Veterinary Flaws [prequel 0A]

25 Nov

Veterinary Medicine has many problems:  Overcharging clients and advising unnecessary tests and procedures isn’t one of them. And when 20/20 or another journalist bring up an “expose” on veterinary medicine–the public is more then happy to accept it. They eat it up.


And that’s why veterinary medicine has so many problems–the legit problems that’s I’ve mentioned about the Wal-Mart employee issues. The small business woes.  The general public still sees pets as a commodity. And the law sees them as property. So veterinary medicine is easily portrayed as a shopping rip-off. These exposes are not advising that veterinarians aren’t doing enough for the pet (as some might with, say, the topic of obesity), they are telling the public that their vet wants TOO much healthcare.

Anyway, in all my experience (14 years now) as a vet assistant, sometimes a very unhappy one, I have never had an employer charging a fair or comparable exam fee. Of all the nail trims I’ve done–probably one-tenth was charged to the owner’s bill–the rest were free. We routinely give baths, clip matts, or do other small procedures that do require time, but don’t go to the owner’s bill. And unlike human medicine, if there is a mistake, miscommunication, or just buyers remorse, they fees will be reduced or eliminated altogether (by the vet).  So the problem is actually the OPPOSITE of what the exposes/news stories challenge–vets charge too little, and constantly have to negotiate on the behalf of the animal to do ANY gold-startests/treatments, because people choose not to make their animal’s health a priority.  Veterinarians rarely get to employ the *gold standard* diagnostic or treatment.  They have to cater to low-budget options instead.  And that affects the business, wages, and future hiring ability.  Give away enough services and suddenly, there’s no money for bonuses, raises, or to replace a missing worker.  It all trickles down.

So vets aren’t in the business to make money and gouge you. If they were–well they would be dentists, and I and all the other skilled workers like me, would be paid appropriately. Veterinarians would be making the salary they are WORTH.  Instead of having the highest school debt, and lowest pay of any professional.  Instead of making a couple of dollars above minimum wage for my experience, BS in Animal Science, and dedication–as well as SKILL–I would be getting the pay (and benefits) of a human nurse.  Substantially higher.  AND, instead of having people just off the street working at vet hospitals, and largely unregulated employment rules/policies, there would be more eyes on the business if public perception of veterinary hospitals switched from shopping-service to medical necessity.

The public’s perception of animal importance and the media’s coverage of stupid things coupled with silence about actual problems in the career is the real problem with veterinary medicine–but where’s the expose on that?

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2 Responses to “Veterinary Flaws [prequel 0A]”

  1. melaniegobledvm April 18, 2014 at 5:18 AM #

    Thanks for sharing this. One of the parts of this whole problem is that when a veterinarian or the team is the one that is sharing the information (because we are the one that have the information) we are looked at as being liars or complainers. Rather than just accepting the facts as facts, it seems that people only want to hear what aligns with what they want to believe. It is sad. This past winter was so slow that I had to take off (from a salaried position) one day each week without pay. Granted, I offered to do so because I didn’t want the rest of the staff to have to cut hours as they can afford it even less than I can. I wish there was enough money being made to provide higher wages to the technicians and assistants, but it just isn’t there. People are shocked at the prices. I just want to share my bills with them. We charge around $60 for a daytime emergency visit that throws off the entire schedule (and we get flack about that), I went to the emergency room and it was almost $400 just for the exam, and that didn’t even include the room or anything else that they did. I appreciate the doctor was there, but it just burns me up when people complain about the prices in vet med!

    • kit10phish April 18, 2014 at 7:04 AM #

      I’m glad WordPress didn’t completely bury this post, and people were able to read it. I don’t love how they post it on the date you started the 1st draft now. . .

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