Vet Operative Practices

Recently I had to get my dog's teeth taken out. The issue was the whole time, I felt like I was at the mechanics.

Got multiple calls throughout a short period of time, informing me of x, y results and z findings, asking me if I would agree to pursue further urgent investigations.
Except these investigations weren't really urgent, were excessively priced, and ultimately saying no to working up these things didn't end up changing their management or the procedure. The only reason I felt comfortable saying no, was that the explanation from the nurse calling didn't make particular sense to me.
Furthermore, if they were really concerned re: pre-op tests, you also wouldn't do them right before your operation (rather days/weeks before, affording them time to properly investigate and manage it).

Ultimately the only thing I ok'd was taking out more teeth than planned, as the X-ray performed seemed to suggest more teeth needed extractions - again taking their word for it.

I just feel like the practice of calling worried owners while their pet is anesthetised, to organise 'urgent but not really' investigations is almost akin to financial ransom. Equated to a human experience, if a surgeon did that, it would be viewed as unethical.

Is this a common practice?
I would almost be curious as to how many owners leave the vet having paid close to the provided estimate and not $100s to $1000s more.

Comments

  •  

    Do you regularly take your dog to the vet for check ups etc?

    Could very well be that if it's his/her first time, then they indeed found a lot of little issues along the way.

  • +1 vote

    You are essentially at the mechanic's.

    Pets are property, and vets are engaged with you to do to your property as you engage them. They have duties of care, same as a mechanic has a duty of care with your car, but at the end of the day you, as the owner of the property, can maintain or dispose of it as you see fit. A vet does not have interests in your property specifically but has an interest in pleasing you - that is their job. In my experience it is rare for a vet so see a pet as something more than property. Like all property service industries they are after work.

    Surgeons and medical professionals for humans do (should) not do that as humans are treated as persons, not property. 150 years ago human slaves were treated with the same consequentialism as people treat nonhumans today - because slaves, too, were chattel property, not persons.

    The only position that sees pets as individuals (legal / moral persons) rather than property (and automatically challenges the entire institution of "pethood"), and indeed any other animal as more than a human resource, is essentially veganism.

  •  

    Furthermore, if they were really concerned re: pre-op tests, you also wouldn't do them right before your operation (rather days/weeks before, affording them time to properly investigate and manage it).

    Pre-op bloods are to exclude hepatic or renal insufficiency which might indicate an underlying disease (especially kidney disease), which can then guides whether intraoperative IV fluids are indicated, whether it's safe to give NSAIDs, or whether it's worth proceeding with anaesthetic. If there are red flags, they'll abort the dental. The reason this is done just prior, is because unlike the human world, there is typically minimal work up, most procedures are booked on very short notice, and often as the first vet visit in years. Owners are also encouraged, but reluctant to bring their pets in a week prior just for dental check and bloods, because it may be additional consult. So you can't have it both ways.

    I just feel like the practice of calling worried owners while their pet is anesthetised, to organise 'urgent but not really' investigations is almost akin to financial ransom. Equated to a human experience, if a surgeon did that, it would be viewed as unethical.

    What do you think dental X-rays are for? It's to reveal underlying pathology that can't just be diagnosed by external exam. If a new tooth looks like it needs to come out, they'll typically phone you for the greenlight. If they find a lump they don't like, they'll phone you for consent to take it out, and maybe send it off to the lab. A dog isn't a car. It's not a static piece of machinery, and until it's anaesthetised, what's going on in that mouth is a mystery. It's why most vets will give you an estimated price range +/- cost of additional extractions, histopathology, additional meds, etc. It's not to rip you off, it's because these findings occur in real time. I've done several dogs with teeth much worse than you'd think from quick external glance, or were too aggressive to examine conscious, which needed multiple extractions (including carnassials), and you bet it's a much longer, complicated procedure. At that stage, it's not a quick scale and polish. If you think you're being burned, ask your dentist how much they'd charge for a 90-120 minute procedure under general anaesthetic.

  •  

    So your dog has no teeth?

  •  

    Well then your other option is they don't call you during the anaesthetic and wake the dog up. Before you take it home they tell you "oh btw please come back in 6months to remove the rest of the teeth and that'll be another $xxx for a second anaesthetic" to which you'll complain you weren't given the option to get it done at the same time?

    Either you want them to respect your right to make an informed decision or not… Or maybe you'll approve an estimate that goes $1000-$10000 so that it'll cover every potential possibility of anything or everything going wrong and that way they won't need to call you in the middle of the procedure?