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Did my vet charge me too much?

By: Dr. Jon Rappaport

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Our question this week was:

My 18-year-old cat Alli has been diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the mouth. Her vet, who has the compassion of celery, charged me $560.00 to give me this diagnosis, pull 4 teeth and tell me there is nothing he can do for her. He sold me 14 pain pills and an $8.00 bag of pill pocket treats. She only ate one pain pill. She is only eating (drinking) enough of the Science Diet AD for felines and canines to keep her alive, but not to thrive. She has lost 9 pounds in 3 weeks and is starting to look like the animals on the Animal Planet Cop shows - I keep waiting for them to knock on the door.

Her vet says to just let her die at home. I asked what he would charge to put her down and he came up with a $90.00 price. Seems like after $560.00 to diagnose her and do nothing more than do 4 simple extractions, he'd throw the euthanasia in for free.

My questions to you are: Is this normal vet behavior? Is this cruel? Is she in pain? Is there somewhere I can report the vet to for his callousness?

I live in a small town and don't want my other pets treated badly because I am dissatisfied with Alli's treatment. Word gets around.

I would appreciate any advice you can give me.

Thank you,

Vicki Hamlett
The Colony, TX


Answer

Hi – thanks for your email. You wrote that your 18-year-old cat was diagnosed with Squamous cell carcinoma of the mouth and had surgery. You wrote that they charged you for the surgery and gave you an additional estimate for euthanasia. I don't know exactly what they did and cannot comment on if they overcharged you. They should have given you an estimate as to what to expect and if they did and your bill was over that – I'd ask why. It sounds like you were not happy with their service or with the final bill.

If that were the case – I'd recommend that you talk to them about it. I have no idea of your cat's situation or what they did but maybe there is a mistake on the bill. Again, I have not idea but I would prefer a client to discuss it with me or my staff than to hold it in or have unanswered questions.

As far as them invoicing separately for the euthanasia – that is the standard practice.

To be honest, that is common in most clinics. If your cat has lost 9 pounds in 3 weeks – it may be time.

Best of luck!

Dr. Jon




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