Scary Advice To Pet Owners
A colleague of mine has a Google alert set for “pet hospice.” In case you aren’t familiar with Google alerts, basically you receive an e-mail every day of anything new on the Internet that contains the key word(s) you enter. So, she forwarded a blog that came to her from a Google alert on hospice.
The title is, “Five Proven Ways to Obtain Discount Veterinary Services.” Now, it’s scary enough from a business standpoint to know this information is out there in the general public, but let me mention some of the ways it discusses: shop for it, ask for it, work for it, trade for it, and plan for it.* I’ll give you just a taste of each:
1) Shop for it: For example, discounts are commonly offered to military personnel (active and retired), police officers, firefighters, multi-pet owners, senior citizens and students. In addition, many vets will slash fees for rescue organizations, kennels and people who foster pets.
2) Ask for it: For example, ask for a free heartworm test in exchange for purchasing a year supply of heartworm medication. You’ll be amazed at how many vets will jump at this “deal.” Here’s an insider tip: Most veterinary practices maintain pet charity funds that the doctors can use to forgive all or part of a client’s bill.
3) Work for it: For amazing veterinary discounts, consider working part-time or full-time at a veterinary clinic. Most hospitals and clinics offer price breaks to employees who have worked for the practice for a specified period of time, and those savings can be significant.
4) Trade for it: There are two ways to trade for discount veterinary services. The first is through bartering. If you have a particular skill that could prove useful to your veterinarian, talk to him/her and see if you can set up some type of bartering arrangement. A second way to trade for discount veterinary services is by volunteering at a veterinary practice.
5) Plan for it: Plan your pet’s elective health care procedures around discount veterinary initiatives promoted by national, state and local municipalities and organizations. In addition to these broad scale promotions, many counties and local municipalities hold periodic rabies drives, low-cost spay/neuter clinics and low-cost pet microchip clinics.
We are all familiar with most of these methods of seeking discounted veterinary services, although I don’t know that I’ve ever seen it put out there to the public in this manner. It’s a little bit disturbing because we work so hard to charge fair prices, but at the same time price our services so that we are able to run a well-staffed and modern veterinary practice. We struggle to reduce the amount of discounting done in our profession, and now this piece is teaching pet owners how to get more discounts!
But here’s the really disturbing part, found in the “Work for it” section: As an added bonus, working for a vet will sharpen your knowledge and skills when it comes to veterinary care.
You’ll learn how to assess a pet’s health status and learn techniques such as physical therapy, deep ear cleaning, giving injections, giving parenteral fluids, and other skills that you could conceivably apply to your own pet(s) at home. Not only that, for those with the entrepreneurial spirit, learning these new skills could very well open up a lucrative source of secondary income as a pet sitter or home hospice veterinary nurse.
There are so many things wrong with this statement! First of all, it crosses the line into territory belonging to the credentialed veterinary technician. It implies that pet owners can learn how to do some techniques that can be detrimental if done incorrectly. Plus, it encourages pet owners to learn just enough about veterinary medicine that they can become a home hospice veterinary nurse. One of the battles being fought right now is where to lay down the line as to who can provide hospice care; that it should be delivered by only qualified veterinary medical personnel. The hope is that the AVMA will set even more guidelines defining this aspect of hospice.
Needless to say, my colleague about hit the roof when she read this article. She’s thinking of removing her Google alert to avoid more spikes in her blood pressure.
*Excerpts from Pet-care.easyeblog.com