Why I'm Filing a Complaint against a vet

I know even an emergency animal clinic is a business. I know that businesses need to make money. I know that avian care is expensive, but I recently experienced something completely repulsive. My father recently had a medical emergency. I made the trip back to Toledo with all five of my birds to spend some time with him after he was released from the hospital. Everything was fine. Everyone fared the car ride well, and nothing seemed wrong. Then I came home from lunch one day and found my girl parakeet at the bottom of the cage. She was all puffed up. I checked all the usual suspects. She didn’t have an nasal discharge, there was not change in her…um well…excrement, and actually when I got her out of the cage she started to perk back up. Then it happened, she had a seizure. We are guessing she had at least one while we were gone, and that is why she wasn’t herself. We called my parents’ vet and they referred us to an Emergency Animal Clinic about 30 minutes away. We made there in 20, but she had another seizure in route. At first the vet just told me she was underweight and stressed from the car ride. I had only had her for a short time and it had taken time to get her on to a good diet, so under weight I understood. However, she hadn’t seemed stressed before that point in the game. She told me they ran some additional tests, and that they were going to send her home with some fortified food for me to feed her. Then the story changed to she was having seizures when she had another one. Shortly after she came back around, she had another one.
This is where things get murky. The Reader’s Digest version is. The vet told me she perked back up after the last surgery, the vet had started two treatments to help treat the seizures, and it was recommended I admit her for observation. Based on that information, I agreed to admit her. An hour later, something just didn’t sit right with me. I went back to the clinic and asked additional questions I had been in too much shock to ask before. These are things the vet should have been upfront with me about. The truth was Chloe never really did come around after the last seizure and she was unresponsive. They had given her a valium shot to make her more comfortable, but it could wear off at any time and she would have another one. Actually, it was doubtful she would make it through the night. She knew ALL of this after the last seizure, before she administered the treatments, and before she talked to me. Had she told me all of this, I never would have allowed her to be admitted and I would have ended her suffering.
When you call the Clinic they tell you that the exam is $75 and that they will give you an estimate before giving any more treatments. I actually SAW the form you are supposed to sign to authorize additional work. So explain to me why my bill looked like this:
Charges I approved without question:
The initial exam fee: $75
Fee to put her to sleep
Fee to have her cremated
Charges I didn’t approve, but can’t be too totally upset about:
2 different tests to determine if the seizures were caused by a bacterial infection
Charges I approved, but would not have had I known the truth:
4 hours of hospitalization…when I only used 2 and 30-45 minutes of that was waiting to see the vet again
Charges I never said were okay, and I can’t rationalize:
Treatments for lead poisoning and malnutrition…administered after the second seizure and they knew she was going to die…in my mind this was like giving a late stage cancer patient
Valium Shot
The charges I never approved were at least 1/3 of the total bill. Add on that hospitalization charge, and we are well over half the bill. Yes, I would have approved anything that could have saved Chloe’s life. I know how expensive avian vets are…but when the charges were tacked on with out permission and in some cases just to charge more money, that is unethical.
It turns out, this isn’t the first time this has happened at this clinic. They have preyed on unsuspecting pet owners, and let the pets they are supposed to be helping suffer longer than needed. It is how they make their money.
It just makes me angry…the people who are supposed to be trusted to care for our animals…who to some people are our children and they are just trying to make a profit. I always knew there were places like this, but it is totally surreal to experience their betrayal first hand.
I leave you with this advice: If you do need to go to a vet you do not know, please make sure you ask the right questions. No one wants to put their pet down, but if they are keeping said pet alive just to make money, that is inhumane.


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