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    1. #1
      House Broken
      sandyut's Avatar
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      My vet of 12 years has "joined" VCA. Should we be concerned?

      Hi all,

      Our vet practice that we love and was independent is now part of VCA. Is this good or bad? The providers are all the same and they have been great for 12 years. The one downer for sure is we have one dog on "Vaccines for life" plan, and the puppy cant be put on this pan as they dropped it with the VCA thing. They also dropped 24 hour emergency - all these are referred to Blue Pearl. Which I have hear is spendy and ok...hope we never need that.

      Read an article that the Mars company bought Banfield, VCA and is now just a massive animal care company. not always a fan of supporting he huge companys that swallow up the locals.

      Please let me know if you know much about this type of change, VCA, etc.

      Many thanks!

    2. #2
      Senior Dog
      SunDance's Avatar
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      Our independent vet went VCA many years ago (actually the son who took over his father's practice did this after his father retired from clinic practice). It started going downhill almost immediately. And prices skyrocketed...they seem to be the highest in our area.

      They have serious turnover of vets with the ones being brought in just out of school, seemingly. I haven't been impressed by a single one of the new ones (whom we've seen as necessary between annual visits to the older crew). The original vet staffed his office with vet techs and nursing students so they were all pretty savvy. Now? One or two have some related experience but most seem to have the interest of a "want fries with that?" job holder...you have to really pay attention to what's going on. High turnover here, too.

      Hours have changed. At first they expanded (as did the building) and then they retreated. Another expand and now in retreat. We have an emergency vet really close by (and cheaper!) so that hasn't concerned me.

      We've been lucky enough to have vets who'd work with us...or maybe that's just because I've been going there so long...but I've had friends say they seem coerced into doing things they're not interested in. The techs must get a commission on what they can sell you, though. They have pricing plans like nobody's business...stuff you don't want for the sake of getting what you do want.

      All in all, I wish we were still with a private practice even if it meant not necessarily being able to get a fast appointment (fewer doctors)...there are times when few doctors are in the clinic, anyhow.

      FWIW ~ The doctor we've been seeing most recently announced that he's going to be semi-retired. He will work one day a month. I sense a lack of interest in his career and figure he's just hanging on so that he can get benefits up until legitimate retirement (he's too young). Needless to say, we switched to another experienced vet.

      The one thing I really like about this practice, though, is state of the art equipment and serious attention paid with things like anesthesia. I don't doubt the care our pets get there (with one exception with a vet who's no longer there...and I got that resolved with the clinic manager).

      Good luck!

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    3. The Following User Says Thank You to SunDance For This Useful Post:

      sandyut (07-15-2018)

    4. #3
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      barry581's Avatar
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      I can almost guarantee prices will go up. The VCA clinic here in Dover is by far the most expensive vet in town.

    5. #4
      Senior Dog
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      lovemylabby's Avatar
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      What is VCA? Is it run more like a clinic?

    6. #5
      Best Friend Retriever
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      My only experience being referred to an emergency (knock wood) was when my usual vet said the next steps for diagnosing was beyond their ability on site. They referred me to Blue Pearl because other eVet practices in the area closed shop.

      The location I went to was their main office in the area and it was a huge, state of the art facility. You knew walking in it was going to be pricey. However, every single staff member (vet, receptionist or tech) were the most compassionate and caring people I’ve dealt with at a vet or people medical care location. They were realistic with treatment and never pushed services. Where there were things like RX food and medicines, they encouraged me to shop around for the best price.



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    7. #6
      Chief Pooper Scooper
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      Quote Originally Posted by lovemylabby View Post
      What is VCA? Is it run more like a clinic?
      It's like a corporate Brand Name. We have some of them here, don't use them. Hopefully your vet will still give the same care. They might have a few different rules to follow, but as long as they are still able to diagnose and offer recommendations the same, you should be OK.

    8. The Following User Says Thank You to JenC For This Useful Post:

      lovemylabby (07-15-2018)

    9. #7
      Senior Dog
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      In my area I had to goto vca for chili's elbow surgery and water therapy and ct scans...my normal vet just didnt have the equipment or degree to do the expensive stuff. the good thing about vca that I remember my vet surgeon friend telling me is that he travels from vca to vca in his area to teach/train and also has covered down for other surgeons, done certain procedures...heart surgery, etc...vet surgeons its got to be hard to work anywhere else...that equipment is expensive.
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    10. #8
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      Have been satisfied with my vet to a point. Since she is the only vet in the practice it's a little difficult at times to get an appointment. Don't think she has gone VCA but some things have changed like almost all lab work being sent out instead of in house which she did do. I've know her for years along with the techs and what she does is more than adequate for the regular stuff. Fortunately, if she feels something is beyond her ability she is not shy to recommend a specialist. She also has an arrangement with the e-vet, which thankfully is only 15 minutes away, that if we need to go because of a problem after she did something and she is closed, i.e., after a spay, the e-vet does not charge the "walk in the door" fee which is up to $90 now. She and I have butted heads at times, like me not wanting any vacs except rabies done when I know my seniors are well covered. I know she really cares about my dogs but sure wish there was a decent multi-vet practice close. The ones close have horrible reputations.
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    11. #9
      Senior Dog
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      I'd be concerned (or at least on the watch) about them pushing extra services on you. Many of the big corporate operations are instructing their vets/ techs to "sell" more to the patients it seems.
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    12. #10
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      The VCA clinics in my area are very corporate and push pet care packages, which tend to be expensive. They offer more services, but you pay for them.

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