Do you trust your vet?

June 18, 2012

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I think it is very important for a veterinarian to be able to forge great relationships with their clients. Personally, I feel very privileged to have so many regular clients that value my judgement and entrust me with their pet’s wellbeing. However, I do appreciate that not all clients will appeal to the way I practice. In similar effect, I find that I get along with certain clients more than others. That being said, it is essential that a vet and client don’t ever allow their differences to get in the way of the patient’s health. Ultimately, we all seek the same outcome: a healthy pet, free from any pain or suffering.

 This brings me to the hot topic of complaints received from clients.

I think one of the hardest complaints I can ever digest is being accused of ‘over-servicing’.

I hope this post helps bridge the gap of mis-communication between veterinarians and clients. I simply don’t understand the term over-servicing when it comes to what I offer.

Such complaints leave me feeling quite perplexed like ‘Megsey’ below.

MEgseys manipulative expression

In my consultations, I do my best to be very thorough. I examine the patient head to toe, get as much history as possible and offer an array of recommendations relevant to each case. If I get booked a consult to examine a lump on a dog, I don’t just focus on the lump in question.

I don’t take any shortcuts and always try and conduct a full examination.

This includes a fine needle aspirate of the lump examined under the microscope and complete physical examination. I also discuss diet and so much more. However, when I am running really behind in my consultations, I find myself having to focus on the issue in question and trying to address it appropriately. If I also discovered multiple health issues in your pet, I then recommend booking you in for another consultation to tackle all these unexpected issues in more details.

Furthermore, if I’m booked a geriatric patient, I always recommend performing a blood test even if their physical examination was normal. There is no way I can be 100% sure that the inner workings of your pets are sound purely based on my physical examination. Almost 50% of the geriatric profiles I run, I find abnormalities. Diagnosing issues early on for my geriatrics can be very helpful in their long term management.

For example, ‘Ralph’ came in for a routine health check and I recommended running a blood test as he was greater than 8 years of age. His blood results revealed elevated liver enzymes. We are currently working him up for a suspect underlying Cushing’s condition and we may have caught it in the very early stages.

As with any disease, early treatment gives for a better prognosis.

Ralph impatiently waiting for his liver treat.

Ralph getting his lips ready for his treats

Basically, I can definitely be accused of overloading my clients with a wealth of information. Nowadays, I find that people lead very hectic life styles and bringing their pet to the veterinarian is only limited to a serious ailment or an annual vaccination booster or health check. Hence, I seize this opportunity to give their pet a full physical examination, check up on their diet, training and any other health issues. I discuss dental health, skin health, arthritis and range of issues.I simply can’t help myself; I just want to give my clients all the best options for their pet to be in elite health!

Obviously some clients perceive my thoroughness as an attempt to squeeze them for more money. They feel that my intentions are not genuine and all my recommendations are ‘unnecessary’ and fuelled with greed.

To those people, I say you have got me all wrong; if I wanted to make money, I would not be working as a veterinarian.

The veterinary industry is far from a lucrative business. The average veterinarian is severely underpaid and overworked. If only you knew how many hours I work/week excluding afterhours and my weekly earnings!

To make matters even more frustrating, veterinarians are often trained to think that an over-servicing complaint often indicates that we have failed in our communication with the client as they were not prepared for that cost. Personally, I find that the owners who do complain are usually the ones who have been given a very good estimate and the overall price was $20-50 give or take more than expected.

I really strive to give good estimates on cost of procedures or workups but they are estimates not exact figures. I can’t know exactly what I am going to find on the chest x-rays or ultrasound and so I can’t factor in an exact cost for treatment when I have yet to come up with a diagnosis.

I definitely could do better with my consultation estimates but that can be very challenging when I am heavily booked. We are generally booked 15 minute slots for each consultation in which we must examine the patient, get all the history and discuss all treatment options with the owner and answer all their questions. Ultimately it boils down to this:

‘If your pet requires medication for an infection, I must simply prescribe it and you have to pay for it!’

I was once specifically accused of over servicing a client and to this day, I really can’t understand what I could have done better. I believe I communicated openly with the owner and discussed all treatment options clearly. This lovely and hyperactive 12 month old poodle was booked in as she was excessively straining to urinate. Her examination and history revealed she was suffering from cystitis. Cystitis can be quite uncomfortable and painful; a burning sensation is felt each time the patient urinates. I discussed my recommendations and advised the owner that her dog would require a course of both antibiotics and anti-inflammatory/pain relief.

The owner debated with me the need for anti-inflammatory as the dog was bright and alert. I went on to explain that cystitis is inflammation of the bladder and can be quite irritating and painful. It was the reason why her dog was frequently urinating. While she may appear bright, she is obviously not feeling 100% as she has an urgency to urinate frequently. The next morning, the owner dropped in and demanded to get credit back on the anti-inflammatory medication and accused me of over-servicing her. I actually felt awful for her dog and was glad I had managed to give her one shot of anti-inflammatory which would give her pain relief for 24 hours.

It really hurt me to be accused of over-servicing when all I cared about was her pet’s welfare.

I simply wanted her to be free of pain and to help her recover quickly.

Sometimes, I find it very challenging to convince certain owners of the merit of medications. I often meet very arthritic dogs that the owners decline any type of treatment for. They say they are old and it is normal for them to slow down. Some people don’t understand that animals can feel pain too and simply can’t express them like we do. They don’t stop eating or start moaning about their agony until it has reached completely intolerable levels.

And my latest accusation of over-servicing has left me quite baffled. This lady called us very distressed and wanting some advice about her cat. She was in the process of moving house and her cat’s anxiety had spurred on an episode of self-trauma. The cat seems to scratch its face excessively whenever it is anxious. The client wanted to see if we recommend admitting the cat to hospital for sedation or any necessary medication while they move. The nurse consulted me about the phone call and I said we would be happy to assist the owner and have the cat in hospital.

The nurse recommended my behavioural services and the client was quite keen.

However, after much discussion, the client cancelled the appointment she made as she decided it is best to monitor the cat at home instead of overwhelming her with a trip to the vets. I looked up the patient’s history and found that the patient may truly be suffering from underlying anxiety and her behavioural issues had not been addressed. A week and a half later, I called the owner to check up on her cat and make sure she had settled down with the move.

I had to leave a voice message asking about the cat and explaining that I am happy to offer my behavioural advice on this case. The owner returned my call and we had an in-depth discussion about her cat’s condition and different treatment options. Basically I emphasised the importance of getting her cat checked out soon as the owner had clearly stated the cat had severely traumatized herself and the scratching had still been ongoing after the move. I was concerned the cat may have acquired secondary skin infection. I also briefly touched on behavioural modification and anti-anxiety medication with the owner and what that would involve.

To my utter surprise, the client calls the next day and cancels the appointment she made with me and accuses me of ‘over servicing’ her and asks the nurse not to tell me.

Upon hearing her feedback about my services, I felt very bitter just like ‘Forrest’ below did.


I simply don’t understand how me calling a client to check up on her cat and offer my services is perceived in a negative context. I didn’t hold a gun to the owner’s head and ask her to call me back. She chose to do so willingly and spoke to me for over 20 minutes. This experience has left me feeling exploited and undermined for being so passionate about what I do.

I would like to end this post by asking you for your feedback.

What do you perceive as an over-service by a veterinarian?
Have you ever experienced it?
If so, can you please expand on that experience and tell me why you felt over serviced?

I never ever want to be accused of ‘over-servicing’ a client again, so I’m all ears for your input!


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Hi I am Dr. Rayya. I created this site to take you on a journey of my life as a vet! I hope to inspire you, teach you, learn from you. Most importantly help pet owners and animals around the world by sharing pictures, videos and posts from my everyday experiences.

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94 Comments on “Do you trust your vet?”

  1. wordsfromanneli Says:

    I think it’s different here in Canada. The vets are not suffering from lack of pay, but they do work hard for their money just as you do. Vet bills are very high but if you love your pet, what are you going to do? I agree it’s important to have a good relationship with your vet and trust him/her. I’ve been lucky to find good vets for our pets, but in one case the vet liked the money more than he liked our dog (the gentlest dog you’d ever find). We switched and everyone is happy again. I think 99% of the vets out there do it because they love animals. 1% love the money more.


    • Rayya Says:

      Thank you so much for your input.
      See in Australia, vets are thought to be wealthy and it is a common misconception. Very few vets have made it well for themselves down under so I wonder if the same stigma is in Canada or if they are truly well paid.
      Bottom line, that’s not the issue. Like you said what matters is that you feel your pet is being looked after and not taken advantage of to make a few extra bucks.
      Trust is the key element for a good working vet-client relationship! Glad to hear you are happy with your current vets 🙂


      • wordsfromanneli Says:

        Judging by our bills I would say they do well. They work hard, but they’re well rewarded. At least that’s how it looks to me.

      • Rayya Says:

        Vet bills are always very high and unfortunately that does not always indicate vets are paid well. The behind the scenes, equipment and up keep of the practice costs lots and often that’s where all the money goes.
        There are some vet clinics that are very profitable and pay their vets well but those are very few and far between, at least down under.

      • Michelle Says:

        Great post, and I want to share with you, but I may need to wait ’til after I’ve rested. I just wanted to add that here in the US, Vets are also seen as wealthy, but most of them are. Not at first if they start their own business. It takes a while to build clients, but most of the ones I know are flat out rich.

      • Diana Says:

        The other side of the equation is that pet owners are often feeling financially pinched, and vet bills are high, even if fair. I have a dental care estimate of $374– x 2 for my two cats. They need the care, but that’s nearly $700, which is a chunk of change! My finances are such that it’s hard for me to let go that kind of money. I love my cats, and I stayed with 2 instead of adding a third just because of the expense. Yes, I think my vet is well-to-do, but she paid for her education, built a new facility, and has employees to pay. I struggle with trying to acknowledge that she deserves what she earns with the fact that I’m paying more than I feel good about.

      • Rayya Says:

        Dear Diana.
        I appreciate your honesty and the fact that you are sharing your personal perspective. Ultimately, you should put yourself in your cat’s shoes. If you had a minor tooth ache, you would try to get into the dentist asap regardless of cost. And dentists do cost a fortune.
        It is a luxury to own pets. It is also a life time commitment and quite an expensive exercise.
        Finally, it may be worth discussing the fees directly with your vet so you exactly what you are paying for. That may help give you insight into theses charges.

  2. Tricia Booker Photography Says:

    I had two incredible veterinarians (husband and wife) for more than 20 years who recently retired. I’ve had a difficult time replacing them. One vet I tried, who took over their clinic, had horrible people skills. It was obvious he didn’t want to answer any questions and simply wanted to tell me what was needed and be in and out of the room as fast as possible. One visit and I was done.

    My second attempt was at a larger clinic with a group of veterinarians who have an excellent reputation. I’ve now been there three times and had a different doctor each time. I don’t really feel a sense of connection, unfortunately, and I’m unsure if I’ll go back, although I’ve been pleased with the services they’ve provided.

    I totally trusted my original vets because we had a long-term relationship, and I knew they were completely dedicated to the well being of my animals. They remembered their names when I saw them on the street or at the post office (even the deceased members of our family they had cared for), and they were an integral part of our community.

    I think establishing a trusting relationship with your vet is an important component to the over servicing factor. It never would have crossed my mind with my original vets. With those of tried since, I’m not so sure because I don’t really feel there was/is a connection to me or my dog and our individual needs.


    • Rayya Says:

      Hey Tricia,

      You have highlighted a very pertinent point, the importance of rapport between you, your vet and your pet.
      It is indeed going to be very difficult to replace your previous vets as you had a long term relationship.

      I really dislike the concept of having clients come in and out of my door within a 15 minute span and I don’t ever follow that style of consulting.

      It sounds like your second attempt was a good place. I would recommend you request the vet you connected to mostly to start building that relationship. It is not easy finding a one-two vet practice anymore.

      We happily accommodate to our clients’ vet preferences as it is essential to build that trust and continuity.

      I wish you the best of luck in finding a new vet clinic that will suit you and your lovely pets.


  3. Jennifer Forsyth, VMD Says:

    This is definitely a frustrating situation, especially after a long conversation where there was no charge to the client. Usually I try to think of it as that they are paying me for my opinion – they can take it or leave it. We will always have our awesome A list clients that we have good chemistry with – focus on them 🙂 The others, well, the serve to remind us how much we love our awesome clients. And our love for both types of client’s pets – that never falters – that’s what makes us veterinarians and that is why the majority of our clients love us back.


    • Rayya Says:

      Hey Jennifer,

      Very wise and supportive words. Thanks for shedding more insight on your very relevant thoughts.
      It is disappointing to give free advise and get zero appreciation in return.
      I agree we do it for the love of animals and our focus is mostly on them!
      Bring on the awesome clients! 🙂


  4. Karen Friesecke Says:

    I have a great relationship with my vets, my family has been using the same clinic for over 30 years. They always explain to me why a test is medically necessary and I do trust their opinions.

    The only thing that sets my teeth on edge is when some of the newer vets recommend using holistic products. I’m NOT a holistic user and holistic products have never worked in solving issues for me or my dogs. SO in that sense, thanks but no thanks.


    • Rayya Says:

      Hey Karen,

      Terrific news about you having such a great history and rapport with your current vets. 30 years is a long time :-).

      As part of our duty of care, vets are expected to discuss a range of options with owners and alternative medicine is quite a growing industry. Nowadays, lots of clients require us to give a holistic option. It gets very tricky when we get clients that demand it and others that don’t believe in it. We must discuss all options with you and ultimately you are the final decision maker on what treatment option you would like to use and what has worked for you in the past.

      Take care.


  5. Alli Farkas Says:

    I have mixed experiences with vets, and I think part of that is because here in the US it’s common for many practices to be owned by a single corporate entity. They seem to have “scripts” they follow without always taking into account the circumstances of both pet and owner. And veterinarians come and go from these places as they complete internships and move on. So, often there is no continuing relationship between the client and any one vet.

    I’ve been with the same (privately owned) small animal hospital for about 15 years, but at one point they were a little, to me anyway, on the over-doing it path. My cat had a tiny lump on her ear, and it was dutifully biopsied and reported back in a serious tone to contain some mast cells. They wanted $400 to remove it. I did some research and decided that based on my research mast cells were not as likely to be as much of a problem in cats as they are in dogs. So I decided to let it be. That was 8 years ago and it’s still a very tiny lump and the cat is fine. I almost choked at the prospect of spending that $400 on a tiny lump.

    After the economic crash in 2008, the same hospital became much more pet-owner-friendly, giving more pros and cons to consider instead of making edicts. They offer options and make it a point to let the client know that they understand if you don’t want to do a bundle of tests all at once. When last year the same cat seemed to have a hyper-thyroid condition (she’s 18 now) we took it on a one-test-at-a-time approach, and didn’t have to do much to confirm the diagnosis. Nobody said boo about the lump on the ear. They wrote a generous prescription that could be filled economically online, and everybody’s happy.

    So I guess what it comes down to is that pet owners feel much more comfortable if they think they have options, and if the veterinarian expresses some understanding that money isn’t always available for the ideal treatment, but maybe just for the absolutely necessary treatment.


    • Rayya Says:

      Hey Alli,

      Thank you for shedding the light on the biggest reason I think vets can be accused of over-servicing.
      You are absolutely right, you need to be given options and the pros & cons of each discussed and ultimately you can make the decision on what you can afford to do next.

      I always start with the golden option then proceed to option B, C and so forth. I give estimates on each one and pros & cons. I want my clients to be fully aware of the risks they are taking if they chose to forego certain things.

      In your cat’s case, I still think I may have recommended removal of the lump while it was small. While mast cells are less metastatic in cats compared with dogs, there are a few that can spread. If you remove it while it is small, the surgery is less complicated and you can rest assured it is not that 10% that can spread. I would have discussed that thoroughly with you so that you were aware of the whole situation. Thankfully your kitty cat had the more common type of mast cell that didn’t spread. But can you imagine if it weren’t and it did spread and if your vet hadn’t recommended its removal!

      It is crucial for vets and clients to have open dialogue about cost constraints, realistic options and etc.

      I often find clients tell me they want to do everything even though they can’t afford it. Unfortunately, I don’t know what is going on in their bank accounts and can’t make that judgement call for them. It can make for a very tricky situation.

      I hope you get to find a vet clinic that is suitable for you. Keep looking and you are bound to find the right practice for you.
      The trick is if you find a vet you really connect with, start to request them for follow up to help with that continuity.



  6. cissyblue Says:

    I would just let it go, Doctor. You clearly believe in your protocol, in your service. Sounds like somebody just learned this word “over-servicing” and are trying to bamboozle you with their new-found savvy! I’d just chalk it up to people desperately trying to pinch a penny. I am sure you care very much for your patients and that’s what matters! Everybody seems to want something for free…


    • Rayya Says:

      Thank you so much for your wonderful comment. You are absolutely right, I believe in my service and that’s what truly matters. Who doesn’t love freebies? We all do but if I got a freebie, I would really appreciate it and not take it for granted! 🙂


  7. Misty Shores Chesapeakes Says:

    I have been very fortunate over the years to have always found very good vets. My current Doctor’s whom I have been using for almost eight years are wonderful! When Riva was pregnant and things were moving very slowly when it came time for her to whelp Dr McAllister was right there for us, she could have on a couple of occasions jumped right to a c-section, which I know some vets will do but, she wanted to give her time since this was her first litter and she was not in distress. I am very thankful she waited because in the end Riva had her babies naturally which was much better for her and them, I was a nervous wreck but I got over it 😉

    I think some people just want something for nothing and they really don’t view their pets as family members. You really hit the nail on the head with this statement “Some people don’t understand that animals can feel pain too and simply can’t express them like we do.” Years ago I worked at the front desk of a vets office and it would amaze me at some of the things people would say and want the Doctor’s to do, for example one lady wanted to put her cat down because she was allergic to it. After talking with her for a few minutes I discovered this was the second cat she had adopted because she was allergic to the first one and had to get rid of it but wanted to see if she still had allergies to cats. Of course the Doctor’s did not oblige her and I was instructed to tell her we are not in the habit of destroying animals for the convenience of the person, which I was more than happy to do. By the way she was not a regular client otherwise I think the Doctor’s would have spoke to her themselves.

    So I say don’t worry about it, (I know easier said than done right) and just keep being who you are, a caring and compassionate Doctor!


    • Rayya Says:

      Oh Misty. Your comment made my day. I’m so glad you have a terrific relationship with your vet. She sounds like an ace and very patient veterinarian! I never like to rush into c-sections unless the puppies are in strife and first time mothers do take a longer time to give birth. So glad Riva didn’t need a c-section and had a natural birth.

      Some people come with quite shocking requests and you just named one that is so common-others include, moving house, scratching the furniture or etc. Some people think pets are commodities that they can dispose off when they aren’t fun anymore. To those people, I say they shouldn’t own pets in the first place and I would never service their needs.

      I can only do the best I can for my beautiful patients and my focus ultimately remains on them.

      I have too many great clients and feel pretty blessed for that 🙂


      • Misty Shores Chesapeakes Says:

        I’m glad it helped. I know I don’t know you personally but the way you write about your patients tells me you must be a wonderful Dr., why else would you take the time to share them with the rest of the world 🙂
        Have a wonderful day!!

      • Rayya Says:

        Thanks Misty. I’m glad my passion is illustrated in my blog 🙂

  8. magsx2 Says:

    I am very lucky, we have a fantastic vet that is very caring and I take on board everything that he may recommend be done. I remember when he went away on a holiday and it was time for the yearly injections etc. I was reluctant to take our dog to see the vet that was standing in for him.
    People do tend to have a good relationship with their vet, and with that comes trust as well, but even if you don’t have that relationship I agree the main thing is the health and well being of the animal, that should come above all else.


    • Rayya Says:

      Hey Mags.

      It is awesome that you have established that great relationship with your current vet.
      I am off for 2 weeks holiday in a couple of weeks and I am dreading leaving my patients behind. My clients have my email if they need to get in touch and I will be getting my colleague up to speed on all my cases that may require her services while I am away.

      Basically it goes both ways. I trust my colleagues to look after my cases but in the same token, I love my patients and feel terrible if I’m not there when they need me. 🙂


  9. Chancy and Mumsy Says:

    I read every word of your post and I saw nothing that you did that I would say was over-servicing. To me a vet that is dedicated and caring to go into to detail about what is best for the pets is a treasure. The world would be better served to have more vets like you. We have been very fortunate over the years to have two very good vets. Hugs


    • Rayya Says:

      Hey Chancy & Mumsy,
      Thank you so much for your lovely comment. It really put a smile on my face. I highly value your feedback. Terrific that you have 2 great vets. 🙂


  10. Donkey Whisperer Farm Says:

    I have nominated you for the Sister Of World Bloggers Award. Go to my blog to get info to add your award to your blog.


    • Rayya Says:

      Hey Melody,

      You are just too sweet. Thank you so much for this amazing award. I will check out your blog to follow up on the details of accepting this wonderful award. 🙂


  11. strategyplanone Says:

    Great post … will review more of your posts! Thanks for sharing


  12. victoriaaphotography Says:

    All I can say is that the owners who complain about their pet’s vet costs shouldn’t have pets. Do the owners really think they know more than their pet’s doctor?

    That would be like the owner going to their GP for diagnosis and treatment, the GP doing blood tests (which all GPs do these days), diagnosing eg cystitis AND then, the patient refusing to buy/take the cure.

    Can you imagine pet owners refusing to take the recommended cure for their own woes.

    I am stunned that an owner would demand their money back ! Why did they bother coming to the Vet Practice in the first place (if they don’t think their beloved pets are worthy of your attention).

    Like you say Rayya, Vets don’t become vets to make money – they do it for the love of animals and their welfare.

    Keep up the great work you do. I don’t have a pet, but I admire your commitment to your profession and the time you take to write a blog to share your patient stories.

    Love the photos too.


    • fiona Says:

      Speaking from personal experience I think you are a wonderful vet Raaya and am more than happy with the care and expertise you provide my pets. Please don’t let a few ungrateful and ignorant people get you down. There are plenty of them sadly. I work in human healthcare and am sure the person who suggested you were over servicing her pet would be one of those people I come across everyday at work who demand blood tests, X-rays etc for their own very minor illnesses & injuries, because they often don’t cost the recipient anything. Then doctors are accused of over servicing!


      • Rayya Says:

        Fiona…You are definitely on our A-client-list (A standing for Ace, Amazing and super AWESOME). You are a dedicated pet lover, owner and great client to work with.
        Thank you so much for your wonderful feedback.
        I can only imagine how tough it must be for you in the human healthcare industry. Some aussies don’t know how good they have it in terms of free health care compared to the rest of the world.
        How is Lucy getting along? Hope she is better? No news (about the rest of your many many pets) means good news, right? 😉

    • Rayya Says:

      Hello Victoria, so great to hear from you. You are just too great at describing my own sentiments. I was pretty shocked that a client would think I would prescribe medications that aren’t indicated and may harm my patient just to make money. It just doesn’t make any sense! Thank you for your amazing support.
      How’s your computer traveling these days?


  13. becomingcliche Says:

    We had one veterinarian in our area who bought pretty expensive equipment for her practice. She was a sole proprietor, and there is an excellent vet school in the area with the same equipment, so it made little financial sense for her to do so, but she did. She recommended procedures using the equipment for a startlingly high percentage of her patients, even when doing so was not the gold standard for the particular ailment. I was leery of her.

    However, when my current vet wanted to pull a full blood work-up on my 17 year old cat before putting her under anesthesia to check her kidney function. I whole-heartedly agreed. It was an extra cost, yes, but it gave us valuable information. I trust him not to nickle-and-dime me just because he can. If he recommends it, there’s a reason.

    What you’re describing sounds like someone who was hoping to just get a free consultation out of you.


    • Rayya Says:

      Thanks for your very valuable input. You obviously didn’t trust the other vet and so your assumptions may have mostly stemmed from that and based on what you already knew about her set up.

      I do find some clients think I am trying to nickle-and-dime them when I am not. I routinely recommend blood test for geriatrics but not all my team does and so that can make me look worse in contrast!

      With my regular clients, I never arch up an air of suspension with my recommendations. However, with new clients, there can always be that skepticism and that’s why I make sure to clearly communicate why I am recommending a certain test and the value of it and I am more than happy for the clients to debate with me their own thoughts.

      It can really be hurtful when a new client condemns my expertise purely because I am young and she/he feel I’m not genuine. I have heard clients utter comments like: ‘Oh those new young vets’. It can be quite a challenge to break through those preconceived judgmental perceptions.

      However, I definitely feel a huge sense of accomplishment when I gain a new client and manage to earn their trust.

      Great to hear you have a terrific vet to work with.

      Take care.


  14. myfurryfriends Says:

    I am blessed to have a wonderful vet. I don’t think you over-serviced at all she just did not want to spend any money on her cat.


  15. Jana Rade Says:

    Well, I can see how that would happen–over-servicing complaint; our vet had one like that too (not from us, of course). I know him, he won’t do something that is not needed.

    Personally, I think the opposite problem is more common.

    As for over-servicing, I think the problem is when the client doesn’t know what’s going on. Our TCVM vet has a tendency to be like that – just do things and you find out what he did only from the bill.

    As much as the vets are not getting rich from their fees, the costs are still significant. It is important that the owners understand what is being done and why.

    We love our vet and I trust him as much as it is possible to trust a human being. What we have, though, is a dialog. We discuss the situation, the options and make decisions based on mutual agreement.


    • Rayya Says:

      Hey Jana.
      You are speaking the undeniable truth; it all boils down to communication/dialogue. It is pertinent that the client and vet are on the same page. If a client isn’t sure, they should fire away with questions. In the same token, a vet must be clear and make sure the client is digesting all the information. Unfortunately, in a very busy vet practice, mis-communications can occur due to time constraints: owner rushing off to work or to pick up the kids, vet being interrupted with an emergency or etc.

      There is nothing worse than a client getting a bill they didn’t expect at all! I feel bad for the poor receptions at the front that often cops the brunt of the client’s shock.
      I never subject my staff to that and do my best to prepare my clients for the costs and give them all the options and wait for their final decision.

      Great to hear you have a deep understanding and rapport with your vet :-).


  16. Britt@absolutealaia Says:

    We are very lucky that our new vet comes to our home so I don’t need to stress out “the kids”. I cannot say I have ever felt that any of our vets have over-serviced our needs, if anything I have only been concerned about one vet not giving my children enough attention and act as if they were just a number (have seen human Dr’s act like this too) but anyway we just stopped going there! I would rather know that you care about my children just as much as I do and Rayya, even though Jordan is not your client you have been wonderful enough to give me advice through your blog…FOR FREE and I cannot thank you enough for that.


    • Rayya Says:

      Hey Britt,
      It is terrific to know that your vets cater to your needs. I think home visits can be quite an adventure 🙂 and we don’t often do them. However, we will oblige special clients that request it.
      I hope your tough Jordan is travelling okay. You are a very dedicated and amazing pet owner and the least I could do was give you some advice. You are most welcome!
      Keep up the great work you do with ‘your kids’.
      Take care.


  17. Gail Schechter Says:

    I live in Boston Massachusetts, I have 2 poodles 11 & 9.
    I can understand how you would be perceived as “over servicing”
    All of our dogs bills are broken down by individual line items.
    Our doctor bills are sent directly to the insurance company, therefore, we hardly see each line item…
    We are used to not paying for the entire visit, just our co-pay, so anything extra might be perceived as over-servicing….
    I don’t feel that way, but I do think may owners think they are overpaying and that their dogs don’t need all the services that we get.


    • Rayya Says:

      Hey Gail.
      Thanks for your input. I’m not exactly sure what you mean and would love you to expand further on your comment.
      We mostly try to give our clients printed estimates that include individual line items prior to the procedure. The figures are very clear so I don’t understand how that can still be perceived as an over-service.
      The fact is, estimates are not exact figures and a procedure may take longer than expected (whether a surgery or workup) especially when you aren’t sure of what is going on with a pet.
      If good estimates were given, what do you think can help stop clients from thinking they are overpaying and that their pets didn’t need all the services they received? I


      • Gail Schechter Says:

        I just think most vet/animal hospital’s are great at explaining charges and giving estimates.
        I think it is the human’s that don’t realize that actual cost vis-a-vie the incidental things like(which can add upwards of $100-200) injections,blood disposal,fluids,blood tests….People think they are getting “ripped off” because we don’t see those kind of charges on our hospital bills. We just pay the co-pay.
        Hope this helps.
        I’m an Overseer at Angell Medical Center which is a non-profit teaching hospital and no kill shelter here is Boston.

      • Rayya Says:

        Hey Gail,

        Now that makes perfect sense. You are absolutely right, the incidentals are often not accounted for. Owners simply don’t see the behind the scenes (cleaning cages, drips, syringes and so much more).

        Thank you for highlighting a very important aspect.

        Take care and keep up the great work at your Angell Medical Centre 🙂

  18. Jodi Stone Says:

    Dr. Rayya, based on what you described I certainly don’t feel you over-serviced those people. When I bring my dogs to the vet I want only what is best for them and I want all of the vet’s attention.

    When we were really struggling with Delilah and trying to find out why she kept having those little episodes, I was so pleased that my vet called me at home and discussed (in depth) the different options available to us. This made me feel like the vet actually cared about Delilah and didn’t just want to take my money.

    I love my vet’s office and trust them implicitly. I’m sorry that you’ve had such a negative experience but my opinion is these people just aren’t in it for their pets, they are more concerned with the money. For me, the money is secondary to the well-being and comfort of Sampson and Delilah.


    • Rayya Says:

      Hey Jodi,

      I am so happy to hear you have an excellent rapport with your vet. Delilah and Sampson deserve the best vet attention ever :-).

      You are absolutely right, some clients are more concerned with their money and so that makes it very challenging for us to manage.

      I think vets should never offer lower services to pets purely based on costs. I always offer many options starting with the best.

      Always terrific to get your feedback!


  19. Bassas Blog Says:

    I think you are a great vet! It is a difficult and very demanding job and you need to be very clever and know so much! If I wore a hat I would take it off for you 🙂


  20. Jo Woolf Says:

    ‘Over-servicing’? I can’t even believe there is such a term, especially in relation to vets! Perhaps you can ‘over-service’ a hotel room but not a medical situation! Don’t let it affect the passion and dedication that you obviously have for all your patients.


    • Rayya Says:

      Hey Jo. Ditto your comment :-). I agree the term over-servicing vet does not make much sense. Don’t worry, my passion for my patients is my driving force and will never be extinguished.


  21. yashikibuta Says:

    Hi Rayya. I’ve learned so much from your blog! so I nominated you to 4 blog awards


    • Rayya Says:

      Hey Yashikibuta,
      Thank you for following my blog and appreciating the content. I am so happy to hear it has given you lots of information. I am very humbled with the four blog awards. THANK YOU 🙂


  22. nadbugs Says:

    You have me in a cascade of feelings, in response — admiration for your dedication, love for the heart you show us all in this wonderful blog, and great respect, last but not least. You’ve got so much entrusted to you — the dear animals AND the people too, what a handful! You have so much to pay attention to. It’s no surprise at all : This is a supremely difficult enterprise you’re engaged in. Over-servicing, under-servicing — doubtless you’ll get it from all sides. People in their own pain will push that pain out onto the nearest handy target. I know, I’ve done it. When I do, I’m in deep distress and uncertainty. Life is so hard, and without lots and lots of support and education — and trust, as you point out, but how hard that trust is to cultivate — this is how things tend to go. Blame, shame, accusation. Very trying. I’m wishing you fortitude for the difficult times, and grace when things going well. May the latter sustain you through the former, may you keep your spirits up and your own resources full and sustaining.


    • Rayya Says:

      Your comment is just so perfectly articulated. I appreciate all the sentiments you felt after reading this post and highly value your continued support.
      It can definitely be a challenging job especially since we aren’t trained in human psychology. The average vet graduates without any training on customer service/expectations and so it can be very overwhelming for some.
      I am very luck to have so many amazing clients around and so that drowns any bad press I come across. I’m not perfect and won’t be able to please everyone. But I sure as hell can try for my patients’ sakes! 🙂


      • nadbugs Says:

        GREAT. I hear lots of understanding and empathy in your answer. Surely that’s the essence of what it takes to keep the faith, despite everything and ain’t it a LOT of everything coming at us minute by minute. YAY YOU. I take great encouragement from your presence.

      • Rayya Says:

        Like wise :-). Keep up the great blogging.

  23. hutchagoodlife Says:

    Whee don’t really like our nearest vets because they don’t understand guinea pigs at all well. Whee now travel a distance for a specialist who does an in depth consultation and follow up advice and phone calls. Whee think real animal lovers would never consider the precautions you take as ‘too much’.

    One very important thing a vet needs to do is listen. When Bingo developed a bald patch Mummy worked out that it was a fungal infection. The vet said that she was being ridiculous and it must be mites. Three mites treatments later and lots of pain for poor Bingo they agreed to try a fungal treatment on the off chance it might work. It worked really well but as a side effect of the previous cocktail of medications Bingo suffered a stroke or seizure which has keft him with a head tilt and permanant damage to his balance.

    Vets must listen and take into account what owners have to say. They know their pets best and are more likely to notice subtle xhanges. It sounds like you do this and you shouldn’t take the comments of a select few to heart. There are always going to be people who do not care as much as you. I’m sure the majority of your patients are very happy.



    • Rayya Says:

      Thanks for sharing Bingo’s story with us. That must have been quite an ordeal. I am glad he is okay and sorry to hear he had to incur a head tilt.

      I totally agree, it is essential to take owners’perceptions into account. They definitely know their furballs best!
      Often I get clients that come in and they just know something serious is going on with their pets even though my examination may be unremarkable. I always hear them out and offer them further workup.

      I appreciate your support. 🙂


  24. Nicole Marie Story Says:

    What is wrong with people? You are a blessing. If anything happens to Gwendolyn EVER, I suspect that we shall either be flying to Australia, or my ex boyfriend shall pay for you to fly here (if I cannot yet afford it)… because I will need you, Rayya. ❤


    • Rayya Says:

      Hey Nicole. Your so adorable. I would happily fly over to make sure Gwen is treated appropriately!I’ve been missing you & Gweny’s news. Howz your new business? I bet you are thriving. 😀


  25. 2browndawgs Says:

    Feedback…*rubs hands together* just kidding

    As someone who seems to spend a lot of time at the vet, I can say that I have not felt that I had to worry about them over servicing my animals. All of the vets at the clinic that we now use are pretty clear about what they would like to do and why. Usually they give me choices of treatment, least, middle, and most and the costs and consequences of each. I find that very helpful in my decision making. Generally I have a discussion with my vet. Maybe I know too much or maybe too little?…lol. If I call with a problem, they do not always recommend a visit and sometimes will suggest a home remedy with suggestions of when I should absolutely come in.

    Now with Thunder’s bloat surgery we were given a written estimate and if they needed to do more they asked first and gave the estimated cost. This was a 24 hour vet hospital. They gave us a range of cost and the whole thing actually came in cheaper than the estimate. Of course with the choice of treat or euthanize…there was not much choice.

    The vet we used for our Golden (pre-Chessies), I felt routinely over serviced, but at times under serviced. Of course that could have been his poor communication skills. Your blogs are so clear that I can’t imagine that is a problem for you.

    Sometimes I think complaining about the cost of vet care is an accepted past time, like complaining about the cost of gas or taxes. I also think many do not understand what good vet care can do for an animal. For example, I needed to have Nestle’s stitches out this week and I mentioned it to my hair dresser. She said, why not just take them out yourself? I was taken aback. First I wanted the vet to check the incision and I already paid for this visit as part of the surgery, (which was priced fairly). But I do think her comment is illustrative of the way many people view vet care.


    • Rayya Says:

      Thank you so much for your in-depth reply.
      Sounds like you have terrific vets & have established great rapport with them.

      It is very special when a vet is happy to take your call & offer home remedies. Obviously they trust your judgement, otherwise they wouldn’t be offering you the extra service.

      Great communication is the key to prevent any misgivings between clients & vets.

      You made a very interesting point when you mentioned what your hair dresser said. Some people take vet expertise for granted.

      Take care & I hope your fur babies keep outta trouble. 🙂


  26. heyitsjethere Says:

    Hey Dr. Rayya, Jet here.

    I think during these particularly hard economic times you will probably hear more complaints in this regard. I will do the max to maintain my animals, however, even I cannot at this time. Annual teeth cleanings have fallen to every other year and extra blood tests sometimes cannot be done.

    However, I have had the privilege of taking my pets to the same vet for 25 years. I trust him completely, even when a humongous bill ensues. I suck it up and know that I did what I could to give my pet a dignified, healthy life.

    Please do not let a few apples spoil your excellent care and nurturing soul.


    • Rayya Says:

      Hey Jet. It’s always so ace to hear from you.
      You are stating a brutal truth. During these challenging economic times, you feel the weight of every penny spent. Hence routine vet care bills can be burdensome & people often cut down on these visits.
      Sometimes your pet needs urgent vet attention & you must bite the bullet & ensure your pet’s welfare isn’t compromised.

      Keep up the great blogging. 😀


      • heyitsjethere Says:

        Hey Dr. Rayya, Jet here.

        Thanks for the compliment. We agree. Mom just spent another $1,500 for JJ’s pyometra/endometriosis and ear wax problem… what can you do?

        Dr. Rayya… do you have this thingie called Care Credit in Australia? Someone told Mom last year when Koko needed emergency surgery for $3,000 + … she’s still paying it off, however, it really helped.

  27. Animalcouriers Says:

    Trust in your vet is so important. We’re lucky to have a number that we’re very comfortable with and have never felt any treatment was given where it wasn’t necessary. It’s, as others have said, the economic climate which makes people try to avoid any costs they think aren’t 100% necessary. Hope they don’t live to regret it. Keep up the fabulous work you do – you can’t treat animals in any way other than how you always have and your conscience dictates. 😉


    • Rayya Says:

      I totally agree. It is very important to be able to call a vet you trust for any important quick questions you need to ask.
      I will definitely always be guided by my conscience.
      Thanks for your great feedback.


  28. Rosie Tisdell Says:

    When a little terrier I know suffered pneumonia & was diagnosed with a collapsed trachea at the same time she had to stay with the vet for nearly 3 days. The vet said they almost lost her and the final cost was just under $2600.00, an amount her owners could ill afford as the only income was a carer pension. The vet had no choice but to accept payment over a few weeks as he had not discussed the possible cost involved but there were no other complaints as they were just so happy to have the dog healthy again & take her home. I have found that those who complain most about the cost of veterinary treatment are those on higher incomes who can well afford to pay, while the ones who can least afford to pay always manage to scrape it together somehow, full of thanks & praise.
    You mention that you always discuss diet with your clients. There are so many different diet suggestions and everyone claiming that theirs is the best. May I ask what you recommend people feed their dogs?


    • Rayya Says:

      Hey Rosie. Thank you for stopping by and sharing a very interesting observation. We can never overly generalize but there are many owners that can’t afford veterinary costs but manage to find a way to do so. They appreciate those veterinarians that allow them to pay off bills. We offer a payment plan for very large unexpected bills.

      With regards to diet, I really vouch for a variety of diets as I feel there is no one perfect diet for all. Some of my patients don’t respond to the raw meat diet and others do.

      In a perfect world, if someone has no time or cost constraints and has a compliant pet, I would recommend bruce’s vets all natural food. Fresh meat mixed with the appropriate mix he formalized.

      As for those vegetarian owners or those with time or cost constraints, a good quality dry food like hill’s science diet is what I would recommend.

      Then there are those pets with food sensitivities and they are a whole different ball game.

      I keep go on and on forever about nutrition but will stop here. I promise to write a blog all about nutrition in the near future.


  29. Keeping her Eye on Melbourne Says:

    You are extremely passionate about your work and this shines through this post. Never strip away the attention to detail you offer your clients as you ultimately know within your heart you are doing the right thing in being thorough. You have a license and degree (or several!) to practice Veterinary Science. Unfortunately, people need not require such documents to own a pet, and therefore selfish tendencies take over, be it ego or financial concerns over what is most important. The welfare of the animal.

    As a teacher, I feel your frustration as sometimes I am challenged by parents who undermine my decisions or question my management or practice. Ultimately I have their child’s development and welfare as my first priority, so superficial judgements can be hurtful. AND Like you, it is never about the money! It is about integrity.

    Keep shining and thank-you for sharing this post!


    • Rayya Says:

      Thank you so much for stopping by and giving me your wonderful feedback. My husband used to teach and I totally understand and connect to your frustrations.

      I am so glad you stopped by and I got to check out your lovely blog. I will definitely be catching up on all your posts.

      I look forward to establishing a great blog rapport with you :-).


  30. Bubbles Says:

    My two year old ragdoll, Billy, became very ill early this year. He developed a fever and stopped eating and drinking. It was an emergency. To cut a long story short. Bill was kept in hospital for about a week, x-rayed and fed fluids and aggessive antibiotics until he could eat. I was told that after testing a lump in Bill’s intestines they were still unsure whether or not he had cancer. I really love my kitty, so $2,000 (yes, you read right) and 6 months later, my boy was thriving – I suspect the antibiotics fixed his fever and whatever was wrong with his tum is now gone. Though they never diagnosed it.

    I personally think he may have received a dose of salmonella from some fresh salmon I was given by a sushi shop owner ‘for the cat’.

    Last week Billy developed another, low grade, fever. This time, I am not so wealthy so I opted for a quick dose of antibiotics to fix the fever, get Bill eating, drinking and grooming and then see how that goes. Because I’ve been thinking – that’s what a human doctor would do, wouldn’t they? They prescribe a quick fix then if the problem is still there you go back and they find out what’s wrong in the end. With cancer there is no time, but I am sure my boy does not have cancer and may have been fine the first time just with the anti-b’s.


  31. Michelle Says:

    Dr. Rayya, I finally got Tiny the x-rays he needed. Many of them. No arthritis! Unbelievable, because he’s obviously in pain. I’m sad. They said he might have a mass in his stomach, but would need to do an Ultrasound. And, this is where trust comes in.

    I have two vets. Not ideal, but one is a country vet, not so rich 😉 and the other is with a large practice with many vets. (The one who treats Tiny is different. They intentionally put us under her care and this is why: The vet who is the top dog, so to speak, saw me before. She said in a manner of speaking, that I didn’t have enough money to care for my dogs. Well, that is not true. I don’t have enough to do what she would prefer me do all the time, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want advice or recommendations. And, my dogs get what they need and then some. I think they have fine lives.

    She has never seen us again, and instead we get to see a vet who works there but isn’t like the others. She is personable and down to earth. She is called by her first name unlike the others. She is so nice. I think she had a hard time today, telling me she didn’t find what she thought Tiny had; which was megaesophagus and arthritis, and she feels badly about the cost of a needed ultrasound.

    I tried to make her feel okay about it, letting her know that I do have a special credit card designed for Vets.

    Still, I left the office without a solid plan or decision. The vet did say, “I don’t want to blow off the Ultra sound,” so I think that means she recommends it.

    Tiny is sick with severe ongoing diarrhea and we don’t know why, so I hope the Flagil helps.

    I find it very hard to trust the big practices for some reason. It is only because they have this particular vet that I am able to go to this practice. As to being over-serviced, I have had this experience, but not often.

    The only times I’ve felt this way is when a vet says my dogs must have a vaccine that they don’t need. They told me this year that one of them are unnecessary unless you live on a farm. Why, I wondered, had I not heard this before. Sometimes, a vet will want more than I can afford. Like checking the stools every six months. I wait a year. Time flies and I take good care of the dogs. They get their monthly heart guard and when needed, flea meds.

    My black lab, “Free”, who passed in 2006 really didn’t go to vets often. She was in terrific health until she got bone cancer at age 12. She probably had it at 11. I took her to vet and they said she was fine. Three times, three vets! So, I felt under-serviced and as I write, I realize this is how I most often feel!

    For some reason, my voice isn’t ‘loud’ enough. I’m too meek at times. I don’t say what I think or feel. I knew something was wrong with Free, and now Tiny (even my adult son, his original owner, said today that Tiny often looks like he is in pain and is very sad). The reason it took this long to get the x-rays ordered was because the other Vet kept saying, “He’s just old and slow.”

    I think I’d rather be over-serviced than under-serviced. At least I could say no, or I don’t think that is necessary if it is something optional. It is really hard when a Vet doesn’t trust the client’s experience. I’m glad I wrote this, and hope I didn’t stray too far off subject. So much for waiting ’til I rested 🙂

    You are a caring vet with a big heart. That is so important. I think the folks who have complained may feel guilty about not doing all that you may have recommended. I have felt this way before, but I don’t blame the Vet.

    You keep up your good work. You listen to your heart, and I think most people will know they have a true gem in you!

    Peace and Blessings,
    Michelle aka ‘dogkisses’


  32. Ryan Karges Says:

    A few days ago my 2yr old Toy Poodle Harley tried to boss around her Jack Russell Sister Ivy. Ivy snapped and latched onto Harley’s face. I immediately separated them but the damage was done. Harley was bleeding from the top of her head and her left eye was covered in blood and looked like it was protruding out of her head. I immediately scooped her up to head to the Emergency Vet (learned a lesson here, my normal Vet is 30 minutes away and doesn’t have emergency service at their office, so I wasted a bit of precious time finding the closest Emergency Vet on my iPhone). They took her right back and i waited. The first time they came out they came out with a quote of around $300 for what was needed, I immediately signed and said I had $300 cash with me to do whatever they needed I’d just have to withdraw the rest as soon as my credit union opened in the AM. A little bit later the Doctor came out with Harley, still looking very rough, and said she is stabilized, the chest x-rays looked good, the wound on the top of her head was just a flesh wound, but that she would most likely loose the eye. I was relieved that she wasn’t at deaths door anymore and deeply saddened at her pain and possible lost at the same time. He said he didn’t perform any tests on the eye because the with the blood and damage he wouldn’t be able to see anything. He also said he’d like to keep her overnight possibly 2 nights for observation and so the day vets can check her out.

    At this point he left Harley in the room with me and another staff member came in with a new quote. The new quote was for $600 (Not an issue I wanted the best service for Harley). I told them no problem I can give them $300 now and the rest when I come get her (or as soon as my bank opens). I was told that wouldn’t due and if I didn’t pay the whole $600 now then she would have to go home right away and without any medication. This to me was truly appalling, it wasn’t as though I was refusing to pay and they would have my Harley. If i came to get her and didn’t have the remaining amount then they could refuse to give me her back, etc. I ended up calling a family member and having them do a credit card over the phone. They gave me a number I could call and check on her at any time and I left her baby blanket with them to put with her so she’d have something that smelled like home.

    I called one time a few hours later and they said Harley’s doing good “He’s” resting (Harley is a “She”). Then the next day I called to see how Harley was doing and if I was able to come get her. They asked Her name and put me on hold to check. When they came back they said Harley’s surgery went fine and she’s been doing good. Surgery???? She was staying for observation. I immediately asked what surgery and she just said, “oh, you weren’t called?” After a few minutes of us going back and forth she stated “oh wait, my mistake she didn’t have surgery you can come get her anytime.”

    When I picked her up a Vet Tech brought her to me with her prescription and No Blanket (her baby blanket). She gave me the discharge papers told me when to give the medicine and said I should bring her back in about a week to see if they will need to remove the eye (they didn’t give or even suggest a collar cone to keep her from bumping or itching the eye). I asked about the Blanket and looking confused she said let me go check. After coming back 3 times with 3 different blankets she finally brought Harley’s out and said “Sorry someone had put it with another dog”. As soon as I got home I stated doing some Internet research on canine eye injuries. I had noticed when I went to put the Ointment in Harley’s eye like directed she blinked. Not only that but she had full range of motion in the eye also! All I could think was a week is way to long for a check up. I also found that an eye extraction is pretty pricey too and hope the Vet didn’t just think “hey I’m tired and want to go home, I’ll make money either way”.

    I immediately called Harley’s regular Vet, explained everything and asked what they thought. They said if I could bring her in they could see Harley that afternoon. When I got there her doctor was very concerned but positive. They explained the test they wanted to do (a corneal staining and interocular pressure test) and provided a quote. They also only charged me for a re-check even though they weren’t affiliated in any way with the Emergency Vet that Harley had seen. The vet found no damage to the surface of the eye with the stain test. The pressure was low (4,7,9) but the vet remained very positive. He said he’s more concerned about whether or not she’ll regain vision and doesn’t feel she’ll lose the eye all together. The vet also suggested eye drops instead of the Ointment, as then we wouldn’t be touching the eye (Same medicine different form). He gave us a collar cone, advised us of what to watch for, and said he’d like to see her again next week. Now it’s just watching and doing everything I can for little Harley, hopefully it all turns out good.


  33. lisa@notesfromafrica Says:

    I can imagine how frustrating and upsetting this was for you. Like you, our vets are very passionate about what they do, and work very long hours. When they’ve called me to find out how one of their patients is doing, I’m grateful for the interest and dedication they are showing.

    However, I have heard several elderly people (I don’t mean to sound ageist here), complaining about the high veterinary fees, and how their vets “are just trying to make money out of us”! But then those same people usually are suspicious of other professionals too . . .


    • Rayya Says:

      Hey Lisa
      Thanks for highlighting that there are many vets out there working very hard for their patients.
      Some clients just aren’t aware about the breakdown cost of their veterinary bill and no matter what you say, it won’t change their mind set. Hopefully that doesn’t stop them from bringing in their pets to a vet clinic when it is necessary.


  34. Michelle Says:

    Hi Dr. Rayya,

    I wanted to tell you that our Tiny boy has crossed Rainbow Bridge now. He is no longer in pain or discomfort. No more cancer.

    He is terribly missed. Our female, Ruthie, who is seven, cried. I have never seen a dog cry, but I have now. It broke my heart into pieces.

    Yesterday, she played with my son. I was so happy to see her stretching out her front legs and getting into her playful stance.

    Tiny was loved and in my heart, will always be. He was a Grand Dog!!!

    Michelle (Rosa Blue).


    • Rayya Says:

      Hey Michelle. That’s very sad news. But like you said, Tiny boy is free of pain and at peace now. He put up a huge battle. It is so heart wrenching to hear about Ruthie. Poor girl. Time heals all wounds. Very big hug to you and Ruthie and your family.


      • Michelle Says:

        Thank you Rayya, for this reply, and for the beautiful prayer you left on my blog. I really, really like it. My son is part Cherokee, so it means a lot to both of us. Tiny couldn’t have said it better than the prayer does.

        Ruthie is doing better now. I am taking her out more, brushing her, and just letting her know I’m here. She has snuggled up close to me like she did after I first adopted her, but I think she is going to be okay.

        Thanks so much Dr. Rayya.

        Peace and Blessings,

  35. Karyn Says:

    Vets in US have a similar problem. People think we’re gouging them if the care we recommend is expensive. Quality vet care is expensive, but we are not going to stop recommending what is in the best interest of the patient. The overhead is so high, it’s not lining our pockets. I was a tech for 20 years before going to vet school and the most I ever made was $32k per year. And that’s when I managed a 24 hour hospital! Most years I hovered around the poverty line.
    As a vet for 7 years, last year I made $88k ( including my part time job). Good money. BUT, with student loan payments the size of most peoples mortgage payments, I’m not much better off. I’ll be paying off school debt til I’m 67 years old. I’ve worked 2 jobs my entire career, and probably always will. That’s ok. That’s the life I chose for myself to do the work I love. It was my choice to make the financial sacrifice for this calling. I have no regrets.

    I just absolutely HATE it when people think all vets care about is money. I’d be financially better off being a pharmacist, PA, physical therapist, chiropractor, or many other fields that don’t have near as much educational debt. I personally know only 3 vets who are rich- but all had family money and would be rich regardless of profession. I’m sure there’s some rich vets, but they’re not the norm. Most of us struggle and sacrifice.


    • Rayya Says:

      Hey Karyn

      Thanks so much for your insight.
      It’s amazing that you have continued in your vet career path in spite of all the financial strain.
      You are one very passionate vet.
      Your comment is a true reflection of what a vet really stands for: dedication, passion and lack of wealth.


  36. Alisha Peterson Says:

    The encounters as you have described them do not sound like overservicing. Especially regarding the lady with the poodle–obviously she has never had a bladder infection or UTI. In my own experiences I have been suddenly infused with sympathy for others suffering an ailment after I have had my own bouts with it. I’ve had numerous UTIs and one extreme case of a kidney infection that was the result of an untreated long-term UTI; misery is an understatement. While I believe that animals are better at not “giving in” to illnesses than humans, it doesn’t mean that they don’t feel just as miserable. Perhaps the dog did not NEED the antiinflammatory since the antibiotics were the muscle kicking it out of the system, but in the meantime, pain relief is only humane and helpful. When I’m sick, I may not take efforts to broadcast it to everyone in every single moment and if that dog did have any eager interactions, it was out of love of her owner and not because she was not hurting. I’d be hard pressed not to thump that owner in the nose!

    In my case, I’ve hit a point that I cannot keep doing nothing. After I get my lumpy puppy delumped and hopefully healthy, I want to start DOING more to help bring attention to this matter along with a few more issues in animal treatment. But something that does respect vets and the care they provide is essential. There should be more freedom in choice for both vets and owners, and animal treatment should not be compromised in light of costs, and none of us would be able to work for free regardless of how much we truly love our jobs or purpose. Anyone who wants to claim knowledge of a vet’s pay or income based on bill is being ridiculously blind. Even if they have never worked before in any company, surely there is enough world experience to understand that business is not run for free with 100% profit. The services in a vet office would have to include the regular rent/lease/mortgage pay, employee salaries, vet equip and supplies, meds, disposables such as paper and toilet paper, and a million other things. All this must come out of a very narrow margin usually given over the price of the medical supplies charged. It’s common sense–just the salaries alone of support staff needed to do all the work that the obvious employees such as vets and techs would have to be covered, which is impossibly high to consider if you take a moment to think before stating that a bill can give you insight to a salary.


    • Rayya Says:

      Dear Alisha,

      Thanks so much for your valuable input.
      The great detail you went through regarding costs of running a practice really put things into perspective.
      I definitely agree with the very important fact you highlighted: experiencing a similar medical problem gives you huge insight into what an animal may be going through.
      I look forward to your regular comments.



  37. Jane Says:

    I have been struggling with ‘quality or quantity’ in regard to my cat lately and feel angry with my vet for never taking into account how TRAUMATIC going to vet is for my cat. My cat is 13 and in end stage renal failure. I am not sure it’s worth his suffering to get his blood regularly tested, just so we can know what is going on exactly. He is dying and no amount of knowledge is going to change this fact. We can tweak his potassium and the amount of fluids we’re giving him, but what does that really mean for him and his quality of life? I did notice that you wrote, in response to another commenter, something like “put yourself in your pet’s place” as a rationale to get more intervention. I would pose the same question to address how horrible it is for some pets to endure being poked and prodded by strangers in a strange environment. It’s no small thing for them to be subjected to and I do feel my vet has no concept of it. My cat is unresponsive for hours after his vet visits. Pets are not people and do not know what is going on at the vet’s. They live in the moment and do not think about wanting to live longer to attend so-and-so’s graduation. (I know you know this but I want to say this to my own vet.) I have to say that I have never been given ‘options’ or been made to feel that any of this intervention is a choice. It’s always, “I have to see him in a week for blood tests.” And the cost is nuts. I spent $1,000 in two days last week. That is a lot of money to me. The lack of acknowledgement or even blinking of an eye at the cost does make pet owners suspicious. “This is a ton of money to me, but to you it seems like absolutely nothing. Why is that?” I believe being a vet is hard and that vets are unfairly demonized. However, I think there is something fundamentally wrong with the assumption that more is always better in terms of intervention. I think the big picture of quality of life is being ignored because the focus is on the immediate test that might be given to find out more information. Sorry this is rambling.


    • Rayya Says:

      Dear Jane. I can totally empathise with what you are saying. Sometimes as vets, we get so caught up with doing what’s medically best for our patient that we fail to see the bigger picture. I always make sure the decision is mutual as you, the owner, understand your pet best. Some animals can endure all the stresses involved with veterinary treatment, others can’t. With an irreversible disease like kidney failure, it’s very important to really consider the impact of excessive intervention. Ultimately, we don’t want to keep patients going just for the sake of it. We want them to age with dignity and to enjoy a somewhat decent quality of life until the end. Personally, I have had to step in many times and say to some of my clients, your pet has had enough, you should really be letting them go now.
      You know your cat best and have every right to make that huge decision of when it’s right to let her rest in peace. You have to share your opinion with your vet and have a discussion about your cat’s wellbeing and make a final decision together from an ethical, emotional and financial point of view. I hope this information helps. Please let me know how you get on.


      • Jennifer Winter Says:

        I know this is old, but for what it’s worth, I have dealt with overservicing by many veterinarians. The specific thing that bothers me the most is recommending a test be done that was just done very recently (as recently as 1 day ago) for no apparent reason (i.e., the animal is not experiencing any symptoms that would indicate that the test would come out abnormal, and if/when they do run the test, it always comes out normal just as it had the last time). Examples of this: having full bloodwork done on a cat (which we later found out had IBD but I had to self-diagnose her b/c 3 different vets didn’t) and then a few weeks later, when I wanted to take her to another veterinarian, being told by the new vet that they would need to do all of the same bloodwork over again, even though none of her symptoms had changed since she’d had the last tests done and all her #s had come out normal. After repeating all of the same bloodwork for no reason, they said then would be willing to charge me again for additional bloodwork to try to “rule out” other things. Why repeat bloodwork that’s just been done and that all came out normal? And the cat I had was extremely traumatized by having blood drawn, which I explained and had the reports sent to them, but they said it didn’t matter; they had to do all the same tests over again if we wanted our cat treated by them. Another example would be with a cat we have now, who has a condition called stomatitis, our family vet recommending that he extract his teeth, which he did and which did not solve the problem, the cat was still experiencing terrible pain and suffering when trying to eat just as he had before the extraction. Research online then indicated that the extraction needs to be done by a veterinary dentist, because regular veterinarians are not qualified to perform this procedure on cats with stomatitis and therefore it will not solve the problem if they perform it. So we end up paying thousands more dollars, on top of the several hundred we’ve already paid our family vet, to take him to vet dentist to perform the procedure the way it should have been done to solve the problem (i.e., remove the roots and all the teeth). Our family vet should have known he was not qualified to perform this procedure (and, I feel, may have known but purposely lied to get $$ out of us). Partly my fault for not doing research online prior to talking to our family vet, but at the time I still thought that vets told the truth and that we should listen to them. Another example would be a cat we have now was diagnosed as hyperthyroid and the vet who diagnosed her recommended we get chest x-rays to rule out any heart issues. We had the chest x-rays done and analyzed by a radiologist which indicated the heart structures were normal but she had pleural effusion and recommended a thoracocentesis and to analyze the fluid. The same vet (specialist) who had diagnosed her with hyperthyroid said we should have her checked by a cardiologist before we went forward with any hyperthyroid treatment. We had her checked by a cardiologist (who charged us hundreds of dollars just to tell us her heart was normal) and she said we’d have to take her elsewhere for thoracocentesis b/c it wasn’t a procedure she performed there. This cardiologist had the radiology report before seeing our cat, which clearly stated she had pleural effusion and that a thoracocentesis was recommended, so I’m not sure why she didn’t tell us she couldn’t perform that so we didn’t waste our time and $$ going there (and most importantly, stress on our poor cat who is traumatized by going to the vet and being in the cat carrier; this place was 1 hour away and my husband and I both had to take the day off work to go there). I’m also not sure why they told us we needed to see a cardiologist when the radiology report clearly states her heart structures are normal. After getting back from the cardiologist, I tried to schedule a thoracocentesis at a 24/7 “emergency” place and they told me they would need to 1st charge $125 for a physical exam (even though she’d literally just had a full physical exam done the day before at the cardiologists, and also the week prior at the thyroid clinic and a couple weeks prior to that at our family vet). All her numbers were normal all 3 times, BTW, and she was not behaving any differently or acting sick. I requested they not take her rectal temperature again b/c this is painful and traumatic for her and it was just done the day before and was normal and she had no indications of having a temperature. They said it didn’t matter, if they were going to see her as a patient, they had to do that b/c that’s just what they do for all new patients. Clearly they just want to take our $ (and/or to put our cat through additional trauma). If they cared so much about animals, they would not be repeating procedures that literally have just been done, and have tested normal, and for which there are no signs/symptoms indicating the test needs to be done. I don’t even care so much about the $$, but please don’t put cats through unnecessary procedures that are uncomfortable and/or painful for them because they are just innocent animals and don’t even understand what’s going on. Only do what is absolutely necessary, and that should be based on signs and symptoms (and/or numbers that have come out abnormal in the past). I’ve even told some of them they can charge me if they want, but I’d prefer they don’t do a procedure that has just been done, but they always insist they must perform it, often saying it’s just part of their standard protocol. (I always make sure they are forwarded all the paperwork from the other vets, BTW, so it’s not that they don’t have the #s). After the cats we have now pass away I’m not planning on getting any more – too expensive and we cannot seem to find anyone who truly wants to help them and not torment them with numerous tests and treatments that are unnecessary. It seems they all either want our $$ and don’t care, or worse, some of them seem to enjoy seeing cats suffer. Maybe they like dogs but hate cats, which is what I suspect about a lot of veterinarians who probably just really, really, love dogs (this is what we see in the general population anyway, so why would veterinarians be any different, they are human beings too). To sum up, though, yes I have run into numerous instances of veterinarians attempting to overtreat (and especially, overtest), at least in cats. In fact, I haven’t run into one yet who hasn’t but I’d love to find one.

  38. queenbofob Says:

    I have had the same sort of issues, Jennifer Winter. Last year, my 19yr old cat’s back legs started going out. I took her to the little skank of a vet I’d been using for the past year and a half. Actually it was one of her associates, who didn’t know what was wrong. I went back 3 times, saw 3 different vets, paid for x-rays (one told me they couldn’t read them anyway?!?), shots, pills, exams, to the tune of $1000. My beloved cat ended up dying 6mos. later, When I took one of my dogs in, to the skank who owns the practice, she asked me how my cat was. I told her, that she’d passed a way 2mos ago. All the money grubbing skank said was “well, no one told ME.” Not one word of condolences and of course I never even received a card or email, regarding that. BUT, they can sure stalk me with postcards, texts, ph.calls and emails to remind me to come back in, for a wellness exam!! TOTAL TRASH.
    So, I changed vets and started using a bonafide IDIOT. One of my Toy Poodles developed diarrhea. This IDIOT charge me $1000 for test, wanted to do another $700 worth of testing–NOTHING at all prescribed for her condition, which kept worsening and she kept getting weaker, she’s 13yrs old. Okay, so IDIOT then tells me she had Pancreatitis and Protein Losing Enteropathy. *B.S.* I took her to the vet specialty urgent care place and they said none of her symptoms fit that diagnosis. So, it was another $240 to find out, that the IDIOT didn’t know what he was talking about, which I suspected. I am now treating her with Slippery Elm and a probiotic from the specialty place (I have an appt., but it’s not for mos. as they are so booked up). But, she is doing so much better, the diarrhea is under control, no more waking up to poop all over my house and laying awake at nite worried sick about my little baby. She also has all the signs of low thyroid–dry skin, darkened patches, frequent ear infections (I’m now giving her a homeopathic remedy for it). Which leads me to ask, WHAT THE HE!! HAVE I BEEN PAYING ALL THOS WELLNESS EXAM FEES FOR? Obviously, it’s nothing more than a money grab!! Especially, when they miss something so apparent. First, skank missed it and then the idiot missed it. UNBELIEVABLE. It’s one thing, if I was going to some low-budget place and fighting every charge!! But, these money hungry dirtbags are just profiting of my pet’s suffering and MY stupidity, in trusting them.



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