June 1, 2008

20 ways to cut vet costs

Below is the text of the article from Consumer Reports : 20 ways to cut vet costs
Its from July 2003 but the tips are just as good now.


1. Pay vet bills of $50 or more by credit card. That gives you federal Fair Credit Billing Act rights to dispute a bill for unsatisfactory service, which you don't otherwise have.

2. Choose a vet before you need one. Ask for price quotes for annual exams plus nonroutine big-ticket items, such as repair of a broken limb, surgery rate per hour, and gastrotomy.

3. Ask for discounts. More than 60 percent of vets cut the cost of annual checkups if you bring three or more pets; nearly half offer a 10 percent discount for senior citizens.

4. Talk to your vet about giving booster shots every three years instead of annually.

5. Check prices for shots and spay/neuter services at a humane society or SPCA, which can be less expensive than a vet. Some also provide free or low-cost services to low-income and senior-citizen pet owners.

6. Keep copies of all itemized bills and health records in one folder so you can easily change vets if necessary.

7. If you must use a higher-priced emergency veterinary hospital after hours, schedule follow-up visits with your regular vet during business hours.

8. Get a second opinion before approving pricey treatments.

9. Research pet disorders and consult a good pet-health-care reference. The detailed Merck Veterinary Manual is free online at www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index.jsp.


10. Ask for a written prescription from your vet so you can shop for the best price.

11. Shop for pet drugs at regular pharmacies, which often beat vet prices. But don't dispense drugs from your medicine cabinet without consulting your vet. Ibuprofen can kill a dog; acetaminophen, a cat.

12. Ask your vet to prescribe a generic drug when possible. And buy in bulk drugs that you will be refilling long term.


13. Get a cat. They have fewer serious health problems and genetic diseases than dogs.

14. Exercise your pet, and don't overfeed it.

15. To fight tartar and plaque, buy dry cat or dog food or specially formulated treats. Check teeth for fractures and gums for bleeding. Treat dental disorders so bacteria don't spread and cause bigger problems.

16. Keep pets fenced or leashed when outdoors to prevent them from getting hit by a car.

17. Store drugs and chemicals out of your pet's reach.

18. Ask your vet about giving your pet heartworm drugs.

19. Use a flea and tick product.

20. Choose your breed and breeder carefully to reduce the risk of genetic disorders.

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