Saturday, July 10, 2010

Prescriptions for your pet

Our office handles your pet's prescriptions. If your pet is on medication for the rest of its life, call us ahead and we will get your refill ready.
There's tons of ads on TV for cheaper prescription medications. Federal law requires that there is a current prescription from a vet. Veterinary law is also governed by the state the vet practices in. Some states require that a vet give a prescription if asked, others don't. If you're unsure, call your state's veterinary licensing board.
Our state does not require a vet to give out prescriptions, but we do it as a courtesy to SOME of our clients who ask. A few things to remember:
It is a courtesy. Be courteous.
The vet supply sells to people all over the country. We are one office. Since their buying power is much larger than ours, their prices are cheaper. We can't even buy our medicines for the price they are selling to you.
Certain conditions require that your pet get a new blood test periodically. If the blood reports are not current, we won't authorize a refill. Likewise, we won't authorize an unlimited supply.
Certain drugs are a registered narcotic and can only be purchased by you through a human pharmacy since the vet places don't stock them. These require the prescribing doctor to have a DEA number. Processing these takes a longer period of time, so plan accordingly. The worst places I've had to deal with (also with the lowest prices) are Rite Aid and They are so backed up they often tell my clients that we've never faxed in an authorization when we did. I've gotten in the habit of jotting down the date and time I've sent the fax just before I run it through the fax. If you use either one of these places, call your refills in early to allow for this kerfluffle.
If the last time we've seen your pet is more than a year ago we won't okay a refill.
If the last time we've seen your pet is more than a year ago and you paid us with a bad check that you never bothered to make good on, we won't okay a refill. Nice try.
Just because we've seen your pet and now she has symptoms of something we haven't seen but you're sure what it is and know how to treat it you just need the medicine, we won't give it to you.
No, we can't refill a prescription from another vet just because you bring us a bottle. If your pet is not our patient you need to go to the prescribing vet.
I'm sorry your pet is sick and no, I can't give you medicine for it without seeing the vet because a) I'm not a vet and b)it's illegal. I have no desire for a new career making license plates.
Like human medications, once they're dispensed, they are yours. We can't take them back and give you a refund. Federal law.
Although I hate the "open and shove" method for my own pets, sometimes it's the only way to get the medicine down them. There's a wonderful invention called Pill Pockets if your pet will eat them. You may have to get very creative to get the medicine in your pet. And, yes we can tell if your pet is getting her medicine or not.

The Dreaded E Collar (cone)

I hate these things. The pets hate them, the clients hate them. But they're a necessary evil. Despite all the wonderful new alternatives (which we don't carry because they're pricey) there are some instances where only the E collar will keep the pet from licking, scratching, chewing, picking pawing, etc., the affected area. We don't send a pet home with an E collar because we want to laugh at you. I've had more clients argue with me because their pets are being sent home with an E collar than anything else we've prescribed. Again, it's your pet and your choice, but if your pet doesn't get well, rips out its sutures or does further damage to itself because you won't bother with an E collar, you're going to have another vet bill.

A Few Observations

Our office is low cost. Low cost means you may have to hold your own pet for the vet. Low cost means if your pet is hospitalized there is no one there after hours. Low cost means that the receptionist is also the surgical assistant, cage cleaner, kennel attendant and janitor. Low cost means we don't have all the fancy equipment that some hospitals do. Low cost means that we do follow the rules of cleanliness and sterility in the surgery rooms and kennels even if our ghetto looking waiting and examining rooms are not as clean looking as a human hospital. If those things are important to you in a veterinary hospital, you need to find another one. These things add a couple of hundred dollars to the vet bill you're complaining about. We understand your feelings, but don't berate us for it.
If your dog bites, may bite, or you're just not sure, ask for a muzzle. We appreciate it.
A dog bite at the vet's office is not free. If your dog bites the vet or someone there, it must be reported to Animal Control. That's the law and we are bound by it. And the law says you are financially liable for it.
The law states we must release your pet's information to law enforcement authorities when required to. This includes Animal Control.
If your pet is out of control or unruly, we may have to sedate for an examination and you WILL be charged for it. If you can't handle your own pet, don't expect us to risk ourselves because we won't. It's YOUR pet, not ours, and your handling issues are not our fault.
Accidents happen. It's pee or poop, not toxic waste. Let us know and we'll take care of it whether your pet did it or not. Save the histrionics for the drama club.
Yes, these are our hours. No, the vet isn't always there during these hours. We're there without the vet for phone calls, prescription refills, food purchases, clients picking up pets who are already here.
Yes, we accept walk ins during shot clinics and any time the VET IS THERE. Walking in without calling first means a)the vet might not be there or b)you may have to wait. Deal with it. You could have used that cell phone of yours that doesn't quit ringing to find out if your pet can be seen before you show up. If you're inconvenienced, that's your problem. Try seeing your own doctor without an appointment and see how far you get.
Yes, these are our policies and prices. No, we don't negotiate. No, I don't know why doctor X is cheaper or doesn't require current vaccinations for surgeries, but since he's so special, grace him with your pain in the ass presence.
Since you know way more than the vet or any of us about what's wrong with your pet, hang out your shingle and start your own practice.
When you come in expecting us to treat your dog for free because you are forced to feed your family $1 hamburgers, park your Jag somewhere besides the front of the office.
So Fido has been screaming in pain and has had the bloody runs for a week. And you show up without calling, having a fit because he's in pain and the vet is not here yet. We'll get to you as soon as possible, so sit down and cool your jets. Your lack of planning is not our emergency, and letting him suffer for a week makes YOU a bad person, not me.
Your next door neighbor, the convenience store clerk, the nice lady at the charity place who is helping you with the vet bill DO NOT WORK HERE. We do. If you choose not to follow our directions that one's on you.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Shot Clinic

So every Saturday, for a few insane hours, we have what's called a shot clinic. This is where for a few hours, regular vaccinations are done at a reduced price. Even with extra staff, these hours are terribly busy and full of confusion. We also take animals that need medical treatment during this time. Add to that it's a holiday weekend, most sane vets are closed, and the phone is ringing off the hook. Here's an example of one of the phone calls I answered:
"I got one of your reminder cards and I want to know what these vaccinations mean and how much they cost"
(now this is something I don't mind explaining, but I don't have 30 minutes to go into it as I'm slammed with backlog and the phone is going nuts). So I give the quick condensed version.
"So what does my dog need?"
"Uh, the list of vaccines that I described that are written on your reminder card"
"Okay" (hangs up)
Same woman calls a few minutes later:
"May I speak to Dee?"
"I'm sorry, she no longer works here" (she's been gone for over a year)
"What's your name?"
(I hear her talking to someone in the room) "the bitches' name is Lucy"
"Thank you" (hangs up)
While I love being busy at work, I hate that I can't always give the clients the service I'd like to when things are less harried. But there are some of those who want to spend hours on the phone, and my boss is not willing to pay someone to strictly deal with phone calls. Too much time on the phone is costly to a business that doesn't take phone orders, so I deal with being called a bitch.

Tons of phone calls from boarding kennels needed vaccine verifications today (being a holiday) and lots of last minute people wanting tranquilizers for their dogs because of the fireworks. Our tranquilizers are prescription, and cannot be prescribed unless the vet has examined the animal.
Since our highest rate of demand for tranquilizers comes during the New Year and Independence Day holidays and they come at the same time every year, my advice is to plan ahead if you know your pet needs them. Most vets are either closed or only open half days near a holiday, so it's a good idea to avoid the rush. I know Monday will be equally slammed with animals that were injured trying to escape the noise.
The microchip companies will keep their phone lines fully staffed this weekend to take the calls of found animals that ran from the noise. I'd love to see that number go down with some proactive work from owners.
Happy Independence Day to you and your pets!

A Few Facts About Veterinary Offices-Calling the Vet's Office

Your veterinarian has had as much schooling as your personal doctor. It is harder to get into vet school than medical school. Respect your vet as a professional, even if you personally don't like him/her.
The person who answers the phone is NOT A VET. Nobody at the vet's office has the abilities to see through walls or psychic powers. We can't diagnose your pet's problem over the phone, nor give you an exact price for what it will cost you without seeing the animal in our office. Don't ask. It is reasonable to describe the symptoms and ask if it should been seen immediately or can wait a day or two.
Price quotes over the phone are not binding on our part, so don't bitch when it costs more than what you were quoted. See above. Once you are in our office and have had an examination done, you have the right to ask what it will cost to treat and then it is your choice.
When you call and need an appointment, have a clear idea what days and times are good for you. Let us know and we'll do our best to work with you. No, we will not sit around after closing time and wait, so know before you dial what works.
The clients and animals in our office have priority over phone calls. If you are on hold for too long or get disconnected, we are sorry you are frustrated. Don't be nasty.
No, I don't know why Dr. X's prices are cheaper than ours. Call Dr. X and make an appointment with him instead of spending your time berating me for it.
Ask what forms of payment we accept when you call.
We have certain hospital policies. You are welcome to ask, and make your choice before you bring your pet in. If you have a problem with them, find someone else, instead of spending time arguing about it.
Yes, he is my boss, and yes, you've made it clear you think he is an ass. He signs my paycheck so don't expect me to badmouth him to you. He will continue to be an ass, and if that bothers you, find another vet. It's your pet and your choice.