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westie with a growth on corner of eyelid
floridajoec posted:
My westie is 10 years old. She has a growth on her eyelid or in the corner of her eye. We first noticed it about 4 months ago. The vet said to watch it and gave antibiotics and antihistamine. It did not get worse but it did not go away. We moved and took her to a different vet. She gave her steroids and an antibiotic. She said if it does not get better we should take her to a dermatologist. We waited two weeks and it did not get better. We made an appointment at a dermatologist which took a month to get. The dermatologist took a biopsy. Does anyone know what this could be. Also the dermatologist charged 900 dollars for the visit which included a mild sedative to get the biopsy, blood work and the lab results which we will not have for two weeks. We are new to the area so we saw this dermatologist on the advise of the vet we saw who was also new to us. In NY our dog has a cyst that was surgically removed under anesthesia with an over night stay and the lab work included. It cost us around 300 dollars for that procedure. Are we being over charged? What should we do?
Sandy Willis, DVM, DACVIM responded:
Hi there,
You ask a good question. All veterinarians, family veterinarians and specialists, should provide you with an estimate wherein they detail what procedures and tests they would like to do and the that you can have an honest discussion regarding prices for value received and so that there are no surprises at the end. Specialists do run a bit more, tho. and you are paying for their expertise. And the $300 you paid for office call, anesthesia, procedure, overnight stay and blood work was incredibly inexpensive, ie. really??? Anesthesia and surgery is not always the same everywhere: what anesthesia agents were used, how was the patient monitored, were there pain medications? Thus always ask up front so you can ask the questions you are asking here. We as veterinarians don't mind: this is important information. Ask the dermatologist to itemize your past work there so you can feel comfortable in working with them. Sounds like you are headed to finding out what is wrong, ie what the growth is. Thanks for taking such good care of your westie. Dr. Sandy
floridajoec replied to Sandy Willis, DVM, DACVIM's response:

Thank you Dr. Sandy for the reply. We were obviously provided with an estimate before we agreed to the charges. This estimate was provide during the initial consultation that already cost us 150 dollars! That is not an excuse to overcharge. What choice does a pet owner have when their beloved pet is ill and one is presented with these charges. We can only hope that the Vet is honest and is not taking advantage of a pet owner in a vulnerable situation. After further research, I believe we were overcharged. You never really answered my questions either. You are a vet. What would the reasonable charges be for the services provided? You state our previous charges with a vet in New York were "incredibly inexpensive" What do you base that on? Our Westie was well taken care of and everything went well. We have spoken to other pet owners who had surgeries and paid in the 300-500 for the whole procedure including the anesthesia. As far as working with this dermatologist vet in the future, it will not happen. We will get our results and find another vet. The old saying fool me once, shame on you...fool me twice shame on me applies here. My advise to any other pet owner is buyer beware. Question what the charges and potential chargers are BEFORE you are in the vets office. Google the vet and the practice to see what the complaints are. I googled our vet after the visit and found that the most common adjective used to describe them was greedy.


William Draper, DVM, better known as "Dr. Will," is a well-known small animal practitioner in the Atlanta, GA area. He grew up in Inglewood,...More

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