As one dog died, I had to take my other one to the vet this weekend and I'm sure Cooper wanted to die a little when I took him. I used to take him to a private vet practice but they are really expensive and while the vet technicians and vets are really nice and friendly, they're really granola and never fully check Cooper's teeth and ears because he knows that if he screams, they'll leave him alone. They're so terrified of stressing him out that they won't trim his nails, either. I think that's ridiculous, he knows that if he screams and squirms, usually people will back off but not me, I'm relentless.
Anyway, I decided to try Petsmart's Banfield Hospitals. I signed him up for their Wellness Program which covers all yearly shots, a dental (including anesthesia), blood work, fecal exams, and 15% off any other service or product (like his HeartGuard or whatever brand they use). It's $37 a month with a one-time fee for signing up of $69 dollars. I figure if I get him the dental, it would definitely be worth it. Plus, I don't have to renew after a year if I don't like them.
Cooper was due for rabies, parvo, and bloodwork to make sure he's still heartworm free and also a year's worth of heartworm preventative meds. In all, including a nail trim, that one time fee, and first month's payment, my total was $173. Without signing up for the wellness plan, the total was $270. If I take out $106 for those one time fee and first month's payment, I would have paid $67 for his heartworm meds (for one year) and the nail trim. Overall, that was way less than what I would have paid at his old vet hospital. Typically a yearly check up including shots and bloodword and the meds cost around $300 at Cooper's old vet. I guess financially, Banfield makes sense.
His wellness plan will cover all vet visits, too. I have to take him to the vet twice a year because come spring, his allergies go crazy and the poor little guy is a miserable swollen mess. It's good to know that the only thing I'll pay for in the spring is his meds which I will get 15% off. God, I'm such a penny pincher like my mom...always trying to find a good deal.
I used to be really prejudiced when it came to vet care for Cooper. Probably because he has so many health problems, but I really believed that the more money I shelled out, the better the care was. When Choo Choo was a pup in Iowa, we had an awesome private practice vet and she was seriously amazing. She was the only certified vetrinarian and her staff was pretty great and it was so nice to have the one vet who really understood all of Cooper's quirks and problems. That was my biggest issue when I moved to Colorado, I couldn't find a private vet and I hated the rotating vetrinarians I would have to see whenever I took Cooper to his old vet hospital.
So I took him to the most expensive place I could find thinking that these people would be more than qualified to give my dog shots and figure out his health needs. Instead, they really nickel and dimed me and made me feel awful when I would decline on certain shots that I was pretty sure Cooper would never need (bordatella being one; I don't take him to dog parks and he doesn't have much interaction with strange dogs). Although, I did like how they really took the time to explain every little thing to you.
Anyway, joining Banfield...I dunno. I won't have the one vet who gets Cooper, but at least the qaulity of healthcare Cooper gets is on par with his old place and Banfield won't get all psycho on me when I decline a shot or something. I mean, these are qualified vets who have a degree and a doctorate and stuff, so I know Coop's in good hands, and they aren't all hippie-ish and worried about messing up Cooper's chakras so they won't trim his nails. I guess I'll have a year to decide if I should stick with them as my primary vet.