As I know (from comments and e mails) that many of you are interested, here is a short update on the condition of my poorly dog, Ollie. I felt it was necessary to take him to the Vet this morning, even though my dealings with any Vet in the past have always left me uneasy. I cannot justify the huge costs, for what is often a very short visit, and for what is sometimes the most minor treatment. I understand that to be a Vet, is an expensive proposition. Years of study, post-graduate qualifications, and acceptance into a busy practice, often for a large fee. It all adds up. They probably don’t start earning a decent salary (by Vet standards, of course, not by normal ones) until they are into their late twenties. This leaves them with a fair bit of catching up to do, at our expense.
Don’t get me wrong, I want the best care for my dog, and I don’t want him to suffer, or to be in any discomfort. But this is probably the closest we ever get, to seeing private healthcare as it really is, in countries where it is often the only decent option. As we only have the Vet’s word for what is wrong, we pay up, listen to the necessary medications prescribed, and return as instructed, for follow-up treatments. I just have a niggling doubt that a lot of it is unnecessary, and done to increase the bill at the end. If you question the charges, they rattle off the cost of all the tests and anaesthetics, making you feel guilty about not wanting the best for your pet. In extreme circumstances, they invite you to take your pet off their books, and start all over with a different Vet. Same prices though. Maybe it is just me, but I would like to see them looking a bit more worried about the dog, and less worried that I have the means to pay. Of course, I don’t expect them to work for free, just for a little less.
I digress. Ollie was kept in, to have a general anaesthetic. He was unlikely to sit still for a proper examination and treatment, even if muzzled. Even before she agreed this, the Vet immediately began to estimate future costs, should her initial treatment prove to be unsuccessful. With only a cursory glance at the dog, she began to quote me hundreds of pounds for future surgery, that might be needed, to create a proper stump on his tail. After three hours had passed, I went to collect him. I had to pay before even seeing him, and it was a hefty bill, for treatment lasting less than an hour, then letting him sleep somewhere, for two more. He has a huge bandage on his tail, which was shaved and cleaned. Antibiotics have been administered, and I had to buy more, as well as pain killers, to take home. He has slept all the rest of the time, feeling most sorry for himself.
We have to go back on Wednesday, to have the dressing changed, and to see if more surgery will be needed. I hope that I am proved wrong, I really do, but I have the feeling that he will be requiring that extra surgery, after all.
If you have a child, bright and studious, but unsure of the path to take in life, recommend being a Vet.