Seeing a Technician Rather Than a Doctor (chs. 66-67)

Seeing a Technician Rather Than a DoctorAgain, this is a tip that might not work for all people, but sometimes it may be worth a try.

In some cases, a treatment that is administered to an animal can be performed by a veterinary technician instead of a veterinarian. It will usually cost significantly less to have a technician see your pet rather than a vet.

Here are some examples where you may be able to ask if a technician can see your animal in order to save you some money:

  • Repeat bandage changes (i.e. for a wound on a paw pad that will take several weeks to heal)
  • Booster vaccinations (Sometimes these can be done by a tech, but not always)
  • Administration of subcutaneous fluids (i.e. for a cat with chronic kidney disease).
  • Injections of cartrophen or adequan (an arthritis treatment)
  • Repeated steroid injections. (In my practice I will often allow a technician to do every other visit for steroid injections. However, if there is a major change in the petʼs condition then a vet visit is necessary)
  • Suture or drain removal after surgery. (In many cases there is no extra charge for suture removal. However, I will occasionally have a client book their suture removal with me (the veterinarian) and the appointment ends up being more of a recheck exam which needs to be billed for.)

In summary, if your pet is being seen for a regular condition it is a good idea to ask if you can save any money by having a technician substitute for the doctor.

Saving money on pet foods

Pet foods are a controversial subject and I will not get into the debate on food brands at this time. However, I would like to point out one thing.

In my opinion, if your pet is healthy and does not have any particular dietary needs, you do not need to buy your pet food at the vetʼs office. Every vet clinic will sell a “maintenance” type of food that is made by one of the companies that makes their prescription foods. These are very good foods, but in my opinion they are not always worth the extra price tag. I usually tell people to buy their pet foods at the pet store.

If your pet is on a prescription type food, in some cases you can save money by preparing home cooked meal for your pet. (Your vet can usually provide you with a recipe or you can get one by asking me at

However, cooking your petʼs meals at home can come with the following drawbacks:

  • It can be hard to properly balance a diet for a dog or a cat. Sometimes your vet can supply you with a “mineral mix” that will supply the nutrients that are needed on top of the regular food ingredients.
  • Once your pet gets used to eating home cooked meals it may be hard to go back to kibble or canned food ever again.

I do have a number of pets that are on a home made hypoallergenic diet that is less expensive than the products sold in my clinic. Similarly, your vet can possibly give you a recipe for animals who need a special diet for kidney or liver disease and other conditions.

Article by Dr. Marie

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