For animal owners, the share of the budget devoted to veterinary care has grown steadily in recent years. This increase has several causes. People who have pets today pay more attention to their well-being and health and are therefore more inclined to care for them.
The technologies used to treat animals have also developed: the imaging or intervention tools are the same as for human beings. In this context, pet owners want to find the best compromise between healthcare and healthcare costs. How then can they find a vet whose fees are not too high? Here are our tips.
How does the vet set his prices?
A veterinarian is free to set the price of the care he offers. They are not in fact regulated, as certain acts relating to human medicine may be.
Obviously, these prices must be set in a reasoned and reasonable manner. It should also be known that a veterinarian does not have the right to lower his prices to the point of compromising the quality care, while remaining free to carry out free interventions for charitable purposes.
This means that you cannot ask a practitioner to lower their rates based on a colleague’s proposal. Medicine, including for animals, cannot be part of a traditional system of competition because the quality of care has too much to lose. The price of the interventions is therefore fixed in advance, after examination of the animal and establishment of a diagnosis.
How to find out the prices of a veterinarian?
A veterinarian must respect the obligation to inform the client and display prices framed by the consumer code and European directive 2006/123 / EC. Also, you will find the amount of the main acts displayed in the waiting room. In addition, you can freely ask the veterinarian on the amount of his fees who has the obligation to answer you in full transparency.
When the veterinarians are planning major interventions, inducing a high amount of expenditure, they are advised to obtain your written consent: you are asked to sign a care contract. It is usually associated with a quote which explicitly and in detail mentions the expenses incurred. If there is no urgency, you do not have to sign the documents immediately: you have a cooling-off period during which you can turn to other professionals. This allows you to compare the prices charged.
The documents are binding on both parties: the veterinarian has an obligation of means, that is to say he must use his knowledge and skills to deliver conscientious and attentive care, and in return, the owner of the The animal has the obligation to pay for the acts performed.
However, as you probably know, you are not immune to a nasty surprise. As in humans, it is difficult to predict how an animal will respond to anesthesia. Surgery is also an opportunity to refine the diagnosis and additional procedures or care may be necessary, without necessarily having been planned at the start.
Do you have room for negotiation?
You have the possibility to discuss with your veterinarian. If your budget is tight, you may not be able to afford the ideal intervention proposal. You can then report your situation and define the minimum care to be carried out to, at least, relieve your animal.
You can also ask your veterinarian if he agrees to split your payment: it may be possible to sign several checks that he will cash on dates defined with you.
The expenses of a veterinary practice
As a customer, it is not always easy to identify the charges a veterinarian faces and it is easy to believe that the prices charged are exaggerated. Yet the standards are demanding. A veterinary medical and surgical practice for pets must meet precise specifications. Here are the highlights :
- The layout of the premises is governed by regulations in order to ensure the storage of medicines and the elimination of medical waste,
- Such a practice must include at least a room intended for the reception of clients, an examination room, a surgery room with a table and adequate disinfection equipment, as well as a hospital room. These premises also often include radiology equipment,
- Substantial equipment is needed to perform surgery. Sterilizable or sterile clothing is required. Such a cabinet also has resuscitation equipment and a device for preserving corpses (pending cremation).
To this, we must add the costs related to the maintenance of the premises, the reception of patients, the technical team which assists the veterinary surgeon, the costs of continuing training, an approach recommended to keep the practitioner’s skills up to date. . It is also necessary to take into account the costs linked to the computerization of the management of the establishment. All this requires substantial investments which justify the prices charged.
Significant price differences may be observed depending on the location of the practices. The charges related to premises in particular are not the same in the Paris region or in the provinces, in a large or small town, in the town center or on the outskirts, etc.
Are there alternatives to veterinarians when financial means are limited?
If it is really impossible for you to finance acts essential to the care and survival of your animal, you have alternatives.
The federation Veterinarians for all (VPT) brings together animal health professionals who invest in making veterinary care accessible to people with modest incomes. Treatment is not free there, but much lower than in an office. You must speak to your veterinarian who will act as intermediary with the structure.
Another possibility: contact one of the 4 veterinary schools from France, in Toulouse, Nantes, Lyon and Maisons-Alfort. They offer care at prices that are necessarily lower than those of veterinarians installed because it is students who intervene and the interventions are so much practical work. Obviously, the interventions are carried out under the supervision of experienced veterinarians and the establishments are well equipped. These schools are able to take charge of all pathologies and carry out in-depth examinations and interventions. The notable downside is that the waiting times, even if you have made an appointment, are very long as these schools are overwhelmed with requests.
The animal protection Society (SPA) has created dispensaries so that poor people can still have their pets treated. So that there is no abuse, proof of income is requested. Students, homeless people, RSA beneficiaries and non-taxable people can contact these centers in particular. As in schools, waiting times are long.
The Animal Assistance Foundation also offers veterinary services to people with limited resources. A contribution to operating costs is requested, calculated on the basis of income. For the poorest people, veterinary care can be free.
The benefits of animal health insurance
In France, there are therefore solutions so that all animals can be treated properly. Solidarity structures operate mainly thanks to therefore and only concern people with the lowest incomes.
For other pet owners, those who have a satisfactory income without being able to calmly face significant occasional expenses, animal health insurance is undoubtedly the best solution. It is important to take the time to choose the one that is best suited to your animal, to compare prices, to make sure you fully understand the situations in which the guarantees are inoperative.
Choosing animal health insurance is undoubtedly the best solution to allow you to take care of your pets with peace of mind.