"An Animal Is Just An Animal" PART II / by Deborah Clague

And now the continuation of Monty's saga (from here).

After leaving Monty in the care of the "world class" University of Saskatchewan Veterinary Clinic, I made my way home. It was tough. Having grown used to his presence, coming home to an empty apartment was a sober reminder that I was all by my lonesome after moving to Saskatoon. Pets can provide the unconditional love and companionship that our human souls require, not to mention offer a great stress relief after a tough day at the office. During this transitional period of my life, Monty offered me that in spades. Over the next week, however, premature signs of aging were brought on by other thing$. 

I never begrudge anyone from trying to make a profit and veterinary medicine can be just as capitalistic as any other venture. It's finding a veterinarian that shows genuine concern for your pet that may be a challenge. In bringing Monty to the U of S Veterinary Clinic, I was under the assumption that their advanced technology coupled with the drive of some ambitious students would result in my pooch being diagnosed and treated in a reasonable timeframe by people who cared about the end-result. Instead, I was talked into taking numerous tests. Tests that I initially questioned, but proceeded with as they were the professionals (and I am but a lowly blog author). Tests that came with a very, VERY unexpectedly high price tag. The U of S Veterinary Clinic is not like getting your hair trimmed for $5 by a beauty college student - even though interns are treating the animals, the fees are double what you'd pay from someone already established in the field. My initial quote of $700-$900 quickly rose within the span of 24 hours to over $1500 with no official diagnosis in sight.

My concern about the spiraling costs reached one of the students working on Monty and he called me one evening after-hours. I was informed that they had several theories as to what brought about his lethargic behavior, but until they could confirm it 100%, they would have to proceed with more testing (it was school policy). Testing that would make my quote double again by the next day's afternoon. Testing that may come back inconclusive. The student predicted that my bill would probably end up over $5000...and that figure didn't include actual treatment costs: "as a student in debt, I understand your financial concerns. Going forward will be costly" the student related. "You have to ask yourself if it's worth it. Unless you have the funds to see this through for your own peace of mind, I would try and remember that at the end of the day, an animal is just an animal."

But Monty is not just an animal. He is my friend. He is a family member. And it's my responsibility as his owner to look after him. I needed a second opinion. I pulled Monty out of the U of S Veterinary Clinic the next morning. 

Westward Animal Hospital is a short distance away from my apartment. It is housed in an unassuming building and staffed with cheerful employees including my new vet for life, Dr. David Nairn. They took Monty in on short notice and within 10 minutes concluded that he was suffering from a bacterial infection, prescribing an overnight stay on an IV as well as some antibiotics (testing for a bacterial infection was something the U of S did NOT do despite my initial concerns expressed to them that he contracted something from doggie daycare). Within a few days Monty returned home and was back to his old, er, young puppy self. Dr. Nairn repeatedly called to ensure he was doing okay. I never heard from the U of S again.

Total bill? Less than $695.00. My final invoice from the U of S? I paid over $1250.00 for the privilege of having my pet be the subject on someone's thesis statement. 

It is no surprise that I am not the only one who feels swindled.