My Veterinarian

I don't even know who my veterinarian is anymore. I have been going to the same vet practice for many years. I will not name them here.  About 10 years ago, the owner scaled back her time and hired a bunch of what I would call "traveling vets".  That means that each time I took one of my animals to the vet, I saw a new doctor that did not know anything about my pet.  Worse, when my beloved Greta fell ill with what was serially diagnosed as a bladder infection, I finally said, "it must be something else, because this is the 3rd time in a row that her symptoms came back."  Finally they tried to culture a sample, and I received the news that it could not be cultured and it was likely cancer.  In the meantime, she was in alot of pain, and I had to deal with one of the worst professionals ever in terms of lack of knowledge and lack of interpersonal skills.

At that time of the diagnoses, the practice was sold and the new doctors came in.  I liked them well enough, except one of them had the annoying habit of carrying a flea comb in his pocket and using it every time an animal came in. It was clear  to me that these vets were fully focused on maximizing the value of each ticket.  I truly lost confidence in any 'advice' because I felt that it was merely my ticket P&L augmentation. 

Within this past year, about 7 years after their purchasing the practice, they sold it to VCA.  They have both retired.  In the meantime, they had hired several vets, but it still seemed to be a carousel, but at least there was one vet there that had seen my animals and who I liked.

I go back to the vet last week to take my cat, Minnah.  Every last vet is gone, and now there are new vets.  In talking with my neighbor, he had to take his little Maltese in for some dental cleaning.  A normal $200-300 procedure suddenly ballooned into $700.  Fortunately, he had an estimate beforehand and declined the services.

The vet who had originally sold the practice,  recently opened a practice down the road. Naturally, given that she started this issue way back when makes me question whether I trust it to happen again. It is very unsettling to see different faces EACH time I go to the vet.  Further, it is disturbing to question the advice of the vet, and feel that each visit is a chance for the practice to suck at the teat of a sick pet's cost of care and a concerned pet owner. 

As a business person, I certainly understand what is happening--consolidation of practices, standardization of care and augmentation of revenues.  I believe that these actions on the part of the 'big business' intervention are at the expense of the trust that used to be central to the relationship of pet owners and their veterinarians. I realize that I'm generalizing my specific experience, which is a bit unfair. 



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