CHERRY HILL, NJ (WPVI) — If you’re a pet owner, Action News troubleshooters have important information before you take your furry friend to their next vet visit.
A Cherry Hill woman says she paid thousands more than necessary and wants others to avoid the same mistake.
“Ernie is my rescue dog,” said Jacqueline Canter. “He’s around 14 and he has a problematic left eye.”
Canter said last month that Ernie’s eye was protruding from its socket, so she took him to an emergency animal hospital where the vet advised the eye be removed.
“I said, okay, crying. They brought a quote and said, ‘You have to sign that quote. “”
Canter signed it and Ernie had surgery. But on the way home, Canter began to have doubts about the prize.
“I started saying that sounds crazy. It sounds like a crazy number,” she said.
Canter said the bill ultimately met the estimate: $4,298.64.
“She said you signed the quote. If you had a problem with the price, you should have said so right away,” she said. “We would have told you we could have cut the cost or you could have gone to your vet, but you didn’t and now it’s too late.”
Canter said her own vet told her the procedure would have cost $1,500, not the $4,300 she paid at the emergency hospital. When Action News called local vets, prices ranged from $1,450 to $2,571.
“Prices vary widely from firm to firm,” said Kevin Brasler of Checkbook Magazine.
Undercover Checkbook shoppers found big price differences for a number of procedures.
For example, to neuter a six-month-old cat without hospitalization, prices ranged from $186 to $956.
The good news is that Checkbook said you don’t have to pay more to get good care. But there are three things you need to do before accepting treatment.
First, get a written treatment plan from your veterinarian with a price breakdown. Then get a second opinion.
“Sometimes you may find that the procedure recommended by one provider is not recommended by another or that there is a different treatment,” Brasler said.
After deciding on a treatment plan, call around to compare prices.
“You have to make sure the prices include everything. They include medications and follow-up visits and things like that,” he said.
It’s a lesson Canter wants to pass on to others.
“I felt really taken advantage of because I felt stupid,” she said. “If someone says your pet needs this, you’ll do anything to pass it on to your pet.”
The animal hospital said Ernie’s procedure was not routine and the doctor spent a lot of time going through all the procedures before admission.
Still, Canter said she will now ask important questions, such as should the surgery be done immediately? And can I do this somewhere else for less or is there a way to reduce the bill?
To help viewers find high quality, reasonably priced vets in the area:
The link will be active until November 1, 2022.
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