Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Veterinarians are Salespeople - Be Aware

We've changed vets. To my disgust, I learned the hard way that veterinarians are salespeople, too.

The first vets we chose were chosen for convenience. A husband and wife veterinarian team's office is less than 2 miles from our house.

In the beginning, we always saw the husband and he was great. Our first appointment was made because we had found a 7 week old kitten, covered in fleas, with obvious eye infections, outside in the rain.

At that time we were still renting and pets were not allowed at that property, but we just couldn't let the little thing suffer out in the rain. We explained to the vet that we were not supposed to have animals, and we had very little money to spare on a kitten that we would probably have to get rid of (if the landlord demanded it).

That vet reduced his office fee and didn't charge us for one of the tests, and we were grateful. So, when we bought our own house and adopted a dog from the Humane Society we took our dog (and that once-ill cat) back to him for their health-care needs.

That was when we started seeing the wife in that team. She was entirely different from her husband. Where he had been happy to discuss the costs of high-end pet foods and their more affordable alternatives, dog shampoos and which worked fine while costing less, and flea treatments and over-the-counter alternatives, she pushed every line of every high-end product they sold.

Now, I'm not saying this woman shouldn't sell products that make them money. After all, every business is in the business of making a profit, but when this woman began pushing puppy shots every two weeks I started getting irritated.

I didn't have a problem with the first three shots. I understood that it was difficult to be sure that the immunization had "taken" and was not neutralized by immunity received from the mother. But on the third visit I asked if this or the next one would be the last and this vet proceeded to tell me that my puppy may need more than five puppy immunizations.

Now, that is rediculous. I knew from doing research on this issue that too many immunizations were worse than too few. And, the timing was equally important in determining whether the shots would "take" (every two weeks is too close together, but she insisted on that interval).

Combining this pushiness about giving shots indefinitely with the fact that this woman didn't even want to discuss cheaper alternatives for basic dog care (brushing dog's teeth rather than paying for a cleaning, etc), led me to believe that she was simply trying to make money and had no interest in the health of my pet.

So, we found another vet. This doc doesn't push his sales products on us and is willing to discuss cheaper alternatives for basic pet care.

If you want to stay in control of your money, do your own research. Don't take your vet's word for everything. Some of them are just as hooked into consumerism and greed as any other salesman you might encounter in a store or on TV.