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I'm put off by so much "up-selling" at vet's -

(25 Posts)
zavi00000 Fri 10-Aug-18 18:52:47

Anyone else experienced this?

I took my two dogs for annual check up and vacs at vet's.

Told the vet that I had noticed that when I took one of the dogs on a run (10K) that although she was fine on the run, that she was a bit stiff after we got home and getting up from a rest. The dog is 7 yrs old and she had her elbows dysplasia fixed surgically when she was 8 months old. Vet said "OK, let's do some X-rays then and we'll start her on some pain meds now". I was a bit unsure about this advice. The vet didn't take any further history before deciding that. She didn't even ask me, for instance, how often we ran 10K together or whether any other walks/runs caused her problems, or when I had first noticed this. Nothing.
Vet bills are expensive! I want to do the best for my dog but I don't want to pay out for "let's see what's happening" expensive and invasive investigations (i.e. X-rays) unless there is a clinical history that indicates this is reasonable course of action.
My other dog, who is a picture of health, was "up-sold" various tick/lungworm treatments.
I don't mind paying for investigations and treatments for which there is a solid, robust, clinical indication, but I cannot bear to take them to the vet with all this "up-selling" going on!
Anyone else experiencing this?

MsOliphant Fri 10-Aug-18 18:57:36

Yes, my toy poodle had a sore paw (she kept licking it, which obviously made it worse)

Vet wanted to do an x-ray to check for a bone infection hmm and wanted to use anaesthetic on my tiny placid poodle and keep her in overnight.

I bought some cream and a cone (grudgingly offered when I said no to the above) and made her wear a little sock. It cleared up.

Floralnomad Fri 10-Aug-18 18:59:55

I don’t think that’s upselling , you told the vet that the dog is sometimes stiff after a run which would indicate perhaps arthritic changes , particularly in view of its history of surgery and a dog that limps / is stiff is likely to be in pain so should have pain relief . I would imagine an x Ray is the first step to see what is going on . As for the lung worm / tick treatment thats personal preference and if you don’t wish to buy it just say no . We went for our annual jabs last week and didn’t get sold anything as I’m already sorted for fleas/ ticks / worms / lungworm , vet asked I told him what I give , end of conversation.

BiteyShark Fri 10-Aug-18 19:02:11

I don't get any upselling what so ever from my vets.

However, I am a bit confused about what you mean by upselling. My other dog, who is a picture of health, was "up-sold" various tick/lungworm treatments. Your dog can be the picture of health but unless you treat or do worm counts you don't know he hasn't got any and a lot of people, including myself, choose to treat so I don't necessarily view that as upselling more explaining that there is an option to treat/prevent.

As for the pain meds if your dog is stiff and finding it hard to get up then maybe they are in pain and can't pop a paracetamol like we can. Suggesting a short dose of painkillers and then investigating to see if there is anything more serious doesn't sound that bad to me but I prefer to investigate to know rather than wait and see.

zavi00000 Fri 10-Aug-18 19:03:28

Grrrr! That too seems totally over the top to me. Not just over the top but risky. Anaestheisia itself carries risk. Why subject a dog to that risk before less invasive options are carried out?

tabulahrasa Fri 10-Aug-18 19:14:48

“I want to do the best for my dog but I don't want to pay out for "let's see what's happening" expensive and invasive investigations (i.e. X-rays) unless there is a clinical history that indicates this is reasonable course of action.”

But she does have a clinical history that indicates that it’s a reasonable course of action. She’s got elbow dysplasia so arthritis is pretty much inevitable, you’ve told the vet she’s acting in a way that suggests there’s now arthritic changes going on, so the vet wants to see how bad that damage is.

zavi00000 Fri 10-Aug-18 19:16:49

My dog and I had only gone on one 10K run before. She is otherwise fine and tolerates 4 walks/swims a day of 30-60 mins. Up to 90 mins at weekends, but then only two walks per day. She is a black lab.
The vet wanted to do the x-ray before taking a proper history. She also told me to only walk the dog on the lead from now on!
I know from the surgeon - the "Supervet", Noel Fitzpatrick, who did her surgery, that further surgery wouldn't be feasible anyway, that any future symptoms would need be managed with anti-inflammatories. So why the vet advised on an x-ray, based on the flimsy history that she had taken from me is what makes me think she was just "up-selling".

MsOliphant Fri 10-Aug-18 19:19:10

Vets definitely do upsell. I've now changed vets because of it.

BiteyShark Fri 10-Aug-18 19:21:05

I think it's a difference of perspectives. I would rather a vet had hard evidence such as X-rays, scans, biopsies etc than just my say so because we all know dogs can mask symptoms especially pain. I see that as being vigilant just like I expect my gp to be with me.

AnotherOriginalUsername Fri 10-Aug-18 19:25:26

It's simple. Vets who charge less for their services (vaccines, consultation fees, neutering etc) will push additional products (flea, worm treatments etc) more.

I'd very much question the benefit to a dog with hip and elbow issues running 10k though.

zavi00000 Fri 10-Aug-18 19:27:55

Bitey - that's my part of my concern, that pet-owners will follow vet's advice "to be on the safe side", despite that advice not being based on robust clinical history.
I am a clinician (human) myself so I know the importance of taking a full history before prescribing any kind of intervention. Particularly any kind of intervention that involves risk, such as anaesthesia.
In my dog's case X-rays would not have yielded any useful information. My dog's condition requires symptom control. No more than that.

LaurieFairyCake Fri 10-Aug-18 19:33:35

This isn’t ‘up selling’ but it is a case of most expensive treatment being offered. My previous dog swallowed a stone. Vet offered surgery at just over £2400. I asked about an emetic (£20). Dog throws up stone in about 5 minutes. I have no idea why that wasn’t the first thing thought of confused

BiteyShark Fri 10-Aug-18 19:36:11

Is there any particular reason you stay with that vets then?

I have been in and out of the vets more times than I wish due to illnesses and accidents and I have never been sold anything I didn't want or need. I know they always try and keep costs down or start with the simplest and cheapest options if appropriate.

If I wasn't happy with my vets there are lots close by so I would just change. If you aren't happy the nice thing about paying for vet care is that you can easily change practices.

tabulahrasa Fri 10-Aug-18 19:36:31

“I am a clinician (human) myself so I know the importance of taking a full history before prescribing any kind of intervention.”

Animals can’t give a history and are really good at masking pain, so owner histories are hugely unreliable.

“In my dog's case X-rays would not have yielded any useful information.“

They’d have told the vet how advanced the damage to her elbows is, which affects how long managing the pain caused by it is likely to last.

But, if you don’t trust your vet... you should be looking for a new one tbh.

SerendipityFelix Fri 10-Aug-18 19:40:56

Yeah that’s not upselling, that’s offering appropriate investigation of a clinical concern. A 7yo with elbow dysplasia is going to develop arthritis, you’re reporting stiffness after exercise, X-rays are an appropriate investigation to suggest to assess the severity of joint disease. On the whole owners massively under report signs of pain so any reporting of pain should quite rightly be taken seriously.

Honestly vets can’t do right for doing wrong with some people. With the poodle paw example - if the dog did turn out to have osteomyelitis, deteriorated, worse case say loses the leg - then the owner would be questioning (rightly!) why early assessment under anaesthesia & X-rays aren’t offered so it could have been detected and treated at a salvageable stage.

Tick/lungworm prophylaxis, again, it’s just offering appropriate preventative healthcare. If your dog contracted lungworm and was gravely ill (it can kill, and usually affects otherwise healthy dogs), and you then found out a simple spot-on could have prevented it but you weren’t offered it at your dog’s health check, you wouldn’t be happy with that would you.

There’s no compulsion to do these things - you can decline, and ask for alternative (cheaper?) options. But please don’t criticise your vets for offering you best practice - their main interest is in your pet’s welfare. If they just wanted to make lots of money, there are much easier, much more effective places than the veterinary profession to do that.

AnotherOriginalUsername Fri 10-Aug-18 19:54:12

@LaurieFairyCake because if it comes back up but gets lodged in the oesophagus it'd be a lot worse than £2500

LaurieFairyCake Fri 10-Aug-18 20:00:19

Not that as they’d already done an ultrasound and it was a small stone.

The vet even said afterwards he had no idea why he hadn’t suggested it.

Floralnomad Fri 10-Aug-18 20:16:06

Totally agree with tab , if it were my dog and I wanted to know the state of its elbows I’d be requiring an X-ray , a dog cannot tell you how much pain it’s in . If you don’t trust your vet and their opinion then find a new vet

MrsMaisel Fri 10-Aug-18 20:34:32

Yep - how about being up-sold a pet 'health club' programme - for a monthly fee you get xyz, which sounds a lot like an insurance policy to me... except they're definitely not underwritten by any insurance company. Thanks for the leaflet... bin.

AnotherOriginalUsername Fri 10-Aug-18 20:40:49

@MrsMaisel they aren't insurance policies they're loyalty discount schemes where you make a saving on preventative healthcare. Pay X amount each month and get ABC in return for a significant saving - example my vets do a cat plan for £11.99 a month which includes 12 months flea treatment, 12 months worming, vaccines, a free vet check, 10% off treatment, 20% off lifelong drugs, fixed price dental work. The price for flea treatment for an average sized cat alone is £10 something a month.

No one is forcing you to take the scheme but you'd be pissed off if you weren't aware of the potential savings you could have I'd you weren't informed

BiteyShark Fri 10-Aug-18 20:41:17

Ours has a pet health club which includes all the worm/flea/tick treatments, vaccinations and check ups. It also means I get 15% off any treatments or products I buy through them.

Whilst I understand it won't suit everyone it does us. Bin the leaflet by all means but for others it can be worth it.

It isn't an insurance policy though but it does mean I get 15% more for my money which given I have had to claim several thousands of pounds worth of vet fees and I have only a 4K limit per year of insurance I am grateful actually that I get a discount as it doesn't take much to get near my limit.

User467 Fri 10-Aug-18 21:28:48

I don't think its unreasonable or up selling for a vet to suggest an X-ray on a dog of that age with that history. They obviously thought you were worried enough about it to mention it. It was a suggestion, not an insistence and surely you would just discuss it to agree best plan. Sounds a bit like fault finding. I once had to take my cat, who couldn't put any weight on her back leg, to the vet three times before they would take it seriously and X-ray only to discover she had a fracture. I'd have far rather had a thorough vet.

Not many people would complain about a doctor being potentially overly thorough, it would normally be the other way round, but then that's probably because it's not coming out of our pocket.

pigsDOfly Sat 11-Aug-18 15:23:59

Perhaps your vet feels that running a 7 year old dog with your dog's history is likely to cause problems that warrant thorough investigation and is therefore going with a solution to achieve that thorough investigation.

The dog will not sit there after a run and complain that she feels a bit stiff and dogs are masters at hiding pain.

You've told the vet you think the dog might be a bit stiff after a run and the only way the vet can see what's happening to the limb is by looking at it.

If the x-ray shows up deterioration then you know for sure your dog should not be doing long runs.

On the other hand, you're not obliged to take the vet's advice. I suppose it depends how concerned you are about the stiffness.

BathmatOfDoom Sat 11-Aug-18 15:36:58

Argh this is so frustrating! You've gone to the vet, told them about the stiffness (which =pain, by the way), she has a clear cut clinical history and is of a breed prone to joint issues, suggesting that osteoarthritis is virtually inevitable, and now you're moaning that the vet wants to investigate this.

More history from you is unlikely to change much. Normal dogs don't get stiff, so the vet already knows there's a problem. It's likely that they'll carry out a full examination on the day that they investigate this (if you let them) including gait assessment and proper manipulation (which can be painful so is often better carried out under sedation). Anesthetic risk is minimal or vets wouldn't do it, and for most x-rays sedation is ample. The potential benefits to your dog of having a painful problem diagnosed and treated appropriately are enormous. You're being tight I'm afraid.

madeyemoodysmum Sat 11-Aug-18 15:41:33

I'm. It sure the vet sees it as up selling but I agree vets are expensive and I always do the wait and see approach before rushing to them. Have 2 cats.

I use colloidal silver in ear issues and wounds and eye issues and it's always cleared up a treat.

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