|My most precious possession, Lola.|
I've always tried to take the best care of her ... getting her the nicest (most expensive) holistic dog food and treats (heck, I think this dog eats better than I do sometimes), giving her nice showers with extra special pet shampoos, furnishing her with memory foam beds that are easy on her joints, and buying her $20/bag dental chews which she has 1 each week. Lastly I've always made sure she has her heartworm and flee prescriptions on time each month for which she must receive her annual physical each year.
Needless to say, taking care of a dog is not to be taken lightly... it's a time consuming (and pricey) task. Namely, her yearly physical has cost me on average $130 each year, which includes required shots and physical workup (depending on shots required each year). I liked the vet at the clinic we went to well enough, but I started to feel like things were just a little pricey, especially when it came to teeth cleanings, which are very important as dogs age. Each year, I went back and forth on the teeth cleanings, thinking okay, I'll do it this year. But honestly, the $600 my vet was quoting me for a teeth cleaning felt like a whole lot to spend. Lola's last teeth cleaning was in Sept 2009 (to the tune of $606), so she hadn't had one in a little over 2 years. She goes for her yearly appointments at the start of each year, and so this year, I wasn't going to delay the teeth cleanings any more. I started asking my friends who had pets what their pet expenses were. My friend Jaime said her vet charged MUCH less for cleanings and I decided to do a little digging.
Since the vets usually require a pre-cleaning appointment to check out the dog, I decided if I was going to make the switch to a different vet, the annual appointment would be the best time. This way, I would save on the pre-cleaning appointment, accomplishing that at the same time as the annual appointment. This eliminates one office visit and saves $50, which is how much it costs per vet appointment.
My first step was to call the potential new vet and to explain to them that I'd like to switch vets because of a referral from a friend and ask them about their pricing for cleanings. This was to make sure that if I was going to make the switch, I would really end up saving money. Sometimes vets and doctors don't like to quote things over the phone as it is difficult to make quotes with out actually seeing the patient, and they don't want to get stuck quoting a price they can't follow through with if the situation is worse than expected. I get that way of thinking, so I made sure to state that I knew that this would just be a generalization and that I wouldn't take it as a direct quote if Lola's condition ended up being different. Doctors and vets love it when they get referrals. This is how they get a big percentage of new patients, so I knew if I threw that in there, along with an understanding attitude toward the quote, I'd have a good chance at getting the office to tell me about the pricing. Sure enough, I was quoted $225 for a cleaning on a large dog like Lola. Of course, I could expect to pay more for extractions. Well that was good enough for me. We made our appointment for a yearly physical, which was today.
What I actually found out today is that this vet is a whole lot cheaper than my old vet, which makes me VERY happy. And it's closer to home, so that's a definite plus.
Now let's compare apples to apples. Vet 1 is our old vet and Vet 2 is the new one.
Vet 1 Vet 2
Exam $49 Exam $49
Heartworm Test $39 Heartworm Test $25.75
Intestinal Parasite Screen $32 Intestinal Parasite Screen $14.75
Nail Clipping $0 Nail Clipping $5
Total $120 Total $94.50
So just by switching vets, I've saved $25.50, not to mention the extra gas money I've saved by going to a vet closer to home.
Lola's teeth cleaning is scheduled for next Monday, and she's on an antibiotic from the next week to clear up a little infection she has in her back molars. This cost me $19.80 today, and so I'll add that to her teeth cleaning total for vet 2. Here's how the teeth cleaning is broken down. I'll be using the paper work from the 2009 teeth cleaning at vet 1 to compare with the quotes I was given today by vet 2.
Vet 1 Vet 2
Cleaning + Anesthesia $433.10 Cleaning + Anesthesia $225
2 Tooth extractions $144 2 Potential Tooth extractions $110
Pain Meds to take home $29.65 Pain Meds to take home $30
Total $606.75 Antibiotics $19.80
Wow. I'll be saving about $220! I'm pretty excited about it! Now we'll just have to see how it all works out. Fingers crossed that nothing unexpected happens during the cleaning. I expect my very precious cargo to be around for many more years to come!
|That's not Lola, I just couldn't resist the urge to use this picture.|