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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, I am feeling like I am getting taken at the Vet.

Do you all do the Lyme's Vax and how much does it cost?
Do other urban/suburban pet owners feel pressured to vax dogs against lepto?
Does your vet do distemper annually or every other year?

I just took my healthy 8 year old dog to the Vet and he recommended about $500 worth of treatment. I declined just about everything and spent about $200 and he acted as if I was a terrible cheap pet owner
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BJ
Barney & Ben
 

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Well, what exactly did he recommend? Even all the vaccines in the world wouldn't cost $500. You may have declined (or accepted) something I'd choose differently about.

I don't allow owners to do Lyme vaccines. Lyme is a spirochete, an organism, not a virus. So the vaccine is very reactive, and not all that effective. I've seen lots and lots of dogs react to it (fever, swollen glands, etc.) and not all that many dogs actually get sick from the Lyme.

Lepto is a terrible illness. No question. But the lepto vaccine has nothing to do with the strain of the illness currently going around--it's like the flu vaccine is most years. So I don't do lepto.

We do the puppy distemper, one booster at one year old, and then never again. I refuse all additional boosters--the duration of immunity for the vaccine is seven to ten years.
 

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We do the exact same vax routine as Joanna. All we do when the dog is an adult is the 3 year rabies booster which is required by the state. My vet has no problem with this.
 

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I did want to add, in the interests of fairness, that very few vets actually try to scam you. Now of course there are bad apples in every bunch, but there's a big difference between being overzealous or undereducated about vaccines and actually trying to get your money unfairly. By and large, vets are not rich, and for better or worse those annual visits are their bread and butter. I'm currently with a wonderful vet who has a large breeder clientele (and is a breeder herself), so she's very non-interventionist and makes plenty of money off of me and several hundred other people for repro stuff and specialist work; I honestly don't see a lot of people in her office for routine visits. She's the most UN-pushy allopathic vet about vaccines that I've ever met, but she's unusual.

A "typical" small-animal vet comes out of vet school a pet owner, and stays that way. As a vet, he doesn't see very many breed-specific problems or advanced reproductive work, and he doesn't get a lot of savvy and educated owners. What he sees are pets, normal owners, and heartbreak when pets die. He knows he can't prevent a lot of things that pets die from, so he gets overzealous about the things he CAN affect. If a dog is over six, he knows he may be able to prevent or treat some geriatric problems if he has the information from a complete blood panel, so he encourages that. He can't imagine that you wouldn't want to know. He also can't imagine that you wouldn't want to prevent any preventable disease--vaccines never cause more than local site reactions, in his experience, so why not give the whole battery. He knows that a certain type of food can treat some bowel disorders that start to occur about your dog's age, so he'll recommend switching.

And on it goes--he's well intentioned. He equates lots of vet attention with responsible ownership, and he does it in an attempt to prevent heartache down the line. I think misses the mark by a huge margin, but he's not scamming you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you very much for your perspective and advice - it makes alot of sense to me to think about them just recommending all of this as routine bread & butter. I guess I felt taken because when I called and asked for prices I was quoted one set and then when I got the bill they they added on a bunch of stuff in the office. I also declined the lyme because my dog had tested positive for lyme a few years ago and had no symptoms, but he said "it is only $27" so I said okay --- well it was $27 at the first visit and $50 at the second
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He did recommend an annual senior dog blood panel for $200 this year and $100 every year after to detect the early onset of illnesses that haven't shown any symptoms. I may be a bad pet owner, but I can't afford that each year and really don't know what the point is? I wouldn't put my dog through extensive treatment that prolongs his life when he is very ill.

He also recommended putting the dog under to clean his teeth because he has some plaque build-up. I said I would rather just make brushing his teeth more of a project rather than putting him through that and he seemed miffed. It seemed too invasive (and yes expensive) to me when his teeth are basically in good shape.

Finally, my dog has had distemper every year (he is 8) and I said I wanted to skip it this year because I read there were some negative consequences with cysts at the site and because we are over vaxing for it and he said that he would run a test that cost $25 more than the vax to see if he needs it?

Anyway, I got him the distemper & the first 1/2 of the lyme and have pretty much decided not to take him to the vet unless he is sick for two years (he got his rabies through the county and it is good until 2009)

Thanks for letting me know that I am not the only one who wants to skip lyme & annual distemper. I swear, I felt like they were going to call the Humane Society.

In all the $500 was for a visit, the lyme, distemper test, senior bloodwork, and teeth cleaning (he did not push lepto or kennel cough vaxes because of where we live and the fact that my puppy is very afraid of other dogs so is never put in the kennel or visits dog parks)

BJ
Barney & Ben and.....
Bailey the Dog!
 

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Just my 2 cents. My dog is 7 years old, a GSD, and I havent given her anything but rabies vacc and heartworm preventative in 3 + years. Sometimes a dose of Advantage as well. I havnt had any "bad" reactions to the vacc's but my understanding is that they just plain arent necessary. And yes, I do get the same feeling somtiems at the vet's, like they think ill of me for my decisions. But, remember what they do likely see alot, people not caring for their pets the way they should, only bringing them in when absolutely necessary, and (on the other end of the spectrum) people who can and do spend thousands of dollars on the care of a healthy animal. Its all relative, but s long as you know what you are doing and can back it up, try not to let it get to you!

Off topic: have you thought about feeding raw as a dental health method? I started my pup on it less than 6 months ago, its not too late to start!
 
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