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Fat cats

Why independent? Pets...

We had a lovely privately owned vets. We knew who we were talking to out of hours and costs were reasonable. Then they were bought by a corporate. I now have no out of hours as I refuse to use the one that serves our area after I rushed my St Bernard in with bloat. Bloat is deadly if not treated promptly. I rang and they said to get him here as quickly as possible. When we arrived they wouldn't even get him out the car without us paying a £500 deposit upfront despite him being in a condition that could be fatal. They kept him in for three days and operated immediately. They rang and said to come and get him. Hubby had to call on way home from working a 12-hour shift on a Bank Holiday Monday. They would not release the dog to come home without us paying over £4500. They literally held him to ransom. I won't go back now, so should I have an emergency out of hours I have no clue what I will do. It's all money first and last now.

I loved my vets until they were bought out. We were told things wouldn't change but they did. Prices went up for everything; out of hours was farmed out. It's awful. We have the vets we knew but nothing's the same. It's not personal anymore.

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I took our stable yard cat, aged 14 (who adopted us by moving into our hay barn, aged 10 when skeletal, wormy and covered with ticks) to vet with possible urinary blockage. I was asked to sign a page quoting "worst case scenario fees" before they would continue. When I queried the £387.86 for sedation if necessary to take bloods, the vet seemed surprised that I had raised an objection. After leaving us for a length of time to check with her colleagues she returned to apologise that the computer had added it up wrongly. The fact that the vet was unaware that that was an extortionate, let alone completely wrong, figure she was asking me to sign for shows how many of the vets who work for the huge corporates do not have a basic understanding of costs. A different surgery offered to euthanise the cat if we were not happy with the fees.

 

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Our Miniature Pinscher started with a cough and when they found out we had insurance she was admitted for one week. We ended up with a bill for £10,500 for what turned out to be a chest infection. This included £250 for a hand over fee from one department to another within the same vet building!

 

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It's not always that easy to find out if your local surgery is truly independent or not. Some, like Medivet surgeries, often have Medivet as part of their website name and Medivet as part of their surgery name; others, for example those owned by Independent Vetcare Ltd, have neither and you need to scroll to the bottom of their home page on their website to maybe find out.

At my cat's recent annual check-up. I went to my local independent vets where the vet removed a piece of plaque from Florence's teeth with his fingernail saying that had I gone to the nearby corporate I may have been charged £400 for her to be knocked out whilst her teeth were cleaned. I was a bit sceptical so when I got back home I rang this other vet. Sure enough, clearing a bit of plaque would be under anaesthetic and at a cost of just over £400. They hadn't even seen my cat. That obviously wasn't the important bit.

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