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Vets. Are they all much of a muchness?

(63 Posts)
Sparklingbrook Tue 02-Feb-16 13:31:27

We use a chain vet that is located inside a large chain pet shop. Starting to get a bit disillusioned.
Sparklingcat goes every year for vaccinations and every year I come back and they say she's a bit overweight and it might be good to have a consultation about her diet. Then they say her teeth need a scale and polish and try and sell me stuff to go in her water and the special diet for her teeth. Just a vague feeling that they are on the upsell all the time.

My Mum has her cat with them and feels the same. There are a couple of independent vets I could use instead.

At the moment we pay £10 a month and that includes all monthly flea/worm treatment, vaccinations and very discounts on other things including teeth. I do like the long opening hours and the easy parking.

Cat due her vaccinations again this month and just wondering what will be said this time.

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 02-Feb-16 14:53:05

Mine do jabs, look in his mouth and weigh him. There's a bit of stethoscope action if he isn't whinging too much.

There's no pressure to do anything though.

All the staff are really good and they say thank you when you put money in their collection pots for the cat neutering they do abroad.

Sparklingbrook Tue 02-Feb-16 14:57:01

Mmmm. There does seem to be more faffing than that by ours. And mild lecturing.

I do feel a bit told off sometimes. I get her teeth done as and when but once she had them done in the September and by vacs in February they told me she needed them doing again.

That was with the stuff in the water and the recommended biscuits being used.

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 02-Feb-16 15:39:09

Some people have rubbish teeth, I wonder if some cats do too.

You could always add a tea spoon of water to her wet food to make less sticky on her teeth.

Sparklingbrook Tue 02-Feb-16 16:04:02

That's a good idea. She only eats Felix as Good as it looks I bet that's not the best for teeth. She has the dental crunchies, and we give her stuff to lick off her paw like meaty toothpaste. We do try.

But I think you might be right in that some cats are prone. She came to us 6 years ago and her teeth needed doing then.

Wolfiefan Tue 02-Feb-16 16:08:17

Our old cat always had pretty awful teeth. She was a rescue who had had a litter of kittens at 6momths old. I always wondered if that was why.
I think many vets do go for the hard sell a bit. Perhaps an independent won't have so many products to try and sell though.
Do you know any local pet owners you can ask?

CMOTDibbler Tue 02-Feb-16 16:24:40

We have two vets, and I massively prefer one practice to the other. Our one get on with whatever you have gone there for, no lecturing and no upsell

laflaca Tue 02-Feb-16 17:29:53

Our cat's vets are approved by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons as a tier 3 (the highest) level practice, and they are absolutely fantastic. We moved our cat to them from a careless moneygrabbing git of a vet with an unpleasant attitude.

The difference between the two practices is huge.

iloveeverykindofcat Tue 02-Feb-16 18:16:41

I definitely don't think vets (or human doctors) are much of a muchness - maybe when it comes to routine stuff, vaccinations, wellness exams, spay-neuter, etc, but not for the more complex stuff. When I was a child our family had an amazing vet - he was a widower who ran his own practice and pretty much lived there, it was his life. Not the easiest man to get on with but an amazing scientist and diagnostician - he definitely saved my mum's dog's life by recognizing a rare parasite in her when she was a puppy. He wasn't cheap, but he would often waive fees in ongoing cases. Sad to say I don't think there are many vets like him nowadays, largely due to monopolies and conglomeration of practices. When I rescued Bibi she had every virus and infection going - the vet I had then prescribed the right drugs to get rid of them, but never came up with a solution to manage her colitis. I'm a trained researcher (PhD not medicine, but I know how to interpret studies and track experiments) and in the end I had to figure it out for myself. I'm increasingly finding that to be the case with my own healthcare too. Our current vet is also part of the big in-store chain, and have been fine for jabs/checkups etc, but I don't know how I'd feel if something complex came out. My hairdresser has a shar pei (comes to work with her) and she's really dissatisfied with the vet's 'facelift' on her (don't know what the technical term is - they pin up the loose bit of the eyelid to prevent ingrown hairs). She says the vet made the skin too tight there and it causes problems.

Sparklingbrook Tue 02-Feb-16 18:21:47

Thanks for your replies. I might ask around. There are 2 practices in town (the one we use is further away).
Our previous cat had the need for a vet over a weekend about 3 times and the one she was with in town had normal opening hours it was very stressful. When we got our current cat I was attracted by the long and weekend opening hours of this one. All was fine to start with.

I think I am going to take her this time and see what happens. My worry is she is getting older and she may have more need to see a vet other than annually and if we get the hard sell every time it wouldn't be great. if they decide because she's older she needs this that and the other etc

Sparklingbrook Tue 02-Feb-16 18:26:14

ilove that's really interesting. That's the thing, when you have just been to the vets for boosters and the odd bite/abcess you don't know what they would be like in a real crisis or complex situation.

I do know they have no overnight facilities and the animals would be taken to another vets if they were to be kept in.

New series of Supervet tonight. I wish I could have Noel as her vet.

iloveeverykindofcat Tue 02-Feb-16 18:31:10

I think we're referring to the same chain btw - would there be a number in the name, by any chance? ;)

Sparklingbrook Tue 02-Feb-16 18:40:40

Not that one, I know the one you mean. This one has two words both beginning with C.

Vinorosso74 Tue 02-Feb-16 18:41:43

I don't think they are. Am not sure about the larger chains myself. They can afford to do deals but feel it's too much about profit.
Ours is one practise in a group of 3. I have liked the vets we've seen and never felt pressured into anything ad they always tell me the cost prior to tests and are honest if you ask. The vet we used to see was great especially when our cat was ill last year. Whenever I popped in for food he always came out the room (unless he was consulting) to ask about her, he called me to check on her when she was referred to a specialist and when she was staying in the cattery they have on site popped in several times to see her, was asking cattery staff if she was eating and texted me a couple of times with updates. He went above and beyond what he needed to but he's left! I think he got very involved in things. I do like the other vet and she has been very thorough too. However, I'm not sure about the owner but our cat has never seen him.
Vets we went to with our previous cat were mostly good but I felt one vet was a bit standoffish at times and another lovely recently qualified vet brought her cat in to be a blood donor for our cat before an operation. Again that was a small group of vets.
They all hope to make a profit but I think a lot of it is down to an individual vet's personality and the large groups may have more people at the top wanting to make money so perhaps more pressure on the vets and nurses to sell stuff.

randomsabreuse Tue 02-Feb-16 18:49:42

I'm married to a vet - vested interest and my major question would be who does the out of hours. If possible (sadly often not) I'd choose a vet practice which does its own rather than farming it out to VetsNow or whoever because these services are ££££ and likely to be miles away.

Sparklingbrook Tue 02-Feb-16 19:31:15

Think it might be VetsNow random but not too far away. Not ideal though and definitely £££s.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 02-Feb-16 19:32:18

Having a little chortle to myself sparkling and Ilove whilst one of your practices has a 4 in the name and the other is two words both beginning with c they are both in fact owned by the same parent company.
So RCVS accreditation regardless of tier is essentially a box ticking exercise to do with facilities.
I own an independent practice we are very specific about our aims of wanting to provide a high quality service in a friendly caring manner. We believe that part of this is running our own out of hours, yes we are not open all day Saturday and Sunday, but in the middle of the night or on Christmas Day you go some where you know to see a vet you have meet before who access to all your pets clinical records.

Sparklingbrook Tue 02-Feb-16 19:38:50

So how can I tell the difference between upselling and something the cat actually needs? I think that's a concern.

I know i will take her for her vacs and there is no way that I will leave without something being required. Expecting the teeth thing again. Feel nervous just thinking about it.

orangeyellowgreen Tue 02-Feb-16 19:57:33

Our vets are independent and I know they will try to treat our pets economically but out of hours we have to travel 18 miles to a referral practice which charges twice as much as our own vets.
Our cat makes sure it's a bank holiday at midnight when he urgently needs attention.

Sparklingbrook Tue 02-Feb-16 20:00:14

Our old cat used to like a Sunday afternoon for urgent treatment. sad

lljkk Tue 02-Feb-16 20:19:07

hmm... I pay £40 once every 14 months for jabs, + £6/month for flea+worms... So that's £112/yr as opposed to £120/yr OP pays. Nothing in it.

Cat2 tail degloved so I impulsively tried Vet2 to get it sorted. Vet2 was very pushy about the degloving (4-6mm, so could be borderline) but especially pushy about Cat2's teeth (neck lesions, a genetic autoimmune disease makes teeth fall out).

Vet1 always said that since Cat2 showed no signs of distress, the teeth are falling out rapidly which can't be prevented, there was no medical justification to surgically extract. Just keep eye on it.

Vet2 wasn't having any of that! Even after we politely declined teeth work, Vet2 phoned when Cat2 was mid-operation (for tail) to say it would be mere £100 extra to extract 2 teeth. Total "&*%£!! You" moment for me. And then Vet2 had trouble getting the stitches out of (seemed way too shortened) tail Hard to imagine I'll ever go back to Vet2.

Veterinari Tue 02-Feb-16 20:46:19

Unfortunately I think owners do have a big job when trying to evaluate quality advice and treatments. It's very easy to convince yourself that your pet is 'fine' unless you're experienced in evaluating pain in animals

lljkk the reason vet 2 was likely so pushy about your cats neck lesions is that they are known to be excruciatingly painful, with cats responding to the lesions even under anaesthesia, but cats rarely show behavioural signs of dental pain when conscious which makes their pain level difficult to accurately evaluate.

Dental disease is hugely under-treated in our pets and yet we know that's it is painful, and that chronic infection can also affect other organs

Sparklingbrook Tue 02-Feb-16 20:57:01

You should be able to take your cat to the vets for it's annual check up and vaccinations without feeling anxious.
I feel I have to brace myself and that's not right.

lljkk Tue 02-Feb-16 21:05:07

So you think Vet1 is incompetent, Veterinari & intervention is always best in all cases?

Veterinari Tue 02-Feb-16 21:40:39

No idea lljkk
I do know that the weight of evidence indicates thst these lesions are painful and that the extent and severity of that pain can usually only be determined under general anaesthesia, so the fact that vet2 phoned you during the GA to update you after obtaining the relevant clinical info under GA and recommended an appropriate course of treatment, rather than leave your cat with painful lesions that may result in future tooth fractures that could require a future (more expensive) anaesthetic, indicates to me that vet2 is demonstrating a good level of veterinary care.

Sadly your perception as the client is that vet2 is recommending unnecessary and expensive procedures, and that's completely understandable when you've been given conflicting information. It's very difficult as a client (or a patient in the NHS) to evaluate the advice you've been given. The Internet can be helpful
but it can also be a minefield.

I thing the main issue is effective communication, and that seems to be the issue with Sparkling's vet too.

You definitely shouldn't be feeling a sense of dread before visiting the vet. But equally vets have a duty to recommend treatments that ensure the health and welfare of their patients, and clients aren't always receptive to that. It's tricky.

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