In these austere times there is a tendency for media commentators to claim that everyone is looking to spend as little as possible and to prompt this as a good thing to be doing. Cutting costs is all very well but the old adage of “you get what you pay for” still holds true.
For example, I have just paid twice as much as last year for the cats’ annual booster shots. Last year we paid £40 for both puss-cats at the old vets, this year we paid just under £90 (with a couple of pounds spent on cat toys) at the next vets.
I was happy to pay this as I felt that we got a proper check up, a vet that spoke to us and interacted with us and who seemed to really care about both cats. She also had a little tub of dried chicken bribes that were used in the attempt to reduce the level of grump in the room.
(Photo from The Telegraph)
The level of grump was higher than previously, but they both ate their bribes and didn’t actually bite anyone, so it can’t have been that bad. Both cats were also pretty good in the car, a few quiet wails from F on the way back isn’t uncommon – even when we went to the old vet who was 0.7 of a mile away he wasn’t a happy camper, the new vet is about 1.2 miles and we had less noise!
The old veterinary practise annoyed me with their indifferent attitude and they appeared to hire staff who had obtained their qualifications from a dodgy internet site. Also, when responding to a complaint their practice manager described my cat as “fractious” – I knew the gist of the word but had to look up the exact meaning (which transpires to be irritable and quarrelsome.)
My rule of thumb is that you don’t describe an animal using language that you wouldn’t happily use to someone about their child, in G’s case I would cheerfully describe him as a demon from Hell if crossed, but the old vet’s practise manager using the term fractious just annoyed me!
(Meg the demon from ‘Supernatural’)
Whilst on the subject I don’t think that my pet’s medical record is the correct place to record that I wasn’t very happy that the vet had failed to complete the agree examination – I was very polite to them but yes I wasn’t overly impressed as having to dash out of work and drive 11 miles because they couldn’t deal with monitoring the heart rate and blood pressure of a cat! Hence we swapped veterinary practises.
There is a school of thought that annual booster shots aren’t necessary, I am not a vet so can’t comment, but both my current vet and my previous vet felt than annual booster vaccinations were a good idea.
There is also the opinion, predominantly in the US, that injecting in a leg is better due to the risk of fibrosarcoma. This is a type of tumour that is thought to be linked to a local reaction to a vaccination, the logic being if a tumour occurs on a leg it is easier to amputate the leg.
For me this is somewhere between having a contingency plan and just being paranoid. I was intending to ask my vet about it, however due to the threat of sharp teeth an injection high in the back of the neck was the only viable location and that was far from straightforward!
I should clarify that it was only the threat of sharp teeth, G shows a lot of teeth when he feels provoked , but has never bitten in anger – he will however bite when playing and considers this to be great sport.
(Thrive cat treats – good for bribes)
The new vets were very nice, they spoke to us about any concerns we might have, gave helpful advice about F and G’s aversion to teeth cleaning and weighed them. Weighing them is harder than it sounds and I dread to think what our old vets would have made of their weights – G is over 8 kg of muscle and fur, F is not far behind.
The new vets were surprised at the weight but correctly paused and checked how the weight sat on both cats, the old vet would probably have condemned us a overfeeding and overindulgent pet parents who had reared little (cross out) big monsters.
To sum up, my old vet were cheaper but were rude and incompetent morons. I’d rather pay more and deal with people who know what they are doing and are nice – so let’s hope that my new vets continue in that vein.
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