One of our little dogs had a vet appointment this week for an annual booster shot. This time it was a five-way distemper vaccine, with an eighteen-dollar shot of Benadryl first to prevent allergic reactions and swelling at the injection site. The visit started with a very complete physical, because like most vets these days, ours won’t administer the booster shots without examining the dog first.
We suffer a bit of vet culture shock each time because our previous vet charged only for the vaccines and the office visit… he didn’t require a physical before he gave the dogs a shot. When he retired a few years ago, just before we got our puppies, we had to find another vet… and although we’re extremely satisfied with the vet we have now, her more up-to-date requirements and prices have come as somewhat of a shock.
I understand the value of vaccines and even the regular physical examinations… but especially in their first year, when the puppies had to have vaccines every few weeks, all those charges for physicals really added up. The price of spaying was also unexpectedly high, but the tiny scar and the procedure followed this time were so much better than what we had experienced when our other dogs were spayed, there was no comparison. We have two dogs… still puppies, really… and during the first two years of their lives, we have spent a few thousand dollars at this vet for vaccines, physicals, spayings, and two emergency procedures.
I guess it is another case of you get what you pay for, and this is one area where we have not chosen the most frugal option. We have discovered that some vets are very different now. With our previous vet, the costs were minimal, but so was the caring and consideration for the animal. As a contrast, our new vet is amazingly kind and compassionate. She insists she is never more than a telephone call away and encourages us to call if we have any questions, even at night or on weekends, and she will always give us an immediate appointment if there is a problem. Her availability and skill are important to us because our dogs are such a vital part of our family. The only downside is that any vet visit has suddenly become a substantial expense… and that is sometimes not too easy to get used to.