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Friday, August 7, 2009

Higher Price Vs. Longer Wait

A little while back I posted my first poll after some entries on quality or quantity of medicine. The results are interesting.

Get a free or discounted office visit, but have to wait for an hour or more--35%
Pay a full office visit ($40) and be seen in 15-20 minutes--65%

Many people talk a lot about wanting discounts, and unfortunately we see a lot of price-shoppers in veterinary medicine. Many people call around to various vets wanting to find the cheapest price but aren't as interested in exactly what services are included. Not all services are created equal, and it can be frustrating when people care more about the cost than their pet's health. Don't get me wrong, as I look for good value also. But there is a difference between "cheap" and "value". Something that is a great value may not be the cheapest. A high value service or product gives you a lot for your money. When I was growing up I worked for a vet who was one of the highest-priced in the area. He wasn't apologetic, but emphasized to all of the staff that if we were going to charge these prices, we had better give the clients service worthy of that price. Apparently the clients felt it was worth it, as the practice grew quickly.

For the readers here, it seems that most people are willing to pay a normal price in order to get seen quicker. To them, there is value in a reasonably rapid visit, and they're willing to pay for it. To me as a vet and a businessman this is nice to know. It means that most people realize that a veterinary visit is a service worth paying for.

I've added a new poll for everyone to take. I've often said that pet owners should have an emergency fund of at least $500 (or equivalent for people outside of the US) to help cover any sudden illnesses or injuries. Let's see if anyone could actually do that!


  1. I voted, I put $1000 because we would have gone higher with Mugsey if there had been hope.
    I do think if the cheaper rate was sort of like a gamble I'd do it, like you might be seen in 30 minutes or an hour and a half if you take the cheaper rate.

  2. I keep a dedicated savings account for my pets "unforseen expenses", in which I keep from $10,000-15,000. This is not for their routine care, which is budgeted into my normal household expenses. I currently have 6 pets---2 Labs, ages 7 and 10; and 4 cats ages 2,3,4,and 9. Three of the cats are "special-needs"--2 amputees and one missing an eye. Both dogs have hip dysplasia and one of those has recurrent infected sebaceous cysts. So my expenses can mount up rather quickly at times. My vet usually has carte blanche to diagnose and treat up to about $500-600; after that I like to be called (if I am not present) to discuss treatment plan and options. If and when treatment would be futile, then euthanasia would, of course, be considered to prevent any further suffering.


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