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New to this vet's lark! Are they just on the make?

(20 Posts)
Mingeathulu Tue 20-Nov-12 09:29:45

Two new kittens last month - Apollo and Artemis, two lovely moggy black kittens, and already very much part of the family. Now, we have got insurance for them, however, it's not come into effect yet. Last week, somehow (god knows how, no-one actually saw it,) while they were playing together, Apollo dislocated his back right leg.
On hearing the yelp and seeing him dragging his poor wee leg behind him, I immediately booked an appointment and took him straight down to be seen.
One anaesthetic, some painkillers, an x-ray, a bandage and an overnight stay later, we're £300 poorer.
Not only did we shock at the cost of it, (£100 for an anaesthetic - REALLY?)
but we were then told he would need 3 weeks cage rest (but of course we can hire the cage - for £15 + £45 deposit) and we would need to come back every week to get his bandage changed - no mention of THAT cost!
Seriously, this thing's going to end up costing us a good £500 at this rate - and we just cannot afford it.
There's also the factor that (understandably) Apollo is going bonkers in his cage. He seems to understand why, and is very sensible about not leaping around when we let him out to clean his cage, litter tray and food bowl, but when he goes back in he climbs the sides, falls down, and usually straight into his water bowl! We've put him in DD's room, as it's the quietest room in the house, but of course, she didn't get any sleep last night with him meowing. (She's been at her dad's since it happened.)
DH says "well, if he was in the wild, he'd just have to get on with it" but I'm of the opinion that the vet is probably trying to let him heal properly so he doesn't get problems later on. BUT, we have had different stories from them - one said it was dislocated, another said it was a growth plate fracture, one said to keep him in the cage for 3 weeks, a nurse said a week, and the second vet wants to repeat the x-ray after 3 weeks!! HELP!!!! What should we do?

cozietoesie Tue 20-Nov-12 09:36:17

Actually - if he was in the wild, he'd almost certainly be dead.

A GA (which is what you're talking about) isn't just a jab. It's a full scale operation with attendant vet assistant(s), fluid replacement and recovery with intensive care where needed. Obviously vet costs will vary depending on their location and their operating costs but that doesn't sound OTT to me. (Others may have different views.)

I can't comment on the different diagnoses other than to ask why you have so many people inputting? Haven't you got just one attending?

cozietoesie Tue 20-Nov-12 09:38:47

PS - I've known plenty of rich doctors and rich dentists but I've never known a rich vet! (Maybe I just have too limited a circle of acquaintance.)

Ginshizz Tue 20-Nov-12 09:46:23

OP you might be able to get some help with the costs - does your vet work with the Blue Cross at all?

I'm afraid I thought the costs sounded quite reasonable! Our dog broke his leg when he was a puppy and needed x-rays, anaesthetics and his bandage changed every week and it cost us over £5,000 but fortunately he was covered by insurance.

We had to crate him too and it was heartbreaking but it meant his bone healed quickly and properly. I don't know about dislocations and whether it is as essential to immobilise them.

confused about the different diagnoses ... Not sure what's going on there. Have you seen the X-rays yourself?

Ponyphysio Tue 20-Nov-12 09:49:04

Can't comment on diagnosis but you could post on free cycle for a cage which would save a few quid x

Lougle Tue 20-Nov-12 09:50:46

Well I guess it wouldn't help to ask why the insurance hasn't kicked in yet if you have had them a month?

Mingeathulu Tue 20-Nov-12 09:57:39

Nope, haven't seen the x-rays. They didn't make it sound like an operation, more like, well, he has to have an x-ray, so we have to give him an anaesthetic. I think the vet that saw him first went on holiday at the end of that day, which is why he was seen by someone else the following morning. But I'd spoken to Vet 1 on the phone (the one who said 'dislocated tarsus' - or something) and then Vet 2 said 'Growth plate fracture' in the morning. I'm not as shock about the fees as DH was, but it does seem a bit strange that Apollo is trying to walk around on his bad leg. He's obviously struggling as the bandage makes his leg straight and therefore much longer than it usually is, but he just looks like he wants to get back to normal. We feel so cruel keeping him in a cage, separated from us all, (including Artemis,) and I also wonder if it's not going to damage their bonding?

Mingeathulu Tue 20-Nov-12 09:59:31

Lougle I think you can't claim for anything within the first 30 days, and we didn't get it the absolute first day we had them, around the 21st Oct, and this happened on 15th Nov. Sod's law, really! smile

cozietoesie Tue 20-Nov-12 10:04:27

They'll do their darndest to act normal - in their instinct - so if he's not in too much pain and the leg will bear weight or doesn't get in the way, he'll be on the move. That's why some cage rest has been recommended: to restrict him while healing is going on. (Whatever is actually wrong.)

I don't think it should affect the bonding at all. Artemis will be able to see and smell him etc.

Sod's law on the insurance is right. You'll doubtless now pay up for the next 10 years without incident!

Lougle Tue 20-Nov-12 10:13:36

30 days is harsh. Petplan is 14 days for illness and immediate cover for injury.

lljkk Tue 20-Nov-12 10:35:41

Pets are expensive, sorry.

If you are truly skint PDSA might be able to help with costs.

Mingeathulu Tue 20-Nov-12 10:36:19

Oh, ok, thanks. I guess they'll charge us for each appointment to change the bandage, won't they? Both for the appointment and for the bandage changing!

Mingeathulu Tue 20-Nov-12 10:37:03

No, we're not truly truly skint - it's just money we can't really afford to spend with Christmas and moving coming up. sad

ratbagcatbag Tue 20-Nov-12 10:47:38

Double check your policy. I took home two rabbits and they had a fight within hours, insurance paid in full for injury. smile

cozietoesie Tue 20-Nov-12 10:55:39

I guess they will charge you. I have to say, though, that I wouldn't like to have to run the financial side of a vet's practice. Many times, I've sat in waiting areas thinking about how much it costs to run them, given there's no National Health Service for Pets.

Business Rates, building repairs and maintenance, energy, staff costs (including receptionists and assistants), telecomms, internet and postage, insurance, accountants fees, dead pharmaceutical stock, written off bills, new and replacement equipment, new building needs, capital defrayal for premises purchase/rent, cleaning materials, and so on and so on and so on.

I suspect that for many vets, given that most animal treatment is elective, it's a constant tussle between making ends meet while keeping prices low enough that people will actually use them. I wouldn't like to be a practice manager, I tell you.

So yes - as lljkk said, animals are expensive but it's something that I took into account when I got my second cat (the first one, the parents paid for as it was a present and I was only young). I've just been lucky that none of them have been eye-wateringly expensive to treat but if they were - well so be it. I'm even one of those people that buy meds from the vet rather than going on the internet. If they make a few quid out of them ... well. I know I've bought genuine meds and overall, they've always charged me fairly I think.

You've been real unfortunate though. Better luck for the rest of their lives, eh?

LetThereBeCupcakes Tue 20-Nov-12 10:58:45

Poor kitten - hope he heals OK!

I'm afraid I agree costs seem reasonable. However, when our dog had an ear infection and needed a GA to clean them, the initial bill covered the follow-up appointments too, so there's always a chance you won't have to pay for more bandaging. A long-shot really but you never know.

Is it worth explaining to your vet and see if they'll let you pay in installments? Like others have said double check the policy in case injury is covered immediately.

Mingeathulu Tue 20-Nov-12 15:27:04

cozie - I agree with you, but DH is the one paying for it! Although, our particular vets has two secondary branches in town so it can't be doing that badly! And yes, it is just unlucky, but now they're insured we shouldn't have it happen again!
Apollo seems to be doing fine today - purring away when I went to clean out his cage. I shall double check the policy - it was more the long 2 1/2 weeks we have ahead of us of the poor thing being in a cage I was worried about - perhaps I didn't get that across too well! smile

cozietoesie Tue 20-Nov-12 16:23:11

No - that came across. And I'm glad he's settling a bit and purring. The long cage rest will pass before you know it.


PS - Yes, absolutely fine check the policy just in case.

Feathersandbows Tue 20-Nov-12 22:15:11

OP just a thought, where are you? I am in SE London and have a cat carrier crate thing you can borrow if you want?

tabulahrasa Wed 21-Nov-12 09:44:53

My vet doesn't charge extra for things like dressing changes or for seeing the nurse rather than the vet - so that might not be an extra cost.

The costs themselves don't sound expensive to me, except for the cage hire - tbh I think you could buy one for less than that.

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