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Letter: Fleeced in Mid-winter, At the Mercy of a Vet’s Bill

Published on: 20 Dec, 2022
Updated on: 20 Dec, 2022

From: Lorimer Burn

On Saturday evening (December 17), my border collie stole and ate the remaining third of our Christmas cake.

Now raisins are very dangerous for dogs, so it was a call to the “Out of Hours” emergency vet, a 15-minute car journey, an injection to make him sick (he was very sick), and the problem was solved.

But the cost? £457! This includes a consultation charge of £265 and £81 for the injection of Emedog plus many sundries and, of course, 20 per cent VAT.

I find these charges astonishing. The difficulty is you only call the “Out of Hours” vet if you have an emergency with a pet, so it is akin to a monopoly. One has to pay, no matter how preposterous the charge.

Is there no regulation regarding these sky-high charges? Two years ago I had to use the service and the consultation charge was £190, showing a 40 per cent increase in two years.

My dog’s life has been saved but I feel I’ve been fleeced all the same.

Editor’s response: Please see the Which webpage “I’m not happy with the fees my vet is charging, what can I do?”

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test 4 Responses to Letter: Fleeced in Mid-winter, At the Mercy of a Vet’s Bill

  1. Paul Robinson Reply

    December 21, 2022 at 2:23 pm

    Unfortunately, many local vets are being bought out by private equity firms as they take advantage of the increase in pet ownership since the pandemic. In fact, one such firm in their annual report referred to their veterinary interests as the “CGU” – Cash Generating Unit!

    The vet practice I have used for over 40 years was taken over by one of these private equity vets a couple of years ago and within a couple of months all the staff, bar the original owner, left. One former receptionist told me the vets now get questioned if they spend more than 10 minutes with a client. I have now left them and gone to an independent practice.

  2. Keith Francis Reply

    December 21, 2022 at 10:19 pm

    I’ve known several dogs eat Christmas food including a whole cake by a flat-coated retriever and mince pies by a golden retriever.

  3. John Perkins Reply

    December 23, 2022 at 11:26 am

    Our previously excellent local veterinary practice joined the ranks of purely commercial enterprises a few years ago. Most of the staff left and the vets were replaced by some straight out of college.

    Their answer to every problem was to take blood tests, invariably there were five and they cost £70 each – as much as a normal visit used to cost. A month later they wanted another five (another £350) in order to measure progress. And again after another month. They were very insistent, so now we go elsewhere.

    The problem is animal owners are now expected to buy insurance, which can be exploited by vets. Those with older rescue animals are excluded.

    • Paul Robinson Reply

      December 23, 2022 at 3:34 pm

      In a lot of cases when you are ‘renewing’ your policy for another year you are in fact taking out a brand new policy that won’t cover anything you may have needed to claim for during the previous year – a pre-existing condition.

      I stopped paying for insurance several years ago when for my two dogs at renewal they wanted £100 pm each. Now I put money away each month in a ‘vet care’ savings account.

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