You might think that the only difference between a normal veterinary clinic and a veterinary clinic is size. But there’s more to it than that. Vet clinics provide higher standards of care for animals than regular veterinarian clinics. In a normal clinic, veterinary services may be available at all hours and there are fully equipped facilities for all types of examination, diagnosis, treatment, surgery, and anesthesia. But that’s not the case in a veterinary clinic. Most of them are private facilities with smaller offices and staff.
The average clinic has only one veterinarian on staff and the entire staff consists of veterinary technicians. Clinics don’t have to house any pet animals, so they aren’t as large or spacious as larger clinics, and therefore they don’t have the ability to house all of the necessary equipment and tools. Even if a clinic does house some animal specimens, most are housed in smaller buildings or cages. This means that the veterinarian has to perform a very detailed physical exam on each pet, including an abdominal x-ray, an electrolyte panel, blood test, urine test, mammogram, bone density test and a urinalysis.
There’s no room for any additional diagnostic tests, so even if there’s an initial mammogram performed on a pet, it can’t be used later to make a diagnosis. And urinalysis doesn’t help a lot in the long run, because most veterinarians only check the urine for protein, which doesn’t differentiate between fresh and contaminated urine. And the final analysis of the tissue samples, like biopsy, is done primarily by staff in the lab. Because these are small, limited examinations, only the most critical health problems require the services of a veterinarian.
In a normal, well-staffed veterinary clinic, the owner will be required to pay for the services of a veterinarian when his pet needs emergency or life-saving treatment. When you bring your pet to a veterinary care facility, there may be a waiting list. Not everyone will be accepted, and even if you do get in the line, chances are that you’ll be the last person standing.
Because of the increased cost of veterinary care, many people are trying to save money by reducing their bill by going “veterinary first” (first line of defense) or “vet meds only” (the cheapest option). But neither of these is necessarily the best solution, because the typical animal hospital setting doesn’t provide the kind of comprehensive animal care that private practice vet offers. Private practices are run by individual veterinarians with a staff of fully trained veterinary technicians and support staff. They usually treat only large animals such as dogs or cats; and often have few patient visits. The owners have a lot more control over how their animals are treated.
But the most important thing about private veterinary care is that you’ll know the severity of your pet’s condition and can make an informed decision about the best course of treatment. You’ll never have to worry about being scammed or having to choose between life and death – and neither will your pets. If you’d like to keep pets but can’t afford the high fees that a good facility will charge, consider a plan to join your local VPDE (Veterinary Care Teams). This program partners with veterinary hospitals and clinics around the country so that patients can receive the same high-quality care that they would receive in a private practice, while saving money on veterinary bills. Veterinary care is definitely a more affordable option than the standard “fee-for-service” approach, and it ensures that your pets receive excellent care, from start to finish.