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Having 2 vets, is this normal??

(15 Posts)
DizzyDummy Thu 02-Jun-11 12:47:19

Or is it 'frowned upon'? I have a great vet who I would like to take my animals to if, for example, they had hurt themselves but who is ridiculously expensive for drugs and prescriptions. I have gone to another vets for prescriptions now but don't know whether other people use various vets for different purposes?

Just10moreMinutes Thu 02-Jun-11 13:16:17

Not sure if it is "frowned upon" or not, but I am using different vets for different purposes.

My local vets are really lovely and ridiculously close to where I live (which is great as I don't drive). However, they seem very inexperienced and didn't handle some recent health issues particularly well. My dog walker suggested I got a second opinion from her vet (much, much further afield), which we did. He was absolutely fantastic and knew exactly what our pup had.

So, for the time being, I am planning to use my local vets for routine stuff (jabs etc) and in an emergency but go to the other vets for anything more serious or complicated. Once I pass my test, I'll switch over completely.

Oh, just thought I'd add, the second vet did ask for the first's details and i think they spoke. I felt a little awkward when I next went back to the first vets, but they never said anything.

alice15 Thu 02-Jun-11 16:09:22

Speaking as a vet, while I understand why owners do this, it can be very difficult for the vets concerned, and possibly detrimental to the animal, if you are constantly swapping back and forth. Just to change from one practice to another is completely fine, people do it all the time; but if you are regularly using two practices you can't expect the two surgeries to be constantly phoning each other to find out what's been happening, and you will need to take responsibility for making sure that both practices are fully aware of any ongoing treatments- for example, if you have a dog vaccinated at practice A but then take it to B with diarrhoea, the vets at B won't know that the dog is protected against diseases like parvovirus unless you tell them; they'll think it's not vaccinated and thus not be able to rule out parvo. I think that if you have an animal with a chronic health problem, it's even more difficult - if the animal is on long term medication for arthritis or heart disease from practice A, and you take it to B for something else, they might prescribe medication that could be dangerous when given alongside the first lot of drugs, because they won't know what's been given elsewhere. So if you plan to do this long-term, I would suggest keeping clear and careful records of medication and treatment yourself to make sure that any vet who sees your pet has a fair chance of knowing what they need to know to look after him/her properly. I once very nearly prescribed a drug to a dog which turned out to have been given an incompatible drug somewhere else previously. The owner only mentioned it by accident, and seemed quite surprised that I wanted to know at all!

mdoodledoo Thu 02-Jun-11 17:00:27

One of my dogs is on painkiller every day for arthritis and I've become comfortable asking my vet for a prescription so that I can buy it online - it works out loads cheaper - but it's something I use a fair bit of so I can buy it in multi-packs online.

If you did this you'd still be able to keep all the health records at one practice - just take advantage of cheaper online prescriptions.

NB: this approach was suggested by the specialist vet who operated on my dogs elbow joints (as referred by my main vet) so I figure it's entirely OK to do. My equine vet has also suggested cheaper ways of treating my horse for bits and bobs - with human or other farm animal equivalents that work out cheaper than the horse version. Maybe I've just lucked upon helpful vets but it's not something I've felt awkward about!

rogersmellyonthetelly Thu 02-Jun-11 17:27:04

I had 3 vets, one for the horse (specialist) one for the cat (very local) and one for the rabbits (specialist). I have found its considered bad form to use 2 different vets for the same animal though, as one time my horse cast a shoe and had a large nail sticking out of his frog so couldnt put his foot down, usual vet was out on an emergency foaling and would be several hours, we rang the vet used by another girl on the yard and they flat out refused to come out as we were under the care of another vet. I pulled the bloody nail out myself in the end, which was a big risk and could have resulted in heavy bleeding, and was rather angry that the other vet had put professional etiquette before the animals welfare.

Bast Thu 02-Jun-11 17:38:29

My vet take this piss wrt pricing and estimates, however, I'm certain my pets get the best care they can in relation to other vets in the area.
Still, after a bill of nigh on £150 for routine flea and worm treatments recently, (shortly followed by another £150 for 'the chop'), I'm considering your method, mdoodle!

Bast Thu 02-Jun-11 17:43:32

Roger, if my own vet couldn't facilitate an emergency, I'd be considering changing vets! If your horse is your vets patient, surely the responsibility lies with them to provide adequate emergency care, rather than with another vet?

rogersmellyonthetelly Thu 02-Jun-11 17:47:51

Bast - I know exactly what you mean! I was once quoted £130 per visit (2 visits for vaccs) for 5 rabbits for routine vaccinations. There was a £13 consultation fee on every single rabbit, at both visits (2 weeks apart) and then the cost of the jabs, and this was 8 years ago. I know they charge the consultation fee as they do a "health check" before vaccinating, but their idea of a health check was to look at their eyes, bum and briefly in the ears before jabbing them. They had 5 rabbits vaccinated in under 15 minutes, not bad going.

Bast Thu 02-Jun-11 17:50:00

5 rabbits in under 15 minutes. Easy money it seems! angry

clam Thu 02-Jun-11 17:55:43

Took my new puppy down to "register" at my local vet's this morning. Was horrified at the prices, coz my SIL's vet seems much more reasonable.

Scuttlebutter Thu 02-Jun-11 18:02:52

In defence of vets, I'd say I've never minded paying the consultation fee but charging it twice is really taking the piss. shock . Yes, they may be fairly quick, but ours asks lots of questions, and it's an opportunity for us to discuss anything as well. They CAN be quick because they are professionally trained to assess and examine - 99.99% of the time, that will be fine, but I want a good vet to be doing the exam when it's the 0.001% occasion when you need them to spot an issue early on. If you have multiple animals, why not discuss some sort of multi-animal discount for things like vaxes. I know someone who has around 16 elderly sighthounds and she does this with her vet.

And yes, of course you can get cheaper drugs on the net but not all websites are reliable. Secondly, they won't have the necessary overheads of a vet surgery, premises, vet nurses, etc. I reluctantly pay for our routine meds via the vet because if you take that small profit generating part of their business away, they will still need to cover costs and all that will happen is that the costs will come from other parts of the business. At the moment, our vet doesn't try to upsell crappy processed food at us - I'd like to keep it that way.

For every vet horror story on charging, I can also think of lots of occasions when dealing with rescue dogs, of vets either undercharging very considerably or "forgetting" to send invoices for work done. Many vets are also briliant at either heading off potential unnecessary PTS or diverting "at risk" dogs to reliable local rescues. While every profession has its greedy idiots, on balance I'd say they do a good job overall, and of course they don't set the price of drugs.

rogersmellyonthetelly Thu 02-Jun-11 18:27:03

I did ask about the multi animal discount but was told no. Funnily enough I took my custom elsewhere the following year and got my horse vet to do the bunnies at the same time as he did the horse. The bunnies got a much more thorough checkover and I only paid half the price. Did I mention I love my horse vet?

rogersmellyonthetelly Thu 02-Jun-11 18:30:48

oh, and the horse vet used to regularly forget to invoice me for stuff, especially if we offered chocolate biscuits and a cup of hot tea while he worked :-)

multitask Thu 02-Jun-11 23:30:56

When we had the horses we had two vets, one local vet for vacinations, worm counts, very minor ailments. We also had a specialist for lameness and unfortunately used them more than the vac vet!! For dogs however I use the one vet for the reasons given by Alice..

DizzyDummy Thu 02-Jun-11 23:43:23

Thanks for the responses, I have really been struggling with this one (ridiculously I feel guilty for moving vets) I know they have little control over drug prices but they flatly refused to give me a 3 monthly prescription, would only give me them monthly and would charge me the same amount for each and every of the 6 items I need whereas my new vet charges £15 for the first item then £7.50 for each further item (and this would be for 3 months). I just know that if I went back for other treatments, now they know I have been to another vet for prescriptions, they would probably refuse to treat the dogs.

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