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doubleopi 03-25-2012 07:48 AM

Is it right... (This is long and all text. Just a heads up)
Ok, so I guess this could be partially horse related but I figured I would put it here just in case people think differently than I do!

So the story goes, there is one vet clinic on this lovely island (they treat everything from cats to horses, dogs to goats). There used to be more, but when those vets wanted to retire, this new vet came in and bought ALL the equipment. Considering the expense to ship that heavy stuff up here, other vets don't seem particularly keen on trying to start from scratch.

This clinic is VERY expensive...$120 to neuter a kitten....$45 tops back home. They also are very quick to alienate their clients, which they seem to be able to get away with considering they are the ONLY vet clinic on the island.

I, personally, had a disagreement with them regarding exactly how many shots my puppy needed. They wanted to give him 5 rounds...with a vet visit (read $40) on top of the actual vaccination. I told them straight up, absolutely not. He needs no more than 3. I also do not need to sit with the vet for 30 seconds and have them say he looks great when they just said that a month ago. Just recently I ended up giving them $2,000 for doing a bloodtest on my cat (RIP), keeping her on a heating pad and giving her fluids. Ok, a little bit of drugs. But really? $2,000? If I had been on island I would've done the ICU stuff myself. They didn't even charge me for the chest x ray they did! And, I count myself lucky that they haven't decided to blacklist me yet.

So, I was recently reading on facebook (where else? :lol:) about a family that was comparing their prices to vets on the mainland. Obviously I don't know anything more than that side of the story but apparently when they had an emergency (torn ACL in their dog) and called said vet clinic they were told that they will not treat their pets. When they asked...why? They were told "I think you know why." Now, again, I don't know the whole story there, obviously but they do have a reputation for black listing any one they feel like for any reason.

There are an awful lot of people here who would love to have a vet that they could work with but refuse to deal with the drama that comes with visiting this particular vet clinic. They claim to want to help the animals but it seems they want to pad their pockets and aren't sorry about (I suppose you could argue that it's inadvertant) causing suffering of many animals on the island. Just about everybody feels that they HAVE to learn how to be their own vet in all instances (vaccines, deworming, nutrition, minor injuries). Most people seem to take the stance that if their animal got injured badly enough to need a vet that they would rather shoot it as it's far quicker for the animal and less aggrevating and cheaper than dealing with these drama queens of a vet clinic.

I bought a $350 kitten + $1200 round trip ticket for hubby and I to the mainland + $100 fee to bring kitten back to island + hotel for one night ~$100...still cheaper than trying to save the life of my baby girl by keeping her on heating pads and giving her fluids.

Personally, I think this island's animals would benefit greatly from having at least one more vet clinic on island (There are at least 14,000 people and many many many of those have at least one pet. There are also many people with horses. Not so many "farms" for cows or pigs or anything like that though.) This would provide some competition, possibly drive down some of these crazy prices, create a more customer friendly environment and alleviate much of the worry and frustration that goes with caring for the medical needs of your pets.

Going to the mainland wouldn't be too terrible except for the $600 round trip plane ride plus the fees for bringing the animal or a 2-3 day trip on the ferry with the pet being locked in the crate for over 11 hours in the vehicle both ways...also not cheap and not so wonderful if there's an emergency!

Kind of makes me glad that I can't find board for my horse up here so she can stay where she is, with many trusted vets handy. Even if it means I only get to see her once a year. :? I mean, really what would happen if she coliced up here and I were blacklisted. She could easily die needlessly due to a dumb....I don't even know what I could call it.

There, I think I got most of it out. If you know any vets that want a booming business...send them up here:D. We need farriers/trimmers too!

azwantapaint 03-25-2012 08:53 AM

Alaska isnt a cheap place to live by any stretch of the imagination, nor is it the most wonderful climate to adjust to.
I do understand your pain, but there is some hope.
My suggestion is this-spring is coming, and it makes things a bit easier to truck heavy stuff in.
Get with all the vets in the area, and help organize a group buy of needed equipment, and thrn make arrangements to have it trucked in all in one truck.
That will help save on freight significantly, and spread the cost out.
You might be able to talk a couple manufacturers in to a discount on the purchase of multiple pieces of equipment, saving more.
Basically, one company has cornered the market, and they know it.
You have to put a dent in their business, so they feel it in their wallet, before they will change their ways.
You might even want to talk with larger vet firms in Washington or Oregon about setting up a satellite office in your area, and helping them get established.
You'll need the demographic information for the area, sort of like a mini business plan, to sell them on the idea, as you need to make it as attractive to them as possible.

doubleopi 03-25-2012 09:01 AM

Thank you for your reply azwantapaint.

There are no other vets on the island and the vets on the mainland are plenty busy with the villages out there.

I just don't think it's good business to treat customers this way, regardless of how much you charge. Of course, if you have a monopoly I suppose you can do whatever you want to.

Your idea to talk to larger vet clinics in the lower 48 is an interesting idea.

doubleopi 03-25-2012 11:35 AM

I forgot that my cat's $2000 included her euthansia and cremation so it's not as terrible.

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