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£190 to look at two slides under a microscope

(27 Posts)
LaurieFairyCake Tue 08-Sep-09 14:31:03


It was 90 for the vet to lookn at them (sticking the needle in and looking at them took literally five minutes)

and he's not sure about them so is sending them off to a specialist for the other 100 quid

Yes I have insurance (with a 70 quid) excess but it's still ridiculous

seeker Tue 08-Sep-09 14:37:05

There's a good joke about this sort of thing - are you in the mood for jokes or is it a bad time?

bran Tue 08-Sep-09 14:40:40

Well, you could look at them yourself for free but could you interpret them without doing a vet science degree? It's the knowledge you're paying for.

Lovesdogsandcats Tue 08-Sep-09 14:49:21

what are they looking for?

LaurieFairyCake Tue 08-Sep-09 14:50:51

A joke would be fine. smile

Knowledge?!? Who gets paid 90 for five minutes of knowledge.

TBH I think it's because they know I have insurance, a couple of years ago a different vet looked at them for free (we were on holiday in Wales at the time and he said he had a quick look at them under a microscope and it was just fatty cells).

This unfortunately is my regular vets (south-east) and they do all sorts of unnecessary stuff if given the opportunity. They did an operation which cost £800 to repair the soft paddy thing that sticks out of a dogs elbow - the repair (and pad) fell off within the week causing no harm or loss to the dog - it could have fallen off for free with no intervention grin.

Lovesdogsandcats Tue 08-Sep-09 15:02:45

ah a fatty lump has been aspirated and vet is not sure if it is JUST a fatty lump?

CurlyQueen Tue 08-Sep-09 15:10:37

Is the joke about a plumber: 50p for turning a valve and £50 to know what valve to turn and how far to turn it?

seeker Tue 08-Sep-09 16:20:00

Person goes to the vet with a rabbit with a limp.

Vet "Well, I think it's just a pulled muscle, but I'll run some tests"

He opens a door and dog comes in, sniffs at the patient, barks and goes out again. The vet opens another door and a cat walks in, jumps onto the examination table, has a good look at the patient, then goes out again.

"As I thought" said the vet "A pulled muscle. I'll prescribe some pain killers and he'll be fine in a few days. Tha'll be 400 pounds please"

"WHAT? 400pound for a some painkillers???"

"Oh no, they're only 5 pounds. What you're paying for is the Lab report and the CAT scan"

NoahFence Tue 08-Sep-09 16:20:31

when theyknow oyuhave insurance....

LaurieFairyCake Tue 08-Sep-09 16:22:43

grin seeker

thanks for that.

beautifulgirls Tue 08-Sep-09 17:05:05

And a private doctor doing the same for a human would charge £????
Why oh why do so many people think the vets should do everything for virtually nothing? They earn FAR less than the average GP or dentist (contrary to what most people believe), but are expected to make life and death decisions with many people moaning about paying for it.
You are paying for the knowledge, the overheads of the practice including wages of all staff, the cost of buying a microscope and regular serviceing etc. It is not just a case of 5 minutes of time and a needle and syringe. The fact the vet is sending it off suggests they are not comfortable with what they have seen and feel a specialist opinion is now required to either give the all clear or advise further - sadly specialists are expensive.
If they come back clear will you be happy or more cross about the cost??

LaurieFairyCake Tue 08-Sep-09 17:19:23

I am not 'cross' about the cost - I think it's disproportionate to the time and expertise involved since another vet had a quick look a couple of years ago and charged nothing.

There is a whole lot of money between charging nothing and charging £190.

Fine beautiful if you think that they are not charging more because I have insurance - I do think they are charging more because of the insurance. We can agree to disagree on that.

The 'cost' of the slides which my insurance company will pay for has no bearing on how I will feel if my dog does or does not have cancer.

Bella27 Tue 08-Sep-09 19:58:59

Just want to back up Beautifulgirls here.

Not once did I see any suggestion from any of the vets I worked with that they would charge more given the client's circumstances or do more work because of the circumstances. I never saw them rubbing their hands with glee because Mrs X's dog needed oddles of work doing.

I did however see fees being reduced in cases of hardship, and a lot of time and effort being put in to find the best outcome for the animal.

lazydog Tue 08-Sep-09 22:32:44

I totally agree with your surprise at the cost, LaurieFairyCake. I know I'm no longer in the UK so may be out of touch with the cost of things over there, but here (Canada) yesterday our vet drove 22 miles (each way!) to examine our pony who has a slight cough, and to look at one of our miniature donkeys who had a lump in her ear.

He was on-site for over an hour, surgically removed the growth from within the donkey's ear, provided antibiotic cream for use when we change her dressing daily, listened to the pony's breathing, gave both of them general check-ups, examined our hay for mold/dust, advised us on temporary alternative bedding and food for the horse, and his total bill (including the extra fee required to get the lump lab-tested) was a grand total of $220, or around 125GBP

FairMidden Wed 09-Sep-09 00:02:33

While I can understand your surprise, Laurie, that such a seemingly straightforward procedure could cost this amount, and the discrepancy between this cost and the same procedure being performed at no cost elsewhere, I am with beautifulgirls on this one. Our own practice would charge significantly less for the same procedure but we are not skilled cytologists so the majority of our cytology cases would be referred direct to a pathologist (so saving some costs but adding some time to reaching a diagnosis).

Routine tests require facilities, equipment, consumables and expertise. Vets are notoriously bad businesspeople and frequently undercharge for their services in spite of the huge amounts of cash required to ensure they have the vital kit and personnel to be able to provide a good service. It sounds like your practice is run by someone with a bit more business sense than the average practitioner - unlike the other practice where they are performing tests for free and never recouping the cost of the microscope they spent thousands on, the vet who's done a cytology course at a cost of several hundred pounds, and the nurse's measly wage!

The argument is often raised that some vets overcharge in the case of insured animals. But on each insurance claim form there's a declaration section where the vet has to certify that the charges are the same as those routinely levied on uninsured animals. To inflate charges is fraudulent. But the whole point of insurance is to allow you, the owner, to have peace of mind and be able to afford "gold standard" treatment. So instead of vaguely saying "Well, it's probably just a fatty lump, we'll do nothing and see if it grows" and charging you £30 for the consultation, they can perform (more expensive) tests to get a precise diagnosis and then plan the best treatment accordingly. Isn't that what you want?

I firmly believe that routine tests and procedures should be charged for fairly but many clients fail to realise that this "bread and butter" work has to fund the provision of very advanced medical equipment (and skills) so that if your dog gets hurt or ill and needs the best care in an emergency, your vet is able to provide it. I think overall the service you describe is good and I am not exactly sure what the problem is, other than a fundamental lack of understanding of the costs involved with providing even a basic veterinary service.

legoprincess Wed 09-Sep-09 08:20:26

Well said, beautifulgirls and FairMidden. I have bitten my tongue lots of times on threads like this but I think maybe in future I will say what I really think!

ninedragons Wed 09-Sep-09 08:59:33

I agree with beautifulgirls and the others.

My DH is self-employed, has a specialist degree, speaks two relevant foreign languages fluently, has 14 years of experience, runs two offices and employs five staff.

I'm sick of having potential clients bitch and moan about his hourly rate and try to negotiate it down. It's not paying for the hour you spend face-to-face with him, it's paying for EVERYTHING behind him.

beautifulgirls Wed 09-Sep-09 14:28:51

Lazydog - I can only imagine that your vet has significantly cheaper overheads than vets over here as that fee is nothing like realistic to what you would pay here. Either that or your vet is going to be bankrupt soon!

Thanks for the other messages backing me up - as a profession the majority of us bend over backwards to help people and we are not money grabbing (see many threads under pets where various vets and vet nurses have happily advised with no personal gain made) yet the minute someone thinks that something costs a bit more than they expect, or isn't done "well" it seems that people are only to ready to suggest it all comes down to making pots of money and taking advantage. The long and short of it is that people want and expect a high standard of care for pets to be available, and in order to to that people have to be willing to pay the prices required to run clinics to that standard. What you see "happening" as a client is only a very small part of the story.

lazydog Wed 09-Sep-09 18:57:53

Beautifulgirls: I guess it must be the lower overheads thing. It's a rural practice without much in the way of high-tech facilites. He's an older guy who has been around for donkey's years ('scuse the pun), too, so he probably owns everything outright already...

He's certainly not about to go bankrupt, judging by the size property he owns, the European hols he and his family take and the new vehicles his family all drive around in, LOL!

lazydog Wed 09-Sep-09 18:59:38

doh! Should say "facilities"

LaurieFairyCake Thu 10-Sep-09 15:53:09

I thought I'd better come back and let you know what my insurance company said about the cost. They said it was overcharging and they would only pay £60 towards the cost of looking at the slides. I argued with them and the woman referred me to the supervisor who said that they had found vets commonly overcharging for histology and sending them away for a second opinion unnecessarily.

I then put forward that surely it would be cheaper for them to have a confirmed diagnosis of an agressive tumour rather than just paying for an operation.

They said no hmm. So the dog is now booked in for a £1200 operation next week fully covered by the insurance.

beautifulgirls Thu 10-Sep-09 21:15:43

Unless your insurance has some sort of exclusions or specified limitations in the small print of their policy I don't think that they are allowed to not pay for your veterinary fees in that way. Have they not spoken with your vet directly to get the opinion of the vet about this? Usually if an insurer has any quibble about whether they should or not cover something they will call the surgery and speak with the clinician in charge. They cant simply decide how much they want to pay out, it is nonsense - the suggestion from your post is that they have decided your vet didn't need to send them off, which is going against the clinical advice of a qualified veterinary surgeon with first hand knowledge of the case. Please bear in mind the majority of the people dealing with these claims are not qualified veterinary surgeons and do not understand half of the information they are given. Even a qualified vet working for the insurer however would still be in no position to judge what was or was not required in the clinical position - that is the point of a claims form being completed and signed by the attending vet, who also (as stated before by another poster) has to declare that the fees are the same as for all clients.

Presumably the results came back from the laboratory advising of an agressive tumour and that is why the vet has now booked the surgery that is required. I hope s/he does well and things turn out with good news in the longer term for you all.

LaurieFairyCake Fri 11-Sep-09 08:44:57

Nope they didn't send them off for a specialist to look at them. The vet thinks it's best to have the tumour off anyway.

There are limits in my policy and they will only pay £60 for histology as they 'have taken an average of charges'. The other exclusions are dental and £120 for blood tests for any one condition.

They never acually talk to the vet, they just send the claim form out and get her/him to fill it in, I sign it and send it back.

So right now I have no idea whether the tumour is that bad or not.

Obviously I think it's daft of them that they'll only pay £60 towards the £90 for the vet to look at the slide and nothing at all for a specialist to look at them.

I am worried about next week and whether he survives the anesthetic, the last cat I took to the vet didn't sad

beautifulgirls Fri 11-Sep-09 09:25:43

Who are you insured with - I have not come across this in practice. The insurer will call your vet if they need to - though most of the time this is not necessary. Have you asked your vet to ring your insurer to discuss this at all? Thre are other options before major surgery here including things like a small biopsy of the mass rather than major surgery. If the insurer still will not pay for that can you not afford to get the slides looked at yourself before you put the dog through the surgery? It may not be necessary to do all this??
Sounds to me like your insurer is the problem here, not your vet.

valhala Fri 11-Sep-09 13:07:17

I just hope that your dog is ok LaurieFairyCake and that the tumour is benign. That to me would be worth all the money in the world.

I can't say that I find the price disproportionate, but then the last bill which I discussed was a recent one (owed not by me thank god but the rescue I help at), for a FNA and MRI scan of a Rottie at a major specialists, which went over £2K before they even added the cost of his few days stay under observation. shock

I would be inclined to make further enquiries about the insurance company's right to act as they have and fight them on this. Perhaps your credit card company or similar offers legal advice free of charge over the phone as some do, and you could consult them?

Again, good luck and good health to your Boy.

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