.
A lot of people here know how kind my vet was during Cinderella's illness, especially because I wasn't working, but she also owns the place. Other vets in the office wouldn't have been able to do the same.

Cali, Cinderella, Cleo and Charlee

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Last edited by marie73; 11-08-2011 at 04:14 PM.
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post #4 of 46 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 04:12 PM
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I agree with you Kobster!
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post #5 of 46 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 04:13 PM
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I'm on the fence about this. A cat that is OBVIOUSLY in pain and a hysterical owner who obviously loves their pet would be impossible for me to turn away...of course that's probably why I could never be a vet/vet tech.

I couldn't hand a sick cat back to a hysterical and loving owner because they didn't have enough cash to cover what needed to be done.....
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post #6 of 46 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 06:05 PM
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I agree with everything said above, and of course, the reality is, vets need to make money. If they treated every cat with an owner who couldn't afford it, they would probably do as much or more unpaid work than paid work. Any time an animal has a serious medical issue the treatment generally becomes quite costly, putting it into an area many pet owners can't easily afford. Often too, the total vet costs can far surpass initial estimates as unexpected hiccups and problems can arise during treatment. It's unfair to expect a vet to get an animal healthy with no guarantee of payment when sometimes those bills can easily top $1,000 - would you expect anyone outside of your closest friends or family to comp you something of that high or higher of a value?

That being said, my last vet WAS a bit of a bleeding heart, and was very willing to work with people. Even he still needed SOME kind of payment, though. When my last cat died, we were fighting hard for him, and I'd paid for his surgery and his previous ER care (unrelated vet) up front, but I knew I would eventually run out of funds and yet my cat may still need help. My vet told me not to worry about it if it came to that, and that we could work something out. I was so thankful to know I wasn't going to be limited in the help I could give him, but I never expected it to be that way (hence why I asked). Sadly, he didn't survive long enough to run his bill up too much higher, and when he passed away, my vet felt so terrible that he was kind enough to dismiss any extra charges above what I had already paid, and he comped the private cremation on top of that.

So, some vets WILL work with you - and it probably helps if you have a history with them (of regularly paying your bills) and if your pet has a treatment history with them (my vet knew my cats without needing to review their charts). It is definitely not a realistic expectation to walk into a random ER or emergency clinic and expect them to help no questions asked, even if you can't pay - how can they possibly know you will eventually be good for it?

There's also a program which basically is like credit for vet care, where you can make payments, but you do need to pass a credit check. I've never applied for this, so I don't know how easy/hard it is to get, or how viable an option it is for most people, but it is at least an option.
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post #7 of 46 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 06:39 PM
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I agree with this thread as well, however, I am also with MowMow. If I were the vet, I don't think I could turn someone away that brought me an obviously sick and/or dying pet. I'd be fired in the first week.
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post #8 of 46 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 06:57 PM
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I'm on the fence too. Every situation is different.

When I found Gatito who was nearly dying I went to an emergency vet at 11 pm. I was stopped at the door -slightly opened, I just saw a pair of eyes and I heard a voice from the inside that said "we don't treat street animals". When I said that I was paying for everything, they opened the door.

That was heartless. I was in tears. But then, it is their business. They can't receive every girl that comes crying with a street cat inside a cardboard box and treat it for free.

Now if it is your regular vet and he/she denies treatment with no willingness to work it out somehow, that could be considered heartless too, but most of the times they have to answer to their institution and they can't just do something like that without risking their jobs! That's why I couldn't be a vet either. I just couldn't deal with those situations without feeling miserable all the time. I'd take them all. And I'd be fired the first week too, as Meezer said.
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post #9 of 46 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 07:08 PM
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I agree if we're talking about some minor illness, but the cat in question was twitching and obviously in life threatening distress. This wasn't a case of "hey, kitty has a cold. Can you treat him for free?". Also I must have missed where the OP was asking for free treatment. She didn't have $200 on hand. Doesn't mean she didn't have $20 or $50 and a willingness to pay it off little by little. Vets are a business you're right, but denying a suffering likely dying animal care is heartless just as I stated causing this rant.
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post #10 of 46 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 10:49 PM
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It's a moral issue but at the same time, especially for an emergency vet which isn't often owned by the vet and that people don't routinely visit, there are a lot of animals coming in with serious or life-threatening injuries daily, that's what the clinics are there for. It seems logical to establish a policy of up front payment before examination at an emergency vet, it may not be mandatory but I can see how some may find it necessary or may have had one too many people not paying up in the past. Even if in one day there is a single person rushing in without the needed money up front that's one person that may not pay their bill, or one person that may spread the word to others the the vet may do things for free when their animal is sick. It's likely not a sustainable method of running a clinic otherwise the vets would want to help out in a heartbeat; they aren't heartless, it would be nice to get treatment for free but realistically vets can't get a reputation like that. If a vet is well off or has an established client it may be a different story, but most vets can't afford it or may not even have the power to decide these things if it's not their clinic.


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