How Corporations and Big Box Will Be Dictating Pet Care  - The Demise of the Family Owned Business

I predict that in the near future, costs of veterinary services will increase exponentially in order to maintain care for sick and emergent pets and major surgical procedures.  As there is an ongoing decline in routine care inside veterinary clinics, smaller family-owned hospitals will lapse and close their doors.  Corporate-owned hospitals will corner the market and set prices and there won’t be an independent doctor down the street to offer a more competitive price for needed services.

Eventually, veterinary medicine will look like human medicine…  We won’t be able to afford care for our pets without insurance, because prices will be too high.  Corporations and pet insurance will dictate prices.  Doctors will have protocols dictated to them by corporate entities in the interest of “the bottom line”.  Your pet’s care will be directed by administrators and NOT veterinarians.

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What Does It Mean to "RESCUE" an Animal? Just ask Daniel and Erika Holtman!

As a veterinarian, the majority of animals I see on a daily basis are rescue animals.  In general, this is an indication from the owner that the animal was obtained from a shelter, "pound", breed specific rescue group or from a home in which the animal was not well cared for.  In some ways, over the past several years, the term "rescue" has had a connotation attached implying that we, as the rescuer, have done something noble and for the greater good.  In most all cases, this is true.

The reality is, that rescue animals are often a bit older, have been relinquished for unknown reasons and very frequently have needs beyond that of a new puppy or kitten.   The discounted cost for supporting a rescue organization and saving the life of the animal is just the beginning of our responsibilities to these unique pets.

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Nator and his owner, Erika

This is especially true for our Pet of the Month, "Nator" Holtman.  He was found along side the road by his owners Daniel and Erika in 2015.  They were on a road trip to Tennessee with friends and their dog "Dude".  One of their friends found "Nator" on the side of the road, opened her car and he hopped right in.  She sent a photo of him to Erika and Daniel asking if "Dude needed a new brother".  Erika says, "he was just so cute and nice, we knew right away he would be ours."

Her friend removed 17 ticks from "Nator's" head and ears, for which he still has scars.   Since they were all staying in a dog-friendly hotel, Erika took him upstairs, where she found at least 15 more ticks on his body, bathed him and introduced him to "Dude".  They were instant friends!

The next morning they took "Nator" to the vet in TN to be scanned for a microchip to see if an owner could be located.  He was not chipped, so Daniel and Erika got him vaccinated, a fecal screen for intestinal parasites, for which he had a positive result and was treated.  He also had a test for Heartworm infection, which was positive...

If you have any experience with this disease, it is devastating to dogs and to their owners.  Dogs become infected through mosquito bites, where the larva of the parasite is injected into the skin during the mosquito feeding.  As the larva mature, they travel to the heart, wedge between the valves and cause long term damage to the heart and lungs of infected dogs (and cats).

Treatment for a heartworm positive dog is usually between $1000-$2000, depending on the severity of the disease, and involves injections of an arsenic based medication to kill the adult heartworms.  In addition, the pets have to be kept on STRICT exercise restriction for about 6-7 months.   Knowing he would need a lot of additional medical care, Daniel and Erika chose to seek help with a "Go Fund Me" page and had enough to cover his treatments in just 18 hours!

 He's an amazing dog and deserves this great family and his best friend, "Dude".

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Nator loves the Vet!

Adoption is just the beginning.  It is our responsibility as pet owners to provide immediate, ongoing, and appropriate care for our rescues.  Kudos to Daniel and Erika for being such phenomenal pet owners and for saving the life of one really great Dog!


Nator posing for his portrait in the exam room!

Preparing For Your Pet's Needs Financially- Why pet care is like Auto Care

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Every day in private and emergency practice, both veterinarians and their owners are faced with very difficult financial decisions.  Often times the "best care" for our pets is not financially feasible and this is especially true when the unexpected occurs.

When I am in my general practice, I am able to sit down with clients, take time to fashion a treatment plan for the day and even for ongoing care and visits.  I often hear my clients say, "I love him.  He's like part of our family."

Where this is emotionally very accurate, and I can speak to this because I have 2 very loved pets of my own, we need to start looking at this from a different perspective as pet owners.

Likely most members of your family have medical insurance which is used for both routine care and accidental coverage.  Why is this not true for our pets if they are like family to us?  Is there a financial obstacle preventing us from providing this coverage for them?  Is your veterinarian not informing you about the benefits and availability of pet insurance or options to help budget routine wellness care?

From a veterinarian's perspective, it is often disheartening to have to provide less than the standard of care for pets due to financial constraints.  Often times, we are even villianized for our role in facilitating the conversation about the true costs of pet care- being called "heartless", "uncaring", or "over-priced"...

As a profession, we want nothing more than to be ale to use all of the incredible skills we learned in veterinary school and post-doctoral training, such as internships and specialty residencies.  Unfortunately, the expense of a small business and competition from "Big Box" Clinics, dictate a specific price point to keep our doors open and our nurses paid while providing you profoundly personalized pet care.

So what is the solution?  To think of our pets like we think of our cars.

That may seem very far off the cuff, but imagine if you didn't get your car's oil changed for 3 years and then took it to the mechanic?  Chances are there would be more required than the routine change- your air filters, spark plugs, coolant and transmission fluid would all be overdue as well and this would accrue a significant unexpected expense.

The same is true if your pet isn't seen for some time.  Many things will be past due for updating and small things that could have been corrected in the early stages will likely be much more costly to correct if they have been neglected.

So maybe comparing the care of our beloved pets to the care of our vehicles is not so far off base.  Something to chew on.

My Best,

Dr. T

Halloween Festivities

Please join all of us at Urban Vet Associates with your family and costumed pets for our annual Westmont Trick or Treat Trail and festivities!  We have been preparing with our own pumpkin decorating project as well as stocking up on candy for the kiddos, treats for the pets, and great savings for pet owners!  Be sure and come by to say hello on Saturday!

Oscar is sporting his bow tie a few days early as he likes to feel dapper.

Oscar is sporting his bow tie a few days early as he likes to feel dapper.

Our Favorite Little Mascot

We are big fans of this little invertebrate man!  Enjoy some humor on us!

Dog Days of Summer

As we come to the close of our Summer, we had to bid adieu to our final Cruisin' Nights event and I will surely miss seeing all of our friends out and about on Thursday evenings.

We got some great photos of several of the evenings spent together!  I hope that everyone continues to come see us downtown for the Fall events as well!

Click on the images below to see our Summer portfolio.



New Window Bling!

We had Bannerville USA place some amazing window clings to show our business hours yesterday afternoon!  Thank you to the impeccable staff for your design and expertise in making our office more like home!

Wall Art

Installation of our graphics!

We Are Open!

Thank you to everyone who came out this past week for the Grand Opening!  It was a great success with a wonderful opportunity to tour the hospital and convince my friends and family from the City to come down and check out our new digs!

We had a splash of incredible art on our chalkboard wall!  Super cheerful greetings, amazing art from some local kiddos and the chance for a few children to dress up in surgery caps and masks and place bandages on their pets.

Open House Bandaging

My stellar friend, Nathan, helping me place a bandage on our volunteer pup, Rufus.

Our chalkboard wall and its amazing art and notes!

Staff having a blast with one another and interacting with pets and guests.