UK Veterinarians Versus USA Veterinarians

by Michael

Nice photo nice cat- by pantagrapher

Nice photo nice cat- by pantagrapher

I am frightened to take my cat to the veterinarian. Why? Possibly the only difference between the majority of British veterinarians and the American veterinarians is how they make the extra pound or buck, not whether they make it. It is just a question of style and method. But one thing for sure, there is little in the way of ethics in the money making formulas. You can go wider and think of dentistry as well. Dentist have become inordinately greedy in the UK. I'm talking about private dentists of course. But where are the NHS ones and how many decent NHS dentists are there? In fact most so called professions that used to be held in esteem are now reduced to commercial enterprises to be avoided if possible.

My colleagues and I have written a lot on declawing cats. In the USA, this is the de facto standard method for raising a sharp buck while completely disregarding the cat's welfare. Correction, while brutally assaulting the cat. What do they do in Great Britain? Well it's a bit more subtle as it would be. Of course is has to include doing unnecessary surgery or treatments but the treatments are not so obviously objectionable as declawing.

Take one example. You take your cat in for a vaccination. Most vets insist on yearly boosters as it gets you into the vets surgery where the sales talk can begin. And the veterinarian has a head start over the average salesman or women because your trust him don't you?! No, I don't! Vaccinations are important but they are not necessarily needed each year especially when the cat is old and lives mainly indoors. Vaccinations are about risk. Although relatively uncommon, vaccinations can cause cancer, which you may have heard about.

Anyway you have been indoctrinated into thinking that your cat must have a yearly booster vaccination and low and behold your trustworthy vet finds one or two little things that might need a bit of treatment when he does the obligatory health check1. And one thing leads to another and before you know where you are, you are facing one of those "vet's bills".

The worst of it is this. Your cat receives unnecessary treatment and so suffers unnecessarily. And to put a cat through that is against the vets oath, which is to to ensure the welfare of animals committed to the vet's care.

Lets keep this in balance. Not all vets in either Britain or the USA are greedy but there are a good number of them and the numbers are growing as the world gets greedier. It seems that there are more in the USA than anywhere else.

I just ask all people with cats to think about cat vaccinations. Don't stop going to the vet; just assess it carefully and wisely. And I would question your vet, which means going to the veterinarian armed with a bit of knowledge (yes I know a little knowledge is dangerous but in this instance it at least helps to raise question marks and queries). It's a bit like going to the garage to have the car fixed. If you know a bit about cat maintenance you can query and politely challenge assessments for work required and if the person comes back with a poor answer or attitude go somewhere else the next time. Vets are a bit like car dealers these days.

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1 Based on personal experience and confirmed by: Why I'm ashamed to be a vet -- Matthew Watkinson, a vet who 8 years after qualifying as a vet in the UK.

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UK Veterinarians Versus USA Veterinarians

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Mar 15, 2010 Why Vets Don't Work for Free
by: Anonymous

I am a veterinary technician who has worked in vet hospitals for years. While there is some truth to the belief that certain vets like to make more money than others, I can assure you that the majority have the best interests of the animal at heart. Never is a procedure "unnecessary" in a vet's eyes. There was a comment here about a blood test that cost $300. The poster thought the test was worthless because it was negative. To clarify things, that test was not completely worthless just because nothing showed up on it. It was an important indication of the pet's general condition. The first thing most vets will turn to when they don't see any obvious signs of disease is often bloodwork, because that's the most common indicator that there is a problem, and if the values are off, there is usually a list of possible explanations as to why. The thing most people don't seem willing to accept or even understand is that vets are not mind readers. Unlike in human medical practices, vets cannot ask there patients where it hurts or what's happening to them. They have to rely on the owners to give them feedback as to the animal's condition and then do their own physical and chemical assessments to lead them to a possible conclusion. I'm sorry this doctor was unable to officially diagnose this person's cat, but I bet the vet was probably even sorrier. Most vets understand that people are unprepared for the expenses incurred by their pets. Most are also willing to work with clients to reach satisfactory agreements so that pets can get the care they need while the hospital can continue to operate. If all vets constantly treated their patients for free, they wouldn't be able to afford to stay in business. The vet isn't greedy because he dares to charge money for his services. Would you ever expect your own doctor to give you a discount or treat you for free just because you're a "good client" who's had the same doctor your whole life? Vets need to cover their costs, too. And no matter how expensive it is, veterinary care pales in comparison to human health care bills. No one thinks about that though, because they never actually see the entire bill at their own doctor's office, they only see the copay. Just try to keep that in mind the next time you see your vet.

Dec 12, 2009 To Kathy
by: Ruth

Hi Kathy,yes it's a good saying that ! ha ha
I'm glad Shadow has you to keep a look out for his welfare.Yes it's too easy nowadays to rush off to the vets,traumatise the cat,and pay out a fortune when the trouble could be something that would blow over in a day or so.
The golden rule is that if a cat stops eating you should be worried, more than 2 days not eating is urgent.
I think half the trouble with vets now, as well as wanting to make a lot of money, is the fear of being sued if anything goes wrong as so many people are on that bandwagon nowadays.They cover themselves even for the most minor procedure by having consent forms signed.More paper work, more expense.
It's not just vets greedy for money I don't think,but many more people in all professions too.
It's sad that the world is going so corrupt.

Dec 12, 2009 Comercial vets
by: Ruth

You are so right Michael, in days gone by we didn't have stacks of stuff everywhere in the vets surgery, on display for sale. The reception office was just that with desk, chair and telephone,yes I did stints there too as we had to learn every single part of the job those days.The waiting room was just that, with chairs and maybe a few information leaflets on a table.The vets rooms themselves had an examination table, a hand basin, a fridge for vaccines, and cupboards in which the drugs were kept.
Now you walk into a vets, it's usually an open area reception and waiting room combined, and every available place stacked with tinned pet health food and biscuits, and accessories for pets.
Our vets even has a 'gift shop' bit, selling animal ornaments, writing sets,etc and a huge choice of pet toys.Goods that pet shops used to sell in fact.
Vets surgeries now do seem more of a money making business than anything else !

Dec 11, 2009 love that quote
by: kathy

I love that quote, Ruth, If it aint broke dont fix it, I use it all the time, My sons cat shadow just got sick again. We paid 300.00 for blood work last month and and 64 dollars in just plain old vet costs. he had a lump in his throat and my son was freaking out thinking it was a tumor. I checked and I beleive it was a swollen lumph node that probaly got hurt when he was playing with the other cat. Being that we are both broke right now, me from moving, him just from his monthly bills, we decided against taking him to the vet for a couple of days and keep him under observation. We still had some amoxy from 3 weeks ago when he became ill and was never actually diagnosed with anything after that expensive vet bill. I decided we'd give him some more of it, even though it said to discard after 14 days. Well its getting smaller. I dont know if it is because of the antibiotic or just getting better. Im glad we didnt take him to the vet because we really are broke right now and I like to keep some money in the bank in case my own cats get sick. We just purchased a very expensive Savannah kitten. I love Shadow no less and would do anything for him since he is not a real well liked cat by my son. Shadow loves me and comes running when he sees me. He had a rough time when his original family gave him up. He didnt adjust very well and it took him a long time to warm up to any of us. Now I have moved and Im sure hes not getting any attention. My sons other cat likes him though and they are company for each other since my son doesnt spend too much time at home. I love him and am glad we didnt move too far away, two houses down. Vets truly are out for the money. Im sure Shadow didnt need those 300 worth of blood tests since nothing came up in them. What the vet even checked for we really dont even know. He never acually gave us any results just told us everything was fine and negative. I hate to self diagnose, I too worked for a vet and that was the vet we took Shadow to who charged us the 300.00. I trust him and I know hes a good vet, but the bill was out ragous. Well Shadow is still alive and Im grateful for that, He said it probaly was an upper respitory infection, maybe?

Dec 11, 2009 Valuable
by: Michael

Your commentary is very valuable having worked first hand.

I feel that in the past, say 20 - 30 years ago vets were well respected and less commercial. The first priority was the cat's welfare and a decent living came second.

The balance has shifted to a concern first for financial profit and whether that can fit into the cat's welfare (coming second sometimes).

This is played out in many professions as the world has become more competitive.

It can only get worse unless regulation is tightened.

Of course people have different experiences and views and I respect those.

And perhaps training is becoming less practical or in depth. In the UK there is a general dumbing down in education also for financial reasons as the colleges need to recruit more students to get the government grants.

Dec 11, 2009 Vets
by: Ruth aka Kattaddorra

I worked for vets from being 18 years old,they were mature gentlemen and I trusted them.
Later in my career I worked with another trusty vet but also with many young vets too he employed, just starting out after training and it was frightening sometimes how little new vets really know.They had the book learning but not much hands on experience !Most put the animals before making money but I would only trust certain ones with our own precious pets.
Now I'm long retired and after losing one of our much loved cats,possibly through not being refered to a specialist sooner,we changed practices.
I don't feel I can trust any vet now although most of them I'm sure, are genuine, but at the first check up and vaccination booster with the head vet at the new practice he quoted £150 each cat for teeth cleaning.We didn't think the cats needed this but every time we see certain vets,it doesn't matter what for, they try to sell this !They send vaccination booster reminders and discount off blood tests, every year. We do have the vaccination boosters but are we doing right ? I don't know ! Our boyz had their original course as kittens and once a year since, they are now 8.
When I first started out nursing the rule was 'If it aint broke, don't fix it' and I do think pets are put through many unneccessary procedures nowadays,causing them traumas and costing owners money !

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