Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How To Get The Best Deal at the Pet ER

How to Get the Best Deal at the Pet ER

Published Dec 12, 2014
PetER1By Krista Magnifico, DVM, Special to Everyday Health

Here are a few tips to know so you know what to do when, or if, you ever need to go to the ER with your pet.
  1. Go to the place your general practitioner recommends. Why? Well, because we recommend the one we believe can provide the best care for your pet. When we can’t be there to help you, we want you to be in the best hands possible. If you were not happy, or you were treated unfairly or poorly, we will no longer refer to them.
  2. Know your pet’s vaccine and medical history when you go. This vital information allows us to rule in or rule out potential diseases and illness. We ask about pet history so we can more quickly arrive at a presumptive diagnosis, which allows for more tailored diagnostics. This saves time and money.
  3. Just like at the car lot, people who work in veterinary ERs often want to make a sale.At the pet ER, you will first be given the Plan A estimate. This is typically the deluxe, loaded, all-inclusive package. The car dealership doesn’t want you to purchase the basic version; they want to encourage you to buy the most expensive car on the lot. With medicine there are a slew of tests we can run and a plausible reason for each one. But if you’re on a tight budget you’ll want to look at the estimate with a careful, inquisitive eye.
  4. As a general practitioner in a small rural town I admit that I hate those estimates. I understand that they can be a valuable tool for my clients to understand the true scope of their pet’s illness. But in too many cases at the ER, that number delivers sticker shock that discourages care and encourages euthanasia.
Here’s how you may be able to get a better deal at the ER:
  • Scrutinize every line item.
  • Challenge every diagnostic.
  • If there is a diagnostic that will lead to an untreatable diagnosis, skip it.
  • Run the tests for the treatable and most likely scenarios, and work with the vet to scale the quote to be exactly appropriate to your case, your pet, and your budget.
For the entire article on this please visit Everyday Health here.

Krista Magnifico, DVM, is the founder and chief creative officer of, overseeing creative vision and user experience. She earned her veterinary degree from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005, and has had her own practice in Northern Maryland since. She has a strong interest in animal welfare and educating and inspiring people to take better care of their companions. Follow her on Twitter @FreePetAdvice

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