Why can’t we offer Free Vet Care??
posted: Aug. 14, 2018.
We at Rolling Hills Pet Clinic (RHPC) understand that pet healthcare can be costly and have made it our clinic’s mission to help pet owners in any way possible. We strive to provide quality medical care with a personal touch, which is also affordable for pet owners. Our clinic mantra is “How can we help one more pet?”
That being said, we wish we could offer free vet care to everyone, but high-quality vet care comes at a cost. That is why we are taking this opportunity to enlighten people as to the costs of running a general practice vet clinic. There are many key factors that cause hefty expenses for any veterinary clinic which cannot be avoided that weigh heavily on fee calculations for services. They include the type of ownership, overhead, staff, drug costs, medical supplies, and equipment.
Type of Ownership
RHPC is a privately owned vet clinic. We are equivalent to a mom and pop store in a corporate world. At times, it can be challenging to compete with corporately owned vet clinics. Corporate vets have massive buying power and are able to purchase goods in bulk, which gives them significant volume discounts. Plus, corporate vets have a bigger pool of money to utilize. Another obstacle that we compete against is national retail chains that are not in it for a daily profit. They make their millions when their chain is sold to another chain.
The average veterinary clinic’s overhead nationally (meaning just to have the doors open with utilities not including staff salary) is $2.00 per minute. A clinic that is open 6 days a week, for roughly 4000 minutes, breaks down to $7920 per week ($1320 daily) in revenue that must be generated in order to keep the doors open.
The next key factor is the salaries for the staff. Both veterinarians and veterinary support staff are really the “jack of all trades.”
All general practice Veterinarians, on some level, are trained to be family physicians, ER physicians, pharmacists, dentists, ophthalmologists, obstetricians, dermatologists, cardiologists, behaviorists, pathologists, trainers, anesthesiologists, internists, general surgeons, and more. In addition to wearing all these different hats and having an extensive expertise; veterinarians must learn how to treat different types of animals each with different physiologies and unique health care needs.
Veterinary technicians and assistants are trained to be lab technicians, anesthetists, oral hygienists, x-ray technicians, pharmacy technicians, grief counselors, nutrition counselors, nurses, client educators, surgery assistants, medical assistants, and help provide compassionate care to pets and owners.
A veterinary receptionist does so much more than just answering the phone and booking appointments. They are the first smiling faces clients see when they walk in the door, they are the comforting voice over the phone when your pet is hurt or ill, as well as the knowledgeable client educators of information that runs the spectrum from which shampoo to use on your new puppy, to help understand (step by step) everything that is involved in your pet’s anesthetic procedure.
Contrary to popular belief, veterinarians and veterinary support staff at high-quality veterinary clinics are not entry-level positions. All of the specialized skills or talents needed to provide high-quality pet healthcare require a veterinary clinic to make a huge investment of time and money into training all staff in order to cultivate experts in the veterinary field.
This is another huge factor that comes into play. Unfortunately, veterinary clinics are at the mercy of the drug companies when it comes to pricing. Many veterinary clinics can easily spend tens of thousands of dollars maintaining an in-house pharmacy that includes antibiotics, vaccines, pain medications, topical medications, heartworm preventives, flea and tick medications and injectable medications. It is RHPC’s goal to make certain that our in-house pharmacy items are competitive in price and are guaranteed by the drug manufacturers 100%.
Medical Supplies & Equipment
The majority of veterinary equipment and medical supplies are manufactured by the same companies that supply human hospitals. Unfortunately, that means it comes at a high price.
It doesn’t matter if syringes, catheters, gauze sponges, endotracheal tubes, IV fluids, or surgical equipment will be used on a Golden Retriever, kitten, human adult or pediatric patient, the price is the same.
Our veterinarians at RHPC are dedicated to providing compassionate vet care that is “tail”ored for you and your pet!
We offer Wellness Bundles that make it affordable to provide an ounce of prevention, which is worth a pound of cure. Plus it provides the yearly preventive medicine our veterinarians recommend, which includes all vaccines, heartworm testing, lab work, and a 30 day complimentary major medical pet insurance policy that will help with the cost any unexpected issues that should arise for Fluffy or Fido.
We offer payment plan options that include special financing through Care Credit® with “same as cash” promos or an in-house payment plan. If we have clients that are not eligible for payment plan options, we also work with several non-profit organizations that can help if a client is facing a financial hardship.
Veterinary Care Foundation (VCF) is one of the non-profit organizations we work closely with that helps pets within our practice directly. We make a charitable donation to VCF in memoriam for every one of our pet patients that have crossed the rainbow bridge. We also hold fundraising events throughout the year to raise funds to help the less fortunate pets. Plus, we ask that anyone that is given VFC funds, pay it forward and make a donation to our fund later on.
After reading this, if whatever reason you still find our fees to be unfair, we ask that you have a conversation with us so we can discuss all the options available to help your pet. Please call us at 520.790.4871.
At the end of the day, we and pet owners share the same goal of wanting all pets to live a happy, healthy, and long life.