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My Pet World: Grieved dog owner upset over rising veterinary costs

Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Cathy, I had a loving Schnauzer named Lucy, who recently passed away. My complaint is with the veterinary industry and their pricing to care for a pet from birth to death. Lately, every time we bring one of our three dogs to the vet, the bills have exceeded what I had expected to pay. A typical visit five years ago with testing might have cost less than $100, whereas now it’s $150. On top of things, my dog passed away this month. I felt they looked for every reason to generate a larger bill up until the end.

We were told to euthanize Lucy, but I refused since she was not in pain at the time. They gave me meds and an antacid to give her and said it would make the end easier. After 10 days, she showed signs of improvement but then started to whine and seemed very uncomfortable. That’s when we decided to take her to the vet to end her life.

After filling out all the papers, they took her into a room and came out five minutes later to tell us they had put an IV in her, and we could see her. Before they did it, there were more forms to fill out. And by the way, could I give them my credit card? Once they returned to the room with the receipt for payment, the doctor gave her the final injection. I had never been so devastated at that moment, knowing that I had terminated her life. Something I knew in my heart was the right thing to do to end her suffering.

The cost was $205, which covered an emergency exam, and $107 for euthanasia services. Cremation services were an additional $259. It seems they are taking advantage of us knowing we want to take care of our pets.

— Tom, Deer Park, New York

Dear Tom,


I am sorry for your loss. It’s always difficult to make the decision to end a pet’s life, even when their death is imminent. Euthanasia is not a painful experience for animals, but it’s an emotionally taxing one for their humans.

When handling euthanasia, veterinary offices will generally ask for payment before the procedure since asking afterward, when you are an emotional wreck, would seem insensitive.

An emergency fee would be charged if a vet had to be called into the office for the emergency or the office had to work you in at the last minute on a full day. I say this because I would feel taken advantage of as well if I was given an open appointment that day but was charged an emergency fee because the pet was dying. It’s a legitimate question to ask if you felt you were wrongly charged.

As for rising vet costs, everything has become significantly more expensive this past year. I recommend calling different veterinary offices and asking them what they charge for various services. You might be surprised at the differences.


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