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Veterinary Coalition to Target Drop in Client Visits DVM 360 Oct. 1, 2010


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Veterinary Coalition to Target Drop in Client Visits DVM NEWSMAGAZINE October 1, 2010 http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/dvm/Break...ategoryId=47831

 

A couple of quotes from the article: "At presstime, a planning meeting is slated for November to bring leaders in practice and industry together in an attempt to carve out a series of strategies to help reverse a trend of dwindling client visits. "

 

"Heartworm prevention represents a huge opportunity for practitioners, Payne says, especially if the profession can improve compliance rates and convert pet owners who are not currently giving heartworm preventives to their pets. In fact, he believes a wholesale push could offset losses from flea and tick product revenue for practices. "

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Interesting article. Due to economic factors, I know I'm much more inclined to take a "wait and see" approach now than I used to be. Of course, if Scooter is obviously in trouble, we'll take him in and find a way to pay for it. I think also that the Internet and boards like this one, where you can get input about a particular problem from a variety of people may keep some pet owners from rushing to the vet just because their dog didn't eat his dinner one night or seems tired. And, there's something to be said for experience. The longer you have your dog or cat, the more in tune you are with their habits and learn what's normal and not normal which makes you less likely to panic. It seems like a lot of medicine, human and veterinary, relies on that fear factor; the "it could be this so you should have it checked out," mindset. Just my (somewhat jaded) opinion. And we love and trust our vet by the way. :rolleyes:

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One thing that has impacted our area vets has been the really cheap neuter/spay clinics. My vet used to do 10 to 15 neuter/spays a week. That has really dropped off.

 

And it surely seems to me like the cost of just routine kinds of stuff has gone up a lot. I never get out of the clinic for under $150. A friend of mine took her dog in for a UTI and it cost $195. Wow.

 

But there is a downside to that. One of the vets here may lose her license because she allowed other personnel at a low cost clinic to do the neuter/spays.

 

And one of my customers took their cat to a low cost clinic to be spayed and the cat ended up with part of her intestine coming thru the incision.

 

I am so paranoid about my animals that I will always find the money to have a vet I know and trust do the surgery.

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If HW meds weren't so over priced, maybe vets could sell more of them. IIf I could get HW meds from my vet for $50-$60/year, I'd buy from them because I do want to support them when possible. But $6/pill is way overpriced for HW preventative. It just makes no sense to me to pay nearly $200/year for a product when I can get something that works equally as well for 1/10 of that.

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H/W stuff is really expensive. I get Revolution from Petmeds at about $50 for 3 months. For two dogs that's about $100 every three months. Revolution is also good agains fleas so at least I don't have to pay extra for that.

 

Maybe next year, I'll try Revolution on the dogs. I actually had to resort to flea bombing the house. I've NEVER had a flea problem before (without using flea preventatives) and this year I put everybody on Frontline and get fleas. The Frontline seemed to be absolutely useless. However, they did get less ticks this year than usual.

 

But for shots I got them done at Petco this year. Much, much cheaper.

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I am fortunate in that I can manage to pay my vet bills okay. Since I depend on my vets when I really, really need them, I like to give them my business for most things.

 

I guess everyone has to do what they have to do, and manage as best they can. That's life.

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I am fortunate in that I can manage to pay my vet bills okay. Since I depend on my vets when I really, really need them, I like to give them my business for most things.

 

I guess everyone has to do what they have to do, and manage as best they can. That's life.

 

 

I like to support my local vet also. I have all ways purchased meds through them which is why I was upset with their new rule. Each dog has to have a physical per year to get their HW meds renewed.

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Since I depend on my vets when I really, really need them, I like to give them my business for most things.

I also depend on my vets, but then with all my critters I spend A LOT of money at my vet's on a regular basis anyway. I think many people are like me, we take out business to our vets on a regular basis, but *buy* some meds where I can get them more cheaply. This could be a rationalization, but the fact that I don't spend a fortune on, say, HW meds means that I can afford to have the number of dogs I have, which of course means *more* business for my vet on the clinic visit side, just not on the meds purchase side.

 

Here's just one example. I needed tetanus antitoxin for lambs born of ewes with an uncertain vaccine status. I tried to buy three doses from my vet, but because of a comedy of errors (not funny at the time), I never get the three doses. Later I find a charge on my account for three doses of tetanus antitoxin for $10. Because of the whole fiasco with my vet, I ended up ordering an entire vial from a livestock supply company. It cost $1.99 and contained enough for 10 doses. In this instance, I was quite willing to pay my vet that huge markup for the convenience of having the meds *when I wanted them.* But thanks to multiple screw ups on their end, they lost that sale, and I ended up saving money by ordering online.

 

I really like my vet practice, but incidents like the one above give me reason enough not to count on my vet for at least some meds.... And my feeling is that if I can save money where I legitimately can, then I can afford to spend money on some of the elective things that I might want to do for my animals.

 

J.

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Like Julie, I get the meds I can cheaper (HW, etc.) whenever possible. But I LOVE my vet. She's wonderful diagnostically (and I've had some really strange stuff over the years), but the best thing is that I can always walk in with some sort of pricey emergency (like surgery), and she KNOWS I am going to say I have no money that day to pay for anything, not even a portion of the bill, and she never questions it. She knows I'm good for it, and that I'll pay her (usually within 30 days, so there's no interest charged). I also love that she usually calls me into the back room to show me what's going on with a surgery, too.

 

And there are some things I just won't compromise on--I know lots of folks will just buy their own vaccines for a litter of pups, for example, but I would rather spend the money and take all of the pups in to her for an exam so I am confident that all is well when the pups go to their new homes (and no surprises).

 

So that's the compromise we've got worked out--she knows I trust her and I'll find a way to pay for any necessary treatments, no matter the cost, but she also understands that if I can get meds cheaper, I'll do so, and she's fine with that,

A

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My vet office has always insisted on an annual exam (including the HW test) before renewing the HW prescription. And that's fine because I can manage it, and like have the vet run his/her hands over my dogs once a year and check for things that I might not be able to notice or detect (or even look for), as well as having the SNAP test done.

 

I do buy my HW meds there and any other prescription item that they carry. The prescription items that they don't carry, they readily give me a prescription for so I can get them online. I buy my flea/tick (non-prescription) preventatives online where its cheaper.

 

And, in the state of WV, where a farmer can not order rabies vaccine for their livestock but must get it through a vet (and, therefore, generally also pay the vet for a farm visit and administration of the vaccine), our vet orders it in for us and also sells us the syringes at a very reasonable cost. This is now mandated by WV (a farmer can buy the vaccine through a vet but, no vet was ever willing to do this for me prior to the law being in effect - "Can't do that because you can't have a certificate if I don't give the vaccine myself." "I don't want a certificate, I just want to vaccinate my stock for health concerns." "No can do.").

 

We all have to work out what works out best for us and our animals - and our pocketbooks. I am very grateful in that I have a good relationship with my vet(s), the office manager, a receptionist, and the staff. They respect what I say and do, and I do the same for them. And they are always there for us.

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So that's the compromise we've got worked out--she knows I trust her and I'll find a way to pay for any necessary treatments, no matter the cost, but she also understands that if I can get meds cheaper, I'll do so, and she's fine with that,

A

Exactly. I've also never had a problem making payments, and in fact, recently the regular receptionist was mortified--apologizing to me repeatedly--to find that the fill-in receptionist had had me sign the standard payment form (I actually had offered to do it) after my old cat's blood work and dentistry, which cost close to $1k in the space of one week. My vet is also more than willing to give me free consults over the phone for sheep problems, and among other things, that's the main reason I've stuck with this practice, even though there have been a number of screw ups on the administrative end of things. I don't always agree with my vet, but we have an excellent working relationship and I can trust him to consider practical options and not necessarily the most expensive or invasive option. I think that may well come from the large animal side of the practice, where money sometimes *is* an object.

 

The best prescription I ever had was for Willow's Vetmedin (lowers blood pressure), for which my vet wrote me a scrip without me even asking. When I took it to WalMart and a couple of other pharmacies, no one could find it. Oops! It's an animal-only med....

 

J.

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My vet is also more than willing to give me free consults over the phone for sheep problems

I have a separate large animal vet practice--I work with two of their four vets. I can literally call them directly on their cell phone, even on a Sunday, and they will consult with me about sheep or even my mare for FREE. They know that if it's *necessary* for them to come out, I'll (gladly) pay, but if we can save them some time and me some money by just advising me what to do, that works for everyone. When it's time for routine vaccinations for my mare, they just have me pick them up at their office and administer them myself,

A

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This could be a rationalization, but the fact that I don't spend a fortune on, say, HW meds means that I can afford to have the number of dogs I have, which of course means *more* business for my vet on the clinic visit side

 

This^^

 

I'd rather save money where I can so I can afford to spend it on something else if needed. I did the math and using regular ivermectin instead of heartgard can save about $700/dog over the course of 12 years. I'd much rather be saving that money to use for vet emergecies, treating other health issues (like Missy's heart issues) and better food for my dogs.

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I am fortunate in that I can manage to pay my vet bills okay. Since I depend on my vets when I really, really need them, I like to give them my business for most things.

 

I guess everyone has to do what they have to do, and manage as best they can. That's life.

 

Unfortunately, in this economy we have had to really re-think just how much we can spend on pet (as well as human) healthcare. Both my spouse and I have had our incomes decreased significantly in the last year and we are now struggling to make ends meet. The cost of living increases steadily but middle class income stays flat or decreases (I'll stop there with the rant).

I can't cite actual statistics but I believe that the price of vet care has risen at a rate much higher than inflation over the last couple of decades. Take this and the above middle income rant and you have the real reason people tend to take a wait and see attitude more often now.

I love my vet. She's smart, intuitive and works with me on buying meds....but I just can't afford to see her more than I really, really have to.

 

EDIT: I HATE this type of attitude: "Heartworm prevention represents a huge opportunity for practitioners..."

 

I'm sorry, in "Sammy's World" my horrible, nasty, no good problem should not be your opportunity to make money. This type of attitude smacks of profiteering on the sorrows of others.

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I think it is important to note who is making the comments: The CEO of a chain of Animal Hospitals. Most of us go to Vets that are small practices, where their reasons for being in business can be very different. I found my current vet when my dog was diagnosed with heartworm and my first vets receptionist still wanted to schedule a teeth cleaning. That practice now has a huge new building, and you never see the same vet twice.

 

I have been going back ever since she made the comment to me regarding a follow medication that her associate had said my dog would need for heartworm "Oh don't worry about that she has just graduated and is still trying to sell the clients on every medicine, I am working on her" I respect the fact she is running a business and try to buy my medication through her, in return I believe I am not getting ripped of for unnecessary procedures. When I compare vets bills with friends mine seem reasonable.

 

I believe the key is to find a vet that you can respect and you can agree with their business practices, in the same way I am willing to support local business rather than big box retailers. But I do not support local business that are truly over charging. I still have not got over the $50.00 garbage can, that was $15.00 at home depot.

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EDIT: I HATE this type of attitude: "Heartworm prevention represents a huge opportunity for practitioners..."

 

I'm sorry, in "Sammy's World" my horrible, nasty, no good problem should not be your opportunity to make money. This type of attitude smacks of profiteering on the sorrows of others.

 

Or you could look at it that it's good for the doctor and good for the patient both if the dog owner can be persuaded to use heartworm preventative. And also good for the patients as well as the doc if they get seen by a vet every year or so.

 

I've always considered it very much in my interest that my vet make enough money to stay in practice. "Everybody's gotta make a living," as my FIL used to say.

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Or you could look at it that it's good for the doctor and good for the patient both if the dog owner can be persuaded to use heartworm preventative. And also good for the patients as well as the doc if they get seen by a vet every year or so.

 

I've always considered it very much in my interest that my vet make enough money to stay in practice. "Everybody's gotta make a living," as my FIL used to say.

 

 

I believe in preventative medicine and Cerb sees the vet once a year for his annual and gets his HW meds like clockwork. I also believe that everybody has to make a living, but that includes me... but when this is happening: "Since 1997, veterinarians have been hiking prices at more than twice the rate of overall inflation" (Consumer Reports) and my pay has gone down, I wonder who is actually making that living.

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My homeopathic vet has a small building for her practice so she doesn't have to maintain a huge infrastructure. She doesn't push any kind of product on her clients, and her fees are reasonable.

 

Several people have mentioned that dogs fed a raw diet don't have problems with heartworm, has anyone found that to be true for their dogs?

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Several people have mentioned that dogs fed a raw diet don't have problems with heartworm, has anyone found that to be true for their dogs?

 

There is no physiologic basis for this to be true and not something I'd ever want to chance. Wolves get heartworms and they're certainly raw eaters.

 

ETA: I'm a raw feeder for nearly ten years.

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Several people have mentioned that dogs fed a raw diet don't have problems with heartworm, has anyone found that to be true for their dogs?

There is a difference between clinical symptoms of heartworm disease and an infection; one can be infected and not show any adverse signs of the diease.

 

If a raw diet prevents heartworm infections why have heartworm infections been reported in captive and wild wolves (and other canines)?

Treatment and prevention with ivermectin of dirofilariasis and ancylostomiasis in captive gray wolves (Canis lupus)

 

Exposure of free-ranging maned wolves (Chrysocyon brachyurus) to infectious and parasitic disease agents in the Noel Kempff Mercado National Park, Bolivia

 

Dirofilariasis in wild canids from the Gulf coastal prairies of Texas and Louisiana, U.S.A.

 

Cardiac Evaluation of Clinically Healthy Captive Maned Wolves

 

Dirofilaria immitis in coyotes and foxes in Missouri

 

There are also reports of heartworm infections in wild and captive felines (obligate carnivores).

Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) infection in a leopard (Panthera pardus pardus) housed in a zoological park in north-eastern Italy

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There is no physiologic basis for this to be true and not something I'd ever want to chance. Wolves get heartworms and they're certainly raw eaters.

 

ETA: I'm a raw feeder for nearly ten years.

 

Yes, it seemed odd to me, although perhaps the raw feeding will just give them better overall health, and thus enable them to fight off the infection better, but I can't see how it would prevent them from contracting HW. Our dogs were raw fed for years, yet Butter still contracted anaplasmosis from a tick.

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