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I've been reading DogForum for a long time, even though I'm new to posting. By and large, this is a great community of intelligent, compassionate contributors.

That said, I've found a troubling number of posts demonizing veterinarians as "greedy" or "corrupt." As someone married to a veterinarian, I'd like to take a minute to address a few things about the field:

1) Vets incur an incredible amount of debt to do what they do. There are ONLY 28 vet programs in the US (compared to 141 for human doctors), which makes admission to these programs incredibly difficult. My wife was fortunate to be accepted on her first application, but many in her class took 2-3 years to get in simply because programs are so small. Additionally, vet programs are very expensive to run. As a result, her education cost us roughly $180,000 over four years. That's an extra mortgage every month.

2) Vets don't make much money, especially when you consider the 8+ years of school and $180,000 in student loans they're taking on. The average starting salary in the U.S. is about $65,000, and the average of ALL vets (new, mid-career, and senior) is about $87,500 (source). Compare this to the $180/year human doctors make on average, and you'll see that this is a labor of love (as clearly, those accepted to much more competitive veterinary medicine programs would be shoo-ins for human medicine programs if they had opted down that path).

3) Medical care is expensive. When you visit a vet clinic, you're likely greeted by a receptionist. You then meet a vet tech, and a doctor. In the back of the clinic, other technicians are running lab work, ordering medicine, and completing other tasks as requisite to keep the clinic open. All of these people must exist for a vet clinic to run in a smooth and orderly fashion (we've seen, firsthand, clinics that tried to stretch a doctor and receptionist for every task, and it doesn't work). All of these people need to earn salaries if your animal is going to have care available to it. And, then you're looking at $400,000 in equipment for even the most basic of clinics—X-ray, ultrasound, ventilators, surgical tools, etc. A clinic can't run without them.

So, at the end of the day, my wife brings home 1/2 of a doctor's salary to provide a wider set of services to several different species—while being strapped with an extra mortgage—for the honor of being told she's corrupt.:ponder:

Again, medical care is expensive, and it sucks when an animal gets sick. But, if you're not in a position to handle an expensive and time-consuming surgery, you should make sure you pay for a monthly pet insurance plan that covers it for you (yes, these exist).
 

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Honestly, most regular members here appreciate their veterinarians and aren't the people posting that vets as a whole are greedy or corrupt. Tends to be random people that join just to vent and then don't really come back or stay for long. ;)
 

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I think most vets are amazing. But it is a fact of life that in any group of professionals there will be a few bad apples, in it for themselves and not for their clients/patients. No one should judge the profession by these bad apples, but if someone has actually had a bad experience, it is helpful to let them vent in a safe community like this one.
 

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There are vets and then there are wonderful vets. I don't see this any different than most all occupations and the ones who fill these jobs.

I've had wonderful experiences with some of the vets I have used over the decades and unfortunately a few horrible experiences as well. Making sweeping generalizations of all veterinarians would be incorrect obviously. I guess it is up to me to decide which vet is best for my dog's needs.
 

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I've been reading DogForum for a long time, even though I'm new to posting. By and large, this is a great community of intelligent, compassionate contributors.

That said, I've found a troubling number of posts demonizing veterinarians as "greedy" or "corrupt." As someone married to a veterinarian, I'd like to take a minute to address a few things about the field:

1) Vets incur an incredible amount of debt to do what they do. There are ONLY 28 vet programs in the US (compared to 141 for human doctors), which makes admission to these programs incredibly difficult. My wife was fortunate to be accepted on her first application, but many in her class took 2-3 years to get in simply because programs are so small. Additionally, vet programs are very expensive to run. As a result, her education cost us roughly $180,000 over four years. That's an extra mortgage every month.

2) Vets don't make much money, especially when you consider the 8+ years of school and $180,000 in student loans they're taking on. The average starting salary in the U.S. is about $65,000, and the average of ALL vets (new, mid-career, and senior) is about $87,500 (source). Compare this to the $180/year human doctors make on average, and you'll see that this is a labor of love (as clearly, those accepted to much more competitive veterinary medicine programs would be shoo-ins for human medicine programs if they had opted down that path).

3) Medical care is expensive. When you visit a vet clinic, you're likely greeted by a receptionist. You then meet a vet tech, and a doctor. In the back of the clinic, other technicians are running lab work, ordering medicine, and completing other tasks as requisite to keep the clinic open. All of these people must exist for a vet clinic to run in a smooth and orderly fashion (we've seen, firsthand, clinics that tried to stretch a doctor and receptionist for every task, and it doesn't work). All of these people need to earn salaries if your animal is going to have care available to it. And, then you're looking at $400,000 in equipment for even the most basic of clinics—X-ray, ultrasound, ventilators, surgical tools, etc. A clinic can't run without them.

So, at the end of the day, my wife brings home 1/2 of a doctor's salary to provide a wider set of services to several different species—while being strapped with an extra mortgage—for the honor of being told she's corrupt.:ponder:

Again, medical care is expensive, and it sucks when an animal gets sick. But, if you're not in a position to handle an expensive and time-consuming surgery, you should make sure you pay for a monthly pet insurance plan that covers it for you (yes, these exist).
With all due respect, does your wife not find her occupation fulfilling? I would venture that many of us in here do not feel appreciated in our professions at times, it's just how it is as we live with our choices and pursuits. I'm hearing too many $$$$$ complaints in your rant and by no means is being a vet have the exclusive right to that complaint. I would like to think that many a vet's choice in their vocation is somewhat their avocation as well. Life's not so bad when one has that going for them.
 

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I love my vet. She's great with my dogs and my cat and is always very helpful and thorough.

I did however switch from a vet that I didn't care for...she wasn't so much greedy and corrupt as her practice was terribly run and she was reluctant to do certain things (like run bloodwork) even when I requested it specifically. When I switched vets they said that was the first thing they'd do to make sure that things were running smoothly.

I think there are good and bad individuals in EVERY profession and we just have to find the best that works for us as clients. Personally I like a vet that is going to listen to my concerns instead of writing them off as silly, like my previous vet did.

I will say though that I've worked with vets in my job from a professional standpoint...my office puts in conferences, several of which are vet based as we are a college with a vet program. Some of them are AWESOME and I love talking to them and meeting them. Others can be downright rude and nasty, as I am sure is true of human doctors as well.
 

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I love my vet. She really tries to find the root of the problems, and always remembers every detail about my dogs. I also don't do a normal vaccinating plan, and only vaccinate my puppies and then every 3 years or so. I explained that to her, and she accepted it and has never once pressured me to do otherwise. She also doesn't try to sell me pointless crap and bad food, and keeps costs as low as she can while doing a great job.
 

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I know my vet isn't gouging people, plus she lets people have payment plans...whereas most vets now want paid up front and in full before they will set a dog's broken let or something.

My dog HaHa, might end up with an operation to staple his stomach to his ribs to keep it from flipping if he bloats. I looked up the average cost of that operation and it's about $1,200 - my vet told me she could do it for $300.00

So, yeah, there are vet out there making more money, but I don't have that big of an issue with it....most people don't work their butts off for free - and a lot of vets end up fielding calls 24/7 and I, personally can't imagine having to go to bed every night and knowing there's a decent chance that at 2am, someone's going to call in about a sick pet.

I think my vet is on the exteme side of almost doing charity work (which she does that too...offers free spaying and neutering once a year for as many pets as she can do in two days). And on the other end, there are vets who are very pricey with their services. I think though on whole, most vets are modest in their prices, and again, I find nothing wrong with someone trying to make enough money to have a comfortable life.

Stormy
 

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My dog HaHa, might end up with an operation to staple his stomach to his ribs to keep it from flipping if he bloats.
Stormy
I'm sure you already know this and/or may not apply to your particular situation but getting a gastropexy performed while the dog is being speutered is so much cheaper. Plus, one less time the dog is under anesthesia which is always a good thing.

I'm guessing you are aware of this or maybe left Haha intact so the opportunity never existed.
 

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HaHa was neutered before I got him. He's 5 now, and I adopted him from the shelter when he was 2 years old - he had been at the shelter for a year at that point.

I had him for over a year and finally after several incidents, I realized HaHa was prone to bloat. I try to keep his meals very small and just feed him more often through out the day. But still, sometimes he ends up distressed and hurting because of gas build up - usually an alka seltzer or a gas-x pill will solve the problem.

My vet was the one who said that while it wouldn't prevent bloat, that anchoring his stomach to his ribs as a preventative measure could at least eliminate the chance of his stomach flipping if he really bloated bad some day.

And yeah, when, if safe and possible, I've always had my vets do what they could for my pets while they were in surgery.

Like with one of my dogs, he needed a rather large fatty tumor removed that was interfering with his leg moving. So while he was out, he also got his teeth cleaned, and a wart taken from his eye lid, and one dew claw removed because the nail on it was always growing in such a tight circle and curved inward where the tip of the nail was digging into his skin - cutting it was near impossible without hitting the quick too. So taking it off was the best solution.

Also, my vet, will allow certain owners to watch surgeries on their pets if they wish. I had a little dog named Shilo who had her tail broke in a door when one of my niece shut the door before Shilo was all the way inside. about 3 inches of her tail needed amputated, and I was able to be there and watch and even hold the gas mask on Shilo while my vet did the amputation.

Some people just can't handle that kind of stuff, but I found it interesting, and I'm not one to let my emotions get in the way when things need done, and my vet knows that. So I was glad she asked, and gave me the opportunity to see a surgery. I kind of thought it made me feel less helpless too, being there for my dog and holding her while she went under and holding on to the mask and such.

Stormy
 

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Discussion Starter #11
With all due respect, does your wife not find her occupation fulfilling? I would venture that many of us in here do not feel appreciated in our professions at times, it's just how it is as we live with our choices and pursuits. I'm hearing too many $$$$$ complaints in your rant and by no means is being a vet have the exclusive right to that complaint. I would like to think that many a vet's choice in their vocation is somewhat their avocation as well. Life's not so bad when one has that going for them.
Great note—I didn't aim to complain about money on OUR end; I had only brought up the figures as a way to explain why vet costs can be higher than people expect (there's a lot of investment in education, infrastructure, and staff that needs to be accounted for). Thanks for offering the opportunity to clarify.

My wife, coincidentally, would never complain about any aspect of her job. She's one of the few people I know who is actually excited to go to work each morning. I tend to be a little protective, and opened this chain after reading several back-to-back posts today about "corrupt" vets charging so much money. Good to see the community rally so positively around vets, actually, so this thread did make me feel better!
 

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Here's something that bugs me: Part of the reason that schooling for vets/dentists/doctors is so expensive it because medical schooling is a cash cow. Sure, a portion of costs must go to cover equipment and pay professors-- but you could say the same of a nursing school or a vet/dental assistant program. The people who determine the cost of vet/med/dental school are professionals, themselves. I went to school with several children of profs at med and dental schools. They are not by any means living a modest life.

So all that said, vets are really only as "corrupt" as doctors, dentists or lawyers... There are ones that charge extortionate amounts for services that are inexpensive or poorly performed. There are expensive vets that charge high amounts for fantastic care. And there are affordable vets that charge little for great care-- and lastly, affordable vets where you get what you pay for.

The good news is that this is the age of the internet... Shop around, compare prices, read reviews and consult facebook groups. The power is at our fingertips to get the best bang for our buck. If you don't like what a vet is charging you or the job they do, take your business elsewhere. There's lots of fantastic, passionate and brilliant vets out there.
 

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I've found a troubling number of posts demonizing veterinarians as "greedy" or "corrupt." As someone married to a veterinarian, I'd like to take a minute to address a few things about the field
No, we aren't demonizing all vets as greedy and corrupt. We're generally sharing real life individual stories of actual greedy and corrupt vets who have given us and our animals really poor care. As you can see, a lot of us love the vets we currently have. I do love the vet I have now, because he (and his unfortunately former colleague) would actually spend time with the animals, get to know them, and be willing to talk about the issues.

Just because your wife is presumably a good vet and not buying yachts with her practice's funds that doesn't mean there are not some really terrible vets out there. In fact I find this entire post really patronizing. I don't think anyone is on here saying all veterinarians are horrible people, but just referring to actual experiences we have had. I mean for God's sake one of my Doxies got SARCOPTIC MANGE at the vet's office and the fool was treating him for "allergies" with prednisone for an entire year until he realized it, you know after the poor dog's immune system was shot. Then another vet ignored the foreign objects lodged in his paws for so long it nearly went septic and he ended up having to be put down just because of a paw infection and his body was so shot. Do I think that because of this all vets are awful? Of course not. But don't go on complaining that vets are some persecuted group just because we sometimes need to vent about poor care. And also I will say that the majority of vets who charge a lot, also give really crappy service. My fantastic vet who gives some of the best care in the state? Extremely affordable and generous, as well as excellent medical care. So I think you need to realize who we're on about and why we say these things.
 

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Vets are people, and as such, some are easier to 'bond' to and trust. Some go the extra distance, because they truly love what they do and the animals they take care of. Like members of any profession, doctors, attorneys etc. some just seem to have been born to do what they do, some not so much. If you don't like your Vet, there are others out there, and IMO its important to really trust that your Vet does everything possible that is in your pets best interest.
 

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My fantastic vet who gives some of the best care in the state? Extremely affordable and generous, as well as excellent medical care. So I think you need to realize who we're on about and why we say these things.
This is totally the case with Toby's vet... An extremely compassionate guy with great discretion, and he's always trying to save people money. He actually won a human rights tribunal complaint when a few of the "old boys" in town tried to have his license suspended because he doesn't speak fluent english... The bad blood probably came because he is the only vet in town with a low cost spay/neuter program to control pet population, one seen as highly competitive by other vets.

Anyways, this guy my family has been with since day 1, in the first year that his clinic was open. Took him about a decade longer than most vets, but he still got his Lexus. And he deserves it.

And because he was so kind to my dog when he was mauled by another dog (my family had adopted him 4 weeks previously, and our vet funds were low), I refer him to my clients all the time. What goes around comes around!
 

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Small town "politics" affected my vet.... (the population here is about 3,000)

When she came my town many years ago and offered free spaying and neutering for 2 days each year. She also offered a lot of free services to the animal shelter, who for the most part loved it...but also...one of the owners of the 'other clinic' in town was on the board of the shelter and they were not happy.

The other vet clinic, did do a few free things, and offered 'pretty low cost' vet service to the animal shelter...but nothing like what the new vet was doing....she was doing a LOT of free and Super low cost stuff for the shelter and private animal owners. That ticked the other clinic off, because they said she was killing their profits...and no one was making money.

The owner that was on the board of the animal shelter got into it with others on the board over the fact that they got 'free money...donations' and should thus use the money to support the community business....which meant...one she owned part of....lol. The thing was, she has friends who supported her...and the animal shelter board had a big falling out and it took well over a year for the smoke to clear.

My vet though, she never backed down and I heard from someone at the shelter that they think that the vet actually helped the 'border line' pet owners...the ones who might not have taken a pet in, due to the idea of having to spend some money on their pets. So that once they visit the one time, and get use to paying a vet bill on occasion, they are more apt to take their pet in again if something happens rather than hold off and wait and see if it clears/heals up on it's own.

Both clinics btw are still doing a thriving business. The part owner of the one clinic still helps with the shelter for fund raisers but no longer serves on the board.
Still, there are a few in town who really dislike my vet because of her charity work.

Kind of proves the point of 'no good deed goes unpunished'
And also that some people have very different ideas of what is charitable when it comes to their profit margins :p

Stormy
 

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Just because your wife is presumably a good vet and not buying yachts with her practice's funds that doesn't mean there are not some really terrible vets out there. In fact I find this entire post really patronizing.
My apologies, that wasn't my goal. I was trying to address a few earlier comments I saw today (without getting into a specific, infuriating chain with those individuals). I think what you're seeing as patronizing is my attempt at providing concrete details and examples. Perhaps you knew these details in advance.

I don't think anyone is on here saying all veterinarians are horrible people.
The posts I was reading were sufficiently broad that I might disagree with this one. Certainly, no one in this chain has suggested that, which I appreciate. As I mentioned in a previous post, this thread and the general support for veterinary work has been helpful in proving this community isn't as negative as my recent experiences indicated.

"..don't go on complaining that vets are some persecuted group just because we sometimes need to vent about poor care...I think you need to realize who we're on about and why we say these things.
You seem like a reasonable person trying to make reasonable points. As such, this thread wasn't directed at you. Thanks for offering an opportunity to clarify!
 

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There are amazing vets out there, others not so much. A good one sets the bar for the rest.

In the last 4 years, we went through 6 vets trying to get a diagnosis. I'm sorry, but much of it is "here's my opinion, pay me". I appreciate high overhead, but with the last 2 vet offices, it was like walking into a Chevy dealership. Never experienced vets with high pressure sales before.

Current vet is amazing, she went through all the history before our appointment, actually read the 2 pages of symptoms that other vets ignored. Took a half hour to discuss treatment options and we had 100% turnaround in the dog. She would call in the evening periodically asking how the pup is doing. Have to admit, that sets the bar pretty high.
 

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I was trying to address a few earlier comments I saw today (without getting into a specific, infuriating chain with those individuals).
Maybe that's the problem. If you have issues with a few people, you can call them out.

That said, I've found a troubling number of posts demonizing veterinarians as "greedy" or "corrupt." As someone married to a veterinarian, I'd like to take a minute to address a few things about the field:
The problem with that general approach addressing all of us is that it is not going to affect those who make unfair allegations, because if they are unfair, they aren't going to listen.
And it isn't going to affect those who might be describing veterinarians as greedy or corrupt if their actual experience was that the veterinarian actually fit that description.

I personally worked in the medical profession, and most doctors do the best they can, and a few are incompetent, and a few are actually evil.
I applaud the current trend to talk about and rate one's experiences, for way too long, because most doctors were good, people never questioned any of them, treated them like gods. And then when those people (or their spouse or child) drew the short straw and got an evil one, they were SOL.

Our dogs don't deserve to be SOL. They depend on us for everything.
 

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All I have ever done is work for vets, both small and large. Being an equine vet tech, I can say on average, small animal vets make more as far as monetarily. But, the head vet/owner of the practice has been an equine vet for 43 years, has invested etc... and is a multi millionair. So, depending on where you are, and with years under your belt the pay can go up pretty high. However, you are correct that they don't make what human doctors do. But again, it could depend on your location as well.

My only issue with vets, is that I don't agree with their knowledge of nutrition, considering they get so little in school, and what do get comes from large kibble companies like Purina and Iams. I feed raw, and even at a perfect vet check, when they find out I feed raw, they want to put my dogs on kibble. That doesn't happen with me. Otherwise, I have no problem with vets. I know so many, and respect them all.
 
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