pet and vet

Here’s a thing: If you suspect your vet is ripping you off, they just might be ripping you off

You know the thing where people either don’t have health insurance or do but mistakenly get sent an itemized medical bill and they see hospitals charging like $80 for an aspirin and $150 for a blanket and $5000 for a paper gown*? That shit goes on in veterinary medicine both with procedures and drugs prices. Only difference is, almost nobody on the planet has pet insurance so almost all vet bills come out of pocket. And there’s an added layer of mystery because much of the time your animal can’t (or doesn’t) indicate if something is wrong. Even more so than with with human medicine, people are entirely at the mercy of what their veterinarian tells them is necessary.

I won’t go so far as to say vets deliberately mislead people to make money. I will say that I’ve seen prices for pretty standard procedures cost as much as 100% more depending on which clinic you go to. And I don’t mean ‘normal vet office in suburban neighborhood vs mobile vet bus in downtrodden area’. I mean like, down the street. Sometimes things cost what they cost though. That’s why I say the biggest problem I see with vets ripping people off is in their policy on expensive, invasive procedures. In my time I have seen vet’s offices recommend annual full dental cleanings (anesthesia, x-ray, and all, every single year), and whole hip replacements for 12 year old dogs with like the normal joint/skeletal degeneration you’d expect from a 12 year old dog–while not telling owners that said replacement will mean the animal may also need to be on blood thinners, pain killers, and anti inflammatory meds for the rest of its life. 

And I know this shit is bad practice because I’ve seen good, responsible, pragmatic veterinarians who sit down with owners and explain that having a tumor removed from their 4 year old guinea pig is probably a waste of money, and there’s a higher-than-normal chance that such a small animal could die under anesthesia. I’ve known good vets who will tell you their whole office policy is to try to not do invasive surgery on dogs over 10, because it’s super stressful and carries higher risk. I’ve known responsible vets who just straight up say yes your dog has epilepsy, but the meds to help that are expensive and will damage its kidneys, so unless it’s having a seizure a month I don’t recommend it. I’ve known pragmatic vets who straight up tell people, “Your pet is old. It’s going to slowly degenerate. When it gets to be too much you can have it put down, but burning money to make it act like it did when it was young is fighting a losing battle that will ultimately decrease its quality of life and bankrupt you.”

Those are the sorts of vets you look for, because those people know that animals are animals, and people have budgets. PLEASE don’t internalize messages that the amount of money you’re willing to spend is evidence of how much you love your pet. Sometimes shit is extremely expensive, and it’s just not responsible to spend thousands of dollars on a pet. IME I’ve noticed a difference in the kind of clientele certain offices get? Like, ‘upper-middle class people who can afford dog chemo and will shell out a mortgage payment so Fluffy can live 1 more year’ vs ‘everyone else’. You can tell quickly which kind of client your vet is used to servicing based on what kind of shit they recommend. It’s tough to draw a firm line on that, because young animals need rounds of vaccinations like young humans, and some animals do have health problems, or special concerns. But if you have a healthy 5 year old cat and they have you coming in every 6 months for blood work, and they’re trying to sell you on pet insurance**, I’d say that’s a red flag. Some vets are pretty down to earth, and will work with you, or offer alternatives to expensive procedures. Some live in a beverley hills bubble and look down on owners who won’t sell all their possessions to have their dog’s brain transplanted into a rocket-powered cyborg body.

So if you have doubts about either the cost of a procedure or a diagnosis, shop around/get a second opinion. I just had to do that for my dog. She needs her teeth cleaned and her regular vet was charging $600 for it before the x-ray. I called around one afternoon and found a great place who will do it for $240, x-ray included! So we now we have a new vet!

*for those not familiar with the widespread phenomenon of outrageous hospital markups and soaring drug prices:

**Lots of people have good things to say about pet insurance. I’m not one of them. I think it’s a scam. It maybe comes in handy in the first year of your pet’s life when they need all their shots, and to get spayed/neutered. And maybe at the end of its life, depending on how much money you’re willing to spend to delay the inevitable. But most of the time, your average mongrel dog or cat won’t need any serious medical intervention, ever (barring getting in a fight with a porcupine or car).

Can't afford the vet, can't afford the pet.

When we in the veterinary industry defiantly cry “If you can’t afford the vet then you can’t afford the pet,” please try to understand what we’re talking about.

We’re not talking about people that have a pet for years, fall on hard times and can’t find the $3000 it needs for surgery or intensive care. Life happens. Goodness knows most of us don’t have that kind of money lying around either.

We’re talking about people who spend $1000’s on a new puppy… But can’t afford vaccines, desexing or heartworm preventative.

We’re talking about people who ‘rescue’ an animal but fail to provide it with basic care.

Or 'rescues’ that aren’t treating the issues of animals they acquire, especially if they delay treatment to beg for donations online.

And the people that haven’t wanted to spend money on preventative care for their senior pet for the last three years because “she’s old and will die soon.”

Or the ones that spend hundreds of dollars on doggy fashion accessories but accuse you of price gouging on antibiotics.

Who can’t borrow $50 from all the people they know, but want a payment plan from you. And a discount because they 'rescued’ it as a puppy.

For whom $20 of take home pain relief is 'just too much’.

Who keep acquiring more and more animals with problems that need extensive treatment that they can’t pay for.

Look, we don’t want to see anything suffer and will help out when we can, and try to tailor things to your budget…

But if you can’t afford BASIC veterinary care, then you cannot afford the pet. Don’t get it.

So you messed up with animal care...

Maybe things got crazy at work and you missed a feeding day. Maybe you were sick or busy and let enclosure maintenance go for awhile. Maybe you didn’t notice something wrong as soon as you should have. Maybe you just now realized that you had bad information and had been doing something wrong for a long time.

1) Breathe. Everyone who keeps animals has made mistakes. Every single animal keeper that you look up to now has screwed up in their learning process (I don’t know if I’m anyone to look up to, but I have certainly made my share of mistakes). You are not an evil human being for messing up.

2) Fix whatever needs fixing to the best of your ability. Catch up on the things you’re behind on. Fix husbandry you were misinformed about. Take your pet to the vet if they are sick.

3) Think about why this happened and what you can do to keep it from happening again. Do you need to set reminders for yourself? Do you have too many things on your plate and need to let some of them go? Do you need to find a more reputable source for husbandry information?

4) If whatever it was that caused this is something permanent/recurring that you aren’t sure you can prevent then think about whether you are in a good position to properly care for yourself and your animals right now. If you are in a place where you need to focus on your mental or physical health, or just making ends meet, and that is taking all your energy right now, then maybe you need to find someone to help with your pets or find them a new home. Sometimes you need to take care of you first.

5) Whatever you decide, take another moment to just breathe. You are not a horrible person. Whatever happened before is done now, you are going to do what is best for your animals from now on and that’s what matters.

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Please help.
This is Sprite. She is my emotional support animal. She’s incredibly loving and affectionate and has helped me through a lot of dark times that I don’t think I would have made it through otherwise.
Recently she has developed breathing problems. She is sneezing a lot and her breathing is labored at times and it is concerning to me.
I am currently unable to afford a vet bill. I am really concerned about Sprite but I can’t do anything without some help.

Please, if you can, please help me get Sprite to the vet.
Here’s the GoFundMe link: gofundme.com/help-sprite-get-her-medicine
And Paypal: paypal.me/ShawnaKay57

Please help or reblog!!

My keeper has received numerous asks from people with sick leopard geckos asking him for advice in the past couple of weeks.

His answer is always going to be the same: Take your gecko to a qualified exotics vet.

He is not interested in how you “can’t afford it” or “don’t want to”, because neither of those things matter.

If you have let a gecko–or any pet–in your care get into a situation in which they are unable or unwilling to eat, and they have lost weight to the point that their tail has become skinny, a vet visit is required.

It’s not always just a matter of ‘needs more food’, many times there is an infection or a husbandry problem present, and a qualified vet will know what to ask and what to look for to give you a proper treatment plan for your gecko.

My treatment plan was made in conjunction with the vet my keeper takes his reptiles to; he did not just guess as to what needed to be done and go from there, he sought the help of a qualified professional and did not think twice about paying for it.


We can be expensive to keep, and even more expensive if we become ill or injured; if you cannot afford vet bills to treat us when we become ill, you cannot afford to keep us as pets and need to rehome us to someone who is financially capable of caring for us.


Part of loving a pet is knowing when you are unable to provide that pet with the care that it needs to thrive and survive, and loving us sometimes means rehoming us to someone who can afford to take care of us properly.

You can take your 'Natural' Flea Remedies...

… And shove them somewhere dark and anatomical.

You sit comfortably behind your computer screen, far from suffering, possibly never even seeing a flea, either because you never looked or because they were never there in the first place, and proudly tell people that vets are just in it for the money, so you should treat fleas with olive oil / garlic / diatomaceous earth / apple cider vinegar / wishful thinking instead.

You’re not here in the real world trying to comfort an old, desperate woman who took your advice and is paying the price. Her old cat is being put to sleep because of massive flea burden causing an iron deficiency anaemia, with a PCV of 11% (lost 70% of her blood cells to these parasites). She might have afforded a dose of real flea treatment that works, instead of wasting in on your ‘cheap alternatives’,  but she certainly can’t afford the blood transfusion, oxygen therapy and intensive care her cat requires.

You’re not here as I put her cat to sleep, resting on her tear soaked chest, coat greasy with olive oil, stinking of garlic and lavender.

 You don’t see the consequences of these unchecked parasites, which you probably only ever thought of as a dirty annoyance.

 But I am here.

I am here comforting this woman while bad internet advice killed her cat with a completely preventable condition.

So to those promoting ‘natural’ parasite control, whether it’s because you like to feel clever, or always wanted to be a vet but didn’t get to be one, I’d just like you to know one more thing.

Death by parasite is completely 'natural’ too.

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(before and after)Baloo made it through his surgery! The tumor was 250 grams and had an artery bigger than his aorta.

A year and a half ago when I first noticed a tiny lump my vet said it was caused by a pituitary tumor secreting prolactin and anesthesia would kill him. By the time it became evident he didn’t have a brain tumor, they said it was too large to remove.

Two days ago I went to a local vet that only recently got an exotics person. He had an ulcer on his chest from dragging his body around and I was preparing to put him to sleep next week.

They said the tumor seemed operable, it was a risk because he is 3 years old, but they said his chances were good and they had no doubts they could do it.

Today he came home 250 g lighter, with a giant scar and a discovery of mild congestive heart disease. Luckily with the tumor gone his heart won’t have to work so hard and with meds and some bed rest he’s expected to live a comfortable and happy rest of his life.

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GLAUCOMA

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is when the intraocular pressure is elevated, compromising vision either partially or completely.

What causes Glaucoma to develop?

In a patient with healthy eyes the aqueous humor produced within the Ciliary body located behind the Iris flows through the Pupil and drains through a sieve structure found in the corner of the eye known as the Iridocorneal Cleft. The fluid is produced and then drained at a steady rate resulting a stable intraocular pressure (IOP) of 15-20mmHg.

In the unhealthy eye, there is inadequate outflow of aqueous humor through the Iridocorneal Cleft resulting in the build up of fluid within the eye. This causes the IOP to increase, the more this increases the more damage is done to the Optic nerve which blocks nerve impulses causes blindness.

Does it cause permanent blindness?

The longer the IOP is increased the more damage is done to the Optic nerve, once this is permanently damaged vision can not be restored. Therefore, early surgical intervention is strongly recommended. 

Is there only one type of Glaucoma?

No, there are two types of Glaucoma. These are:

Primary Glaucoma - This is thought to be the inherited type and is seen mainly in purebred dogs. It is caused by either:

  1. Open Angle Glaucoma - Where the point where the Iris meets the Corneal is open at the correct angle but the Iridocorneal Cleft becomes clogged over time resulting in a slow loss of peripheral vision until the whole eye is effected. This type of Glaucoma has little warning signs and is seen most commonly in Beagles and Norwegian Elkhounds.  
  2. Narrow Angle Glaucoma - This type of Glaucoma occurs suddenly when the Iris is pushed or pulled forward blocking the drainage angle. Commonly seen in Cocker Spaniels and is a medical emergency causing pain, redness of the eye, dilated pupils, nausea and vomiting.
  3. Gondiodysgenesis - This is a developmental abnormality of the actual drainage angle causing decrease fluid outflow when the eye becomes inflamed. It is commonly seen in Basset Hounds.

Secondary Glaucoma - This is often the result of pre-existing ocular conditions such as Uveitis, Lens dislocation, Intraocular tumours and trauma to eye interfering the natural flow of ocular fluid. 

The clinical signs of Glaucoma include:

  • Excessive tear production
  • Yellow/Green Ocular discharge
  • Reddened Eye
  • Behavioural changes due to pain and loss of vision
  • Enlarged Pupil that doesn’t respond to light
  • Enlarged Eye

How is Glaucoma diagnosed?

Diagnosis is made by evaluation of clinical signs and taking a detailed history from the client. In addition to this two diagnostic techniques are used, these are:

  1. Tonometry - The measurement of IOP with a Tonopen.
  2. Gonioscopy - Evaluation of the drainage angle, done by placing anaesthetic drops into the eye and then installing a dome shaped lens onto the corneal surface. The front of the eye can then be examined with a slit lamp.  

What treatment is available?

Glaucoma in animals is much more difficult to treat than when it is present in human eyes. Mannitol is the intravenous drug of choice used to decrease the IOP, while eye drops such as Pilocarpine are used to increase the outflow of Aqueous humor. Once the IOP is stable, surgical options become available. 

If vision is present:

Laser Cyclophotocoagulation - A laser is used to burn through the white outer layer of the eye and selectively destroy small areas of the ciliary body to reduce the production of eye fluid. Occasionally more than one surgery is needed to achieve a positive outcome from this treatment.     

Cyclocryothermy - A small probe is placed on the outside of the eye and small areas of ciliary body are frozen to decrease the amount of intraocular fluid being produced. 

Anterior Chamber Shunts - A small valve is implanted under the white of the eye through a small incision acting as a new drainage pathway for the fluid to leave the eye.

If vision isn’t present: 

Evisceration and Implantation of Intrascleral Silicon Prosthesis – A silicone implant is implanted within the eye. This procedure involves shelling out the eye leaving the fibrous sclera and cornea, the shape of the eye is maintained with a sterile silicone sphere and the eye is pain free for the patient. Complications include corneal ulceration.

Ciliary Ablation by Intravitreal Injection of Gentamycin – Gentamycin (a antibiotic) is injected into the eye in high concentrations, the ciliary body is killed resulting in the cessation or reduction of aqueous humor production. A GA is needed and complications can include: shrinking of the eye, return of glaucoma and chronic pain.

Enucleation – Removal of the eye.

artemistudying  asked:

Hi Dr. Ferox! I really admire you & your effort in the amazing job you're doing💕It's been my dream to be a vet for as long as i can remember & you're blog has only strengthened it. I've been to the vet before with my pets & it's cost a lot of money for even a small check in. I realize that the equipments used, medicine even etc is expensive, so the cost for patients too is expensive, but do u think that vets have the option to lower the cost in any way, do u think its possible to do so? thnx!

If you’re asking me whether I think veterinarians can or should lower vet fees, how do you think we should go about it?

The economics of running a vet practice are complex, but you are correct in understanding our equipment and medicine is expensive, and there are various registrations we need to pay too.

To simplify things, (and I have simplified things a lot because I don’t intend to give you a course on economics and practice management) practice management groups talk about veterinarians needing to generate 4-5x their wage to be profitable or worthwhile employing. This rough guide lets vets know roughly what they should be earning, and what fees they should be billing. It’s a bit crude, but it’s useful for this conversation without getting too in depth.

The Average veterinarian wage in Australia is around $75k per year. The average Australian wage is between $70k and $80k so I don’t think I’m being too greedy in hoping to earn that much. After all, I want a home and food in the pantry and a comfortable life like everyone else.

So if I want to earn $75k per year (before tax), that equates to about $38 per hour if I work a standard 38 hour week (rare as that is in the industry!).

Which means if I follow the rough rule above, I need to be billing up between $150 and $190 per hour at work on average, regardless of what sort of veterinary work I’m doing. Sometimes there will be quiet days, and sometimes there will be busy days,

Now, if a consultation with a pet takes15-20 minutes, then we need to charge about $50 per consult to earn our pay, as a minimum, if we run on schedule and are fully booked 100% of the time.

Keep in mind that many of our revisits are discounted, pensioners often get a discount, we’re not always booked out from dawn to dusk and sometimes people just don’t show up for appointments. Some consults take more time than others (I wont rush someone out after a euthanasia) and sometimes emergencies happen.

If I lower that consultation fee, then I have to be even busier and see more people per hour to earn the same amount of money. There is a physical limit to what I can do in a day and still provide good medicine and good service. Maybe I can charge more for the medications? Maybe I can charge more for surgical treatments? But what about if that makes more people decline treatment? Wouldn’t it be better to not mark up lifelong medications so much so they can be more affordable after the diagnosis?

Locally most consult fees are around $60. I don’t think that’s too bad when all is said and done.

Where should I cut the cost to lower the vet fees and still pay myself an average wage? Should I lower my wage? Should I lower my nurses’ wages?

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This is my dog, Sami. Sami needs to be taken to the vet, but we don’t have any money due to me not having a job for two months, as I’m waiting for my seasonal job to start again. My mom, who is the main source of income in my family, has also taken a cut in hours across 3 of her 4 jobs. If anyone reading this could please reblog and/or donate to my PayPal ( alisha.greene1997@gmail.com ) I would be so grateful. Sami is 12 ½ years old and she is the only reason I smile on my hardest days. I cannot lose her right now. My family cannot lose her right now. She means everything to us. Any donation will help at this point and I will be offering some of my paintings or a custom painting to anyone who donates. Thank you in advance to those who donate and those who reblog. ❤

One of the best thing my parents–both of them!– did for my sister and me was teach us how to be ethical, compassionate, smart animal owners. My dad, who wanted to be a herpetologist and could have been a great one, taught us to be inquisitive and observant and learned about nature, and to respect the weird gross little guys, and my mom valued pets as human family at a time when that was rare. (Plus her woo woo stuff.) My mom was often, later, an irresponsible pet owner–as cat ladies get to be–because of circumstance and, you know, Her. But my sister and I are so committed to prioritizing the lives and comfort and stability of the pets, which is the oath you have to commit to if you want pets. (My sister who took out a car loan to adopt an abandoned fucked up pomeranian, lol. A type of responsibility.) Circumstances change but if you can’t take that seriously* you should not have them.

I believe it is becoming easier than ever to draw on community support to care for pets–and I have stroooong feelings about the ways that this is not true when it comes to human care.** Money should not ever be the thing that stops you from doing the right thing for your animals. Come to me if you need to, there are so many good resources to connect you. But pets really can be expensive, and I can’t stand the thought of care decisions being made for no reason other than money. (Sometimes the very expensive path is also the path with most suffering, though.)

*the bottom line for serious and ethical pet ownership:

1. Your pet is forever. The seriousness of this obligation changes between species (like, fish? rehome them, sure) and circumstances come up. It is okay. But if you get a pet you must be able to say “I intend to live with and care for this animal for the duration of its life,” and be educated about that expected lifespan. Part of this means educating yourself about area resources: fosters, rescues, fb groups, and no-kill shelters, in case you get sick, or there are issues with children, or you need financial support, etc. Abandoning a pet is never ok. Considering abandoning a pet means you probably aren’t in a good space to have pets.

Make a plan for your pet in case you die.

2. Sometimes you aren’t in the right space to have pets. Be real about it, this is somebody’s life.

3. BUT, as they say, there are no perfect parents. There are so many animals that need shelter, food, health maintenance and companionship. You are enough.

4. All bets are off with cats tbh, the sons of bitches choose you

5. People still put cats to sleep for peeing outside of the box. Without behavioral work, regardless of their level of pain or illness. You cannot end an animal’s life because it inconveniences you. (You should also not upend their life and rehome them for behavioral problems that can be addressed, when it is your responsibility to address them, to some extent.)

6. If you declaw a cat you are not fit to own ANY animals. It is gruesome, sometimes debilitating, abuse almost universally rejected by animal health specialists. (In the past you may not have known this, it was so normalized. Now you do.) If your vanity is that powerful–and even MINE is not–you cannot own a cat. Trim their damn nails, get them a scratching post, play with them more. Do not amputate parts of their body to protect your ugly microfiber couch.

7. If however you have adopted a cat who was declawed by someone else in the past, it is soooo funny when they “scratch” on the walls and it goes swish swish swish

8. It is not that difficult, but it is a dedication. If you have a support network–rescues are great for this–you will be a fine parent. Just REALLY love them.

9. Sorry but…don’t smoke indoors if you have pets, it is very bad for them :/ An emergency vet fund is a nice motivation to quit! :3

10. You gotta take them to the vet sometimes. You can’t never take them to the vet. There are resources. Vets are mostly not like doctors–they are in this for the animals.

11. ADOPT DON’T SHOP

**Having had to make an end of life decision both for my mother and my cat I can tell u for sure which was more Ethical and comfortable for the dying