Why vets are great

Vets are people who have devoted their lives to helping you and your pets.  They train initially for 5 to 7 years, continuing to train throughout their careers to keep their knowledge up to date.  Unfortunately there is no medicare or government subsidy for the care that is given by vets to pets and their owners. This often gives the public the thought that we, as vets are ripping people off.  This is simply not true! (the majority of time).. 

Let's look at an example:

Recently I needed an ultrasound on my finger, I got a referral from my doctor - which was bulk billed so I did not have to pay.  Once my ultrasound scan was finished, I was told I was welcome to just walk straight out, the report would be with my doctor within 3 days.  Now, with all of that, I did not pay a cent. The actual cost of a doctors appointments, an ultrasound, along with a specialist report on that ultrasound is actually very high, the government (our tax dollars) pay for this privilege so that we can get free or at least subsided medical care.   
     Doctors appointment cost: $70  
     Cost of ultrasound: $380 (they did not need to sedate me as I sat still for my scan - we cannot ask your dog to do this..) 
     Cost to see doctors for the report: $70 

   Total = $520 

     Cost to me = $0! 
As people, receiving medical care, we often do not see the true cost of that care - maintaining equipment, paying highly trained staff to operate that equipment, rent on the building itself,  just turning the lights on and opening the doors. 

When coming to the vet clinic, you see the true costs and are often surprised or taken back. If you actually compared human care with pet care, you would see the costs similar and or often are much less.

OK I have had my rant..  time to move on; 
As I mentioned earlier, majority of vets go above and beyond what is expected to provide love and health care for your pets.  They are there when you need them, they are happy to put down a sandwich, half way through lunch and come and talk to you about your dog.  We only want what is best for your dog. We may recommend tests, such as taking samples, running blood or urine tests - which cost money.  But we wouldn’t do something if there wasn’t a reason behind it.  If we recommend something and then say the cost - instead of asking why does it cost so much, maybe ask what will the results of that let us know and make an informed decision. 
As Vets we unfortunately only a limited time for each consultation.  If we took longer, we would have to charge more for our time.  So we compromise and try to go through everything we see as being the most important things within our 5 to 20 minute consultation.  We often only get time to go through what is the issue at the time. When it comes to routine care for your pet and how to try to prevent issues in the future - we simply do not have the time.   
Animals cannot tell us what is happening, where they are sore, or that they feel nauseous, etc, so we have to be good investigators.  Watching your vet examine your animal, especially when visiting for health check and vaccination, it may seem like we are simply saying hello and patting your dog for most of it.  But the opposite is true. Our examination starts from the moment we call you and your dog into our consulting room. 

We first observe your dogs response to a strange environment, for example if they are hiding behind your legs while you are seated.  We take note of how your dog gets up from a sit or from laying down and then watch how they walk into the consult room. 

Once in the consult room with the door closed, we are still watching your dog as they get acclimated to another strange environment.  We are looking at the general health of your dogs coat, we are using our sense of smell to detect skin or ear conditions. 
After going through several history questions, which may seem like a simple chit-chat to you, we start to touch your dog.  We all tend to start at the front and make our way back.  We may give your dog what looks like a scratch under the chin, but we are actually checking the lymph nodes which are indicators of illness.  Your dog, like you, has many lymph nodes (indicators of illness) throughout the body. We check 5 main areas, to someone without veterinary training, again it will seem like we are just giving your dog a friendly pat or rub.  We raise your dogs lips and check their teeth, also examining their gum colour - which can tell us if there is an issue with the heart, intestines or liver, hydration status and refill - which is an indicator of heart health. 
We then observe the nose, the conformation of the bones and muscles in the face, forehead and jaw. We lift both ears checking for any smells, excess discharge or inflammation (redness). We listen to the chest with our stethoscope, listening to how often your dog’s heart is beating, how loud the beat is, the sounds your dogs lungs make when the take a breath. You will often see while we are doing this we will also have a hand at the front of your dogs groin - here we are actually checking if every beat of the heart matches with the pulse in the lower body. This gives us an indicator of heart health and circulation.  

We observe how well the body is muscled, looking for any imbalance between each side of your dog. We are checking how the belly compares to the rest of the body, e.g. if the belly is wider that the back this can indicate many conditions. We feel deeper into your dogs belly and check for any obvious masses or organs that feel larger than normal. Please note in some larger or stocky dogs, feeling deeper tissues in the belly is limited. 

My opinion on the over-vaccination debate is that the benefits of vaccination far outweigh any risk.  If you are adverse to vaccination in general, please, please, please, get all (total of 3) of your puppies first vaccinations.  I have seen too many puppies die of parvovirus, and too many owners spend hundreds or even thousands trying to save their dog from parvovirus when it could have been easily prevented by getting 3 vaccines when the pup was younger.  If you choose not to vaccinate into adulthood - I strongly recommend you continue visit to visit the vet yearly.  Also chat to your vet about alternatives to yearly vaccinations - there are 3 year versions and also a titre test, that will check your dogs blood for response to the vaccine - this way you know when the vaccine is no longer effective and can give a booster.   
As stated above, we are highly trained and can pick up early indicators of disease in your dog. The earlier conditions are picked up, the easier it is for us to treat them or to prevent them from worsening and causing discomfort or illness in your dog. As you dog ages, more things tend to go wrong. It is for this reason, once your dog is considered a senior - over 8 for small breeds, over 5 for giant breeds, you and your dog should visit a vet twice yearly.  Your dogs needs will change as they age, just as yours will. 

Blood testing in older patients is a great way of us picking up conditions or illnesses before your dog starts to show signs to you or even to us in consult. With senior patients, I recommend 12 monthly blood testing, more often if there are any change those tests. 


Upon arrival, your pet will be assessed by one of our veterinarians. We will aim to provide an estimate of the costs involved with your case, however, please be aware that with emergency procedures costs can vary depending on what services and treatments are required. Our veterinarians will keep you updated regularly during the course of your pet's stay in hospital. In some cases we may need to refer to a veterinary specialist centre or 24-hour emergency facility.

Please contact us to discuss our after-hours arrangement, it’s always nice to know this information before you actually need it.

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