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12 Things Your Vet Does Not Want You To Know!

Updated on December 5, 2014

You love your pet, and you hope your vet cares about his or her health as much as you do. Most ethical vets and successful vets don't need to push unnecessary products and procedures, but others have a financial agenda that may not be in your pet's best interest.

Here are some tips and warning signs to help you make your vet dollars go farther, and to help you keep your pet in the best health possible.

#1 Vets See You Coming Before You Walk Through The Door

Many animal clinics and hospitals keep comprehensive records of temperament and behavior—of both your pet and you! A client whose behavior is aggressive or excessively emotional will be treated differently from the average client. And that’s not always a good thing. So even though issues with your pet's health can be emotionally charged; keep your cool.

#2 Recommended Vaccination Protocols Have Changed

Research over the last 15 years has shown that following the first year puppy booster shot, vaccinations need only be given once every three years. That’s bad news for many practices. Annual vaccinations are part of a recurring revenue model that brings patients in for an annual physical exam along with highly profitable vaccinations. These annual exams are also opportunities to up-sell the visit with recommendations for dental cleanings or prescription diet foods.

Worse yet, vaccines are not as safe as they were once regarded, and most vets are aware of this research. Rabies vaccinations are available in three year durations, so you can time your booster shots with the rabies booster. If your veterinary practice refuses to treat your pet unless it is “up-to-date” on its annual vaccinations, it’s time to find a new vet.

#3 Neutering Male Dogs Has No Appreciable Health Benefits

It seems that many vets want to put themselves out of business by spaying and neutering all pets at as early an age as possible. Some are even altering 6-8 week old kittens and puppies.

The fact is, intact male dogs live longer and are healthier than their neutered counterparts. For both male and female dogs, the earlier they are spayed or neutered, the greater the risks for contracting osteosarcoma, cardiac hemangiosarcoma, uninary tract cancer and prostate cancer as they age. All pets need to reach sexual maturity prior to being altered; animals need the hormones from the reproductive organs to properly develop male and female attributes, bone and other organs.

If you decide to spay or neuter your pet, wait at least until your pet is one year old before the procedure. If you decide to leave your male intact, don’t allow him to roam freely. Studies that indicate that intact males dog don’t live as long as neutered dogs, also determined that their lives were shorter due to being hit by cars (not due to disease) while on a Romeo roam.

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#4 Testing For Heartworms Annually Is Not Required

If your pet stays on heartworm preventative year round and is on an ivermectin based preventative, annual heartworm testing is not necessary. See why in the next section.

#5 Minor Heartworm Infestations Do Not Require Expensive Heartworm Treatments

Treatment of heartworm infestations can easily cost $3000.00. More than many families can afford to spend on even the most beloved pet.

If your dog is asymptomatic, and there is no coughing due to heartworms migrating into the lungs, your dog may be eligible to be treated with a normal course of ivermectin based preventative.

Ivermectin will not kill existing heartworms in an asymptomatic dog, but it will prevent new eggs from hatching. A dog with one to three heartworms will not get infested with more worms with monthly ivermectin preventative given, and the existing worms will die of old age over the course of a year, and be absorbed into the animals system.

#6 Most Vets Are Willing to Price Match Online Vet Retailers

Don’t be afraid to ask! If you are in need of heartworm or flea and tick preventatives, vets want that business. It’s a major profit center for them.

Before going to your vet, go online to a Pet-med retailer, and fill your shopping cart with the medicines you need for your pet. Then proceed towards checkout. Before purchasing the products, do a print screen and print out the shopping cart with the shipping costs included.

Ask your vet if he will be willing to match the online price; if so, present him with the online offer. If your vet won’t price match, you can ask him for a prescription and purchase the products online yourself. In most instances the vet will prefer to keep that transaction in house. It never hurts to ask.

Bouncing cats celebrating their good health
Bouncing cats celebrating their good health | Source

#7 Many Pet Medications Are Available in Human Generic Form

In fact, Walgreens posts a list of animal medicines that are available in human generic form that can be administered for pennies per day. If your pet has a chronic condition that requires ongoing medications, check with your vet and pharmacy about getting those prescriptions filled at the people pharmacy rather than at the vet. A good vet should be sympathetic to the cost concerns related to treating ongoing medical conditions.

#8 How to Make Sure Your Vet Is Current In Veterinary Technology

When shopping for a new vet or if you are curious about your existing vet, one simple question can tell you whether they are practicing 21st Century veterinary medicine. Ask what medications the practice uses for anesthesia. If he says he uses ketamine or halothane gas, that’s a bad sign. You want to hear that they are using isoflurane and sevoflurane since both of these medications are much safer.

Dog Sleeping on the Road
Dog Sleeping on the Road | Source

#9 The Real Reason Pet Euthanasia Increases in November and December of Each Year

Many pet owners decide that their pet’s needs are too burdensome as they prepare for the holidays. Convenience euthansias increase substantially every year in anticipation of the holidays. There are no regulations regarding thresholds that must be met in order to euthanize a pet, but ethical veterinarians will refuse to euthanize a pet without adequate evidence of its suffering or a substantially diminished quality of life.

How to Calm Your Dog in the Vet Waiting Room

#10 How to Know if Your Vet Puts Quality of Care Over $$$

One good clue is to look for practice that is proud of their staff. They will typically have a “Staff” page on their website. A vet that values quality technicians will likely have vet techs who are certified or licensed; you will want to see RVT, LVT or CVT after their names.

Having a staff page also indicates long-term stability in staffing, so you can count on getting the same high quality experience on all of your visits to that vet. Practices with high staff turnover suggest a root problem that could also be detrimental to the care of your pet.

Cat trees reduce unwanted behavior
Cat trees reduce unwanted behavior | Source

#11 Corporate Run Veterinary Chains Pay Their Vets Bonuses Based on Profitability

All veterinary medicine is a business at its core, however large corporations put extra pressures and incentives on their employees in a scale that most local practices don’t experience. While they may lure you in with a special promotion, you are likely to pay more for their services in the long run. Trust a locally owned vet practice to help you prioritize your pet’s veterinary needs and to give you the best deal on necessary services.

#12 The Number One Reason for Pet Euthanasia

Behavior issues are the number one cause for pet re-homing and pet euthanasia. For cats, scratching furniture, curtains and carpets can often be enough to get them re-homed. Before declawing or re-homing, invest in a cat tree to keep kitty off of your furniture. Place the cat tree near a window, and pepper it with catnip to bond your kitty to his new condo.

Dog owners experiencing aggression and fear aggression issues, often find that this behavior intensifies with age. Vets get very little training in behavior modification while in vet school, and as time goes by, most vets themselves have a very low tolerance for aggression in their patients.

If you are experiencing issues of aggression or incontinence/marking issues and there is no underlying medical condition, ask for a referral to a behavior expert with experience with your pet’s issue. It is best to explore every avenue and resource available before making such a heartbreaking decision.

Keep Romeo Home - Extra Large Pet Exercise Pens

Keep Romeo Home Extra Large Pet Exercise Pens
Keep Romeo Home Extra Large Pet Exercise Pens | Source

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    • profile image

      Rosaila magnolia 7 months ago

      Educate yourself befor you get manipulated in putting your pet to sleep because they feel you can't aford that crazy outrageous prices of lies

    • Health Reports profile image
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      James Wilson 2 years ago from North America

      Hi Marian:

      I am so sorry to hear about your kitty. It is always hateful to have to pay large medical bills when the animal did not benefit from the service, and even more outrageous when the vet is incompetent.

    • profile image

      Marian Powers 2 years ago

      Good information ! Especially about Veterinarian Chains . My cat's e collar was not properly fitted by Banfield Pet Hospital . This was devastating to his recovery . He suffered and had to be put to sleep . I am left with bill to Banfield and the ER I had to take him to because of there carelessness !!!

    • Health Reports profile image
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      James Wilson 2 years ago from North America

      Hi Peachpurple - This is mostly geared to the US vets. I can't speak for other countries, although 20 years ago my Dutch vet gave my cat a stroke cleaning her teething using old fashioned (even back then) anesthesia.

    • Health Reports profile image
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      James Wilson 2 years ago from North America

      Hi Alina - I think most people end up paying more for the insurance than it pays out, which is why they still sell it. Many insurance companies exclude preexisting conditions that are actually simply a propensity for the breed to develop a certain illness or injury. Your dog may not have had an issue before, but since it's typical of the breed, it is excluded. That is a total ripoff.

      You are smart to put money aside for a rainy vet day!

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      thanks for the tips, does this things apply to all pet vets around the world?

    • profile image

      Alina 2 years ago

      You do have to pay the bill to the vet. Then you get the money from the insurance. I was on hodliay when my dog dislocated her hip. My friend told the vet I was on hodliay, so the vet made my friend pay a a3100 before they would put her hip back in place. Luckily they had a credit card on them.They then had to pay the rest when they picked the dog up. I wasn't happy about it as I have been with the same vet for years. My insurance money then took a month to arrive!I now put money aside instead of having insurance. I have spent 1000 s of pounds on my dogs insurance have only ever had a claim of a3180. I could have paid that one myself! Was this answer helpful?

    • Health Reports profile image
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      James Wilson 3 years ago from North America

      Hi Moonlake: I think cats are happiest when they can go out to prowl, but know they have a safe place to sleep at night and in the winter.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 3 years ago from America

      Actually he was an outdoor cat, but he always stayed close to the house never went far and was in at night and never out in the winter. He just happen to have a long and happy life.

    • Health Reports profile image
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      James Wilson 3 years ago from North America

      Hi Jaye: I was exclusively a cat person until 10 years ago. Now I love them both. I do understand about kitties and their nasty bites; I tried to rescue some wild kittens and got mauled by one of them.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Thanks, but actually, that's my DOG's impending surgery. (I'm an avowed 'dog person' after growing up fending off the bites and scratches of my mother's cantankerous cats! Please don't take offense if you're a 'cat person.' Each to his or her own pet preference.)

      Jaye

    • Health Reports profile image
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      James Wilson 3 years ago from North America

      Hi Jaye: I hope everything goes well with your kitty's surgery. I'm glad she is in good hands!

    • Health Reports profile image
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      James Wilson 3 years ago from North America

      Hi Minnetonka Twin - Thanks for reading and for the share! Glad to hear you have a good vet you can trust.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Here I am again! I take my dog to a terrific vet clinic (All Creatures Animal Care Clinic--isn't that a wonderful name?) with great vets and staff.... I only wish I'd found that clinic when she was a pup. Unfortunately, I didn't know what to look for back then, a lack of info which caused her to get autoimmune disorder from a severe vaccine reaction (too many vaccines, administered incorrectly). She's had a lot of health challenges, but now has caring and competent vets who take good care of her. I have complete confidence in them and all the staff.

      In fact, one of the senior vets will perform surgery on her June 24 (using the isoflurane anesthesia), and she will be monitored carefully throughout the procedure and for two days and nights afterward. I'll be glad when it's over and she's fully recuperated, but at least I know she will be in good hands.

      Jaye

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 3 years ago from Minnesota

      Thank you for the great information regarding what to look for in your vet. I take my dogs to a local clinic and they do a great job. I'm sharing this informative hub, including on Pinterest.

    • Health Reports profile image
      Author

      James Wilson 3 years ago from North America

      Hi Vvitta: Thank you for dropping by and reading the hub. Yes, it is very frustrating to know something is wrong with your pet, but have no idea what the cause of their distress is. The best vets are the ones that take the time to listen to all of the clients description of the symptoms physical and behavioral. Sometimes little things give big clues into what is going on with the pet.

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      James Wilson 3 years ago from North America

      Hi Moonlake - thanks for reading the post. 21 is a great life span for a kitty! I am guessing she was an indoors cat?

    • Vvitta profile image

      Kalai 3 years ago from Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

      When it comes to pets most of us owners can get emotional and get angry easily. Our pets are not able to indicate their problem faced and most of us just feel so helpless. this leads to frustration and the tendency to lash out at others.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 3 years ago from America

      I agree with you on so much of this. I do not like getting all the shots for our pets. Rabies for sure, but not many of the rest. My daughter has always got every shot her cats needed and they all died very young. Our cats we only got rabie shots for them, they were inside cats and they lived for years. The oldest was 21.

      We just got a puppy and right away the vet was telling me we needed to send him to obeisance class and she handed me a card. Believe me he was very good when he had his exam. We didn't take him to a class, we couldn't have anyway.

      I hate going to the vet with the pets as much as I hate going to the doctor. Voted up.

    • profile image

      greeneyedblondie 3 years ago

      Yes, mostly. Because he was so old when it happened, every once in a while he will still hump people (if provoked) but other than that, the peeing on everything stopped and so did the chewing of my underwear.

    • Health Reports profile image
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      James Wilson 3 years ago from North America

      Hi Greeneyedblondie - that's a naughty dog! Did fixing him clear up the bad behavior?

    • profile image

      greeneyedblondie 3 years ago

      We HAD to "fix" my dog when we first got him. The rescue center we got him from said he was fixed but he wasn't (they couldn't tell????). He humped my sister and me, peed on all the furinature, and chewed holes in all my underwear right in between legs. So that HAD to happen.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 3 years ago from West By God

      Health Reports, It is from PetsAlive (look it up on the internet) and it is Pesp-K and Sinu-rite. It is expensive, but less expensive than a Vet visit and it works! I just had to keep her on it for like 2 months instead of the 2 weeks only. It can be fore dogs and cats. My daughter uses it on her beagle. They are tiny pills and I crush them in their food.

    • Solaras profile image

      Solaras 3 years ago

      Voted Up, interesting and useful! Thanks for sharing!

    • Health Reports profile image
      Author

      James Wilson 3 years ago from North America

      Hi Lady Guinevere - Thanks for dropping by. So sorry to hear about your kitties and their cancer. It is terrible to lose a family member like that. Good news that your kitty is responding the the sinus medicine. What medicine is she taking?

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Thanks for warning readers about chain veterinary clinics. Banfield Animal Hospital (in the U.S.) is the worst, and complaints against them are plentiful on the Internet because of their 'profitability only' mentality.

      Voted Up++

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 3 years ago from West By God

      No comments?! Well I will be the first one. My vet did do something that was extraordinary that really surprised us. We have had two cats that we had to put down in the last three years. Both of them had very, very rare diseases and cancers. One the of the oncologists that was sent a sample of the cancer my last cat had even said that he had never, ever seen a cancer in the cat's eybrows. Well we ended up putting the cat to sleep because those eyebrows were like buckets of blood and he was not getting any better. A few months later we got a letter from an animal cancer research center in another state letting us know that my vet paid $100.00 for the research of these very rare diseases. That went above and beyond what a vet would do.

      I also have had a cat since she was a kitten that has had a sinus problem all her life. They put her on all kinds of anti-biotics and drug and non of them helped. I searched the internet for a natural sinus and cold drug for dogs and cats and my daughter gave me the site. I did use the stuff but I used it straight through for about 2 months, not the normal 2 weeks. She is getting better, much better.

      There are lots of other things they do not tell you too and thank you for this wonderful hub. Voted up and will share......