Vet prices

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Aug 2, 2012
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Lancaster, NH
I just had a new vet come to do shots and on my bill they charged $2 a minute for the call, I have never had a vet charge like this. They did have a road call fee also. Anybody else get charged like this???
I don't think our vets charge by the minute--we pay a mileage fee (12 miles from town) plus whatever fee the vet charges for the service performed. I don't know what they charged for giving vaccines, because I haven't had a vet do that for years & years & years--we give our own. Whether they charge by the minute or by the service it probably all works out about the same.
I would call the vets office and see if that is standard procedure and ask why that is.....I've never been charged like that either, just a $60 farm call fee
We live in the sticks, so get charged mileage for the vet to come, plus whatever their prices are for each procedure they do while here. I usually do my own shots, so don't know what the charges would be for that, I know it's not just the cost of the vaccine purchase, they do need to charge a little for their time. When I lived closer to town, there was just a flat farm call fee.
I would agree with LWR....I have never heard of a vet charging by the minute.
Never heard of it but as an independent contractor myself, charging by the minute (or hour) makes a lot of sense. It is what I prefer. Now I wish my vet charged by the mile because he lives on the next street, but no, a standard farm call fee! But if he charged by the minute it would not be good because he loves to chat!! Lots of times he is done in a few minutes and then stays another half hour or so to talk. I say if you like the vet and the charges seem reasonable, that's what counts.
I pay at least $75 for a farm call... But by the minute sounds like a good way to keep clients from distracting the vet and making later appointments from being too late. I know my vets have trouble staying on time because previous appointments schedule a vaccination and then say "while you're here..." And then I'm waiting at my barn for hours on end still waiting for my scheduled appointment. Innovative I guess!
We had a vet once that started charging by the minute... Hmmmmm Office shut down, all the good vets left, and they are not doing well financially. Folks hated the charge by time. So did the vets that worked there... some idea cooked up by the crabby office manager (wife of owner) to keep the vets that worked for them from chatting so much with the clients during an office call. It didn't work and most folks looked elsewhere. Who wants a vet that charges for time and education of the client. sheesh. dumb idea. I would never use a vet that charged by time. I am so chatty I would bankrupt myself. haha.

My vets love us. I get ready early and save time on the front end of the appointment. If they are busy and can't chat they say so. great relationship. I wouldn't trust a vet that was so concerned with money they would have that policy... Kind of like saying... "hey, if I blow through this appointment you will save money"... just think of how much will be lost in the information available to them by talking to the owner of the animal. just my opinion.
That is CHEAP - so long as they arent marking up vaccines, supplies, etc up as high as everyone else.

My cow vet charges $185 an hour no matter what he's doing whether it be herd check, surgery, consulting, a calving, etc, and all the 'stuff' he has to use is then charged at cost. Stuff he leaves in the fridge for us is marked up modestly but not much more than 50%. He is making bank doing it. I have a wonderful relationship with him, and if I call to ask a question or send him a text with one I will ALWAYS get an answer.

The theory behind it isnt usually to stop chatty vets, its to stop clients from wasting time. If he spends 45 minutes in the back 40 trying to catch animals, the owner isn't ready, etc, yes, it should cost you more. If the owner wants him to stay an extra half hour to chat about something, putting everyone else's appointments back a half hour too and making his day longer - yes, it should cost you more. Dare I say its even a little rude to expect him to stay longer then planned to talk to you when he has a whole laundry list of clients waiting later in the day.

Most vets, even those that charge by the hour won't charge you if you call the office to ask a question on a day when they aren't running around like a madman trying to get all appointments in. I wouldn't use a vet that would charge if I called when they were in office or having downtime to ask a question. I understand completely though that on a day as normal as any vet has though, he should be compensated for me holding him up by being chatty or asking questions that can wait until later.

If I want him to be the one educating me, he should be compensated for it. He paid north of $300,000 for his education - why do I expect him to give it to me for free? Most clinics will hold vet days, seminars, etc. that are rarely anything but free - and I've never seen one with an admission cost over $10. That is the time when 'routine it doesn't have to be done right now' education should happen. Going over how to do aftercare? Never had it take more then 10 minutes tops.

With my line of work I've had the awesome opportunity to go to a lot of seminars that vet's go to to improve their skills. At a week long advanced cattle hoof trimming course, I was the minority because I didn't have a PhD. Sitting at the bar with practicing vets at night was the BEST education about how they worked and how to keep your vet happy. One guy (a little tipsy at the time) was talking about how one client called him at 2 am expecting immediate service because her horse hadn't pooped in like 4 days, then complained about the (understandably so) hefty bill. In his exact words "If you call me at 2 am for something you should've called me at 3 pm 2 days ago for - yes - it should cost you like $2000 freaking dollars."

I love vets that charge hourly, by the minute, etc. As stated before, my cow vet charges $185 an hour - when I had a horse vet out for my Welsh X's colic - it was $231 for a hour and a half of her time by the time she nickeled and dimed me. It comes out darn close to the same either way if you are efficient for your vet.
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Thanks for all your comments!!! I always have my horses in their stalls with halters on when the vet or farrier is coming... I have to say, this vet was fast, he did all shots and drew some blood for Coggins in less than 10 min. Plus it was during a thunder and lightning storm, heavy rain and I have a metal roof on the barn so it was impossible to talk.
Ours charges $70 farm call

and of course a price for everything you have done when they get there

by the minute would be great if there were no charges for the other services once they arrive

(like coggins, shots, etc.)

yeah sure I'm
I certainly hope your vet doesn't like to visit and chat after the visit. That would certainly add up!
Once had a vet out twice on a Sunday night. I live 25km out of town. Two lots of travelling, 2 lots of after hour fees plus. plus plus. Oh the joys of owning a horse (or 30).
I generally trailer to my vet but if I can't he charges a call out of £35-40 and then whatever else is needed. It is £40 for a scan and my last vet was £50 for a lameness test and another one was £70 for microchip/passport. So I tend to stick to the one now lol
For Seven my vet had to make two calls in one day, he waved the farm call charge on the second visit.
$75 farm call + whatever is done. Never heard of anyone charging by the minute. Not sure I would think that appropriate, as sometimes you and/or the vet want to be able to ask questions to fully understand what the symptoms or problem is, to determine what needs to be done. My vet wants to hear about what's been happening, and what steps I've taken, before he even examines the horse. Then, he is very helpful explaining what he is doing and why, and what I need to do to continue the follow up.

Personally, it sounds like a racket to me and I would RUN to find a new vet.
I pay $50 for a farm call and for any vaccines or blood tests I request. I figure the costs of her services are "baked" into the fees she charges for these things.

So no, I haven't heard of a per minute fee.
I live about a mile from my vet and almost never get billed the $60 for a local farm call. I however, always have my animals stalled and haltered ready to be seen and I always have a helper to hold horses and assist to make my vet's job easier. She gives quantity discounts when we do everyone's vaccines at once. Most of her services have a set price like exam fees, drawing blood etc. Surgery is $2/ minute and all supplies uses are billed for. She is great about selling me stuff at her office (banamine, dex. Etc) and she has never charged me for answering questions over the phone. I think they price according to the region and if your vet is jacking up rates then either their workload is lower so they cant cover overhead or too many people were wasting their time by not being prepared or by being inconsiderate.
Just to clarify--did the vet charge the $2 per minute as an extra fee, or is that the charge to give the vaccines? the road call fee--is that the fee for driving out (we call it milesge) or the actual call fee? (I generally do not get a call fee as such--we are billed for each procedure.

If you were charged mileage plus the per minute fee you were not overcharged IMO (not at $2 per minute and if it only took 10 minutes, $20?). We would get charged $20 to draw the blood for thr coggins alone, giving vaccines would be more. If you were chafed mileage, a call fee AND the per minute fee--that would be odd to me.
The unpopular cow vet we had charged by the minute on top of all other charges, it was a surcharge and the vets working for the hospital hated it.

I just had my horse vet out for floating and vaccinations... will post when I get the current bill. My vet works at New Bolton center which is also a teaching hospital.. discounted rated because you put up with vet students each going over your horse and learning. They could never charge by the minute because the teaching takes so much time.

The pro of this is that you learn as much as the students... the con of this is that you are dealing with rookie vet students handling your animal. I have no problems stepping in and telling the vet in charge to step in and the student needs more education. They get one chance to hit the vein, if they miss... student out.. vet in. My horses are very patient and easy to deal with and do not seem to mind if 3 students take a look inside the mouth at the same time. So far I have been happy with this arrangement.

I got lucky for this weeks visit and it was only the resident vet, no students same charges. This vet was a student a number of years ago and stayed on to work and train other students. She is very gentle and kind and my horses are putty in her hands.

Honestly though, I go for a vet that is kind and gentle and knowledgeable and that I like the personality of. The decent money rates are a bonus, but I would not hesitate to pay more for a decent vet. Kind of like a farrier... Price is a bonus, but not what I shop for initially..> Trust is more important than the money part.
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