Pet money saving – and being ripped off!!

Dora, the baby

Warning: I am Mrs Angry of Colchester as I write this post!

I have my three lovely cats and I would hate to be without them. I take pet ownership very seriously and they have regular flea and worm treatments plus lots of love and attention.

Lola, the beauty

The younger two are insured but my old girl isn’t. I didn’t appreciate it was that important when she was younger and I was richer, and now it would cost so much to insure her and her existing conditions would be excluded anyway. She has a thyroid condition and my vet charges £90 for a 3 month supply of her medication. (My vet charges me at least £50 for stepping over the threshold and breathing, but that’s another story!)

I prefer the flea and worm treatments that are applied to the back of the neck. The vet currently  charges £36 for 4 treatments – I thought this seemed even steeper than usual so I decided to finally get round to exploring how much I could save if I went online. I was flabbergasted. With the cost of this identical product, Prinovox, was £14.18!! Even with delivery this was a huge saving so I called the vet to ask for a prescription. They sounded a tad unhappy at the request and said they would charge £12.44 for this and it could only be used once and would expire after three months.  I had the feeling they didn’t want me to shop around!! Not such a great saving but I was so annoyed at feeling ripped off I decided to go ahead. In fact I asked for a prescription for 6 Advocate as my vet doesn’t sell this anymore and it was even cheaper – £22.50 for six treatments.

Vera, 15 year old queen of the cats

When I went to collect the prescription the receptionist looked embarrassed and said the vet had decided she couldn’t do a prescription because she hadn’t seen the cat for 6 months so I would need to bring her in. At this point my mild irritation turned to outrage – they were blatantly putting obstacles in my way! I pointed out that they would sell this to me directly without me having to bring the cat in, so why did I need to because I was buying it elsewhere?

I was steaming at this point and said to put the prescription against my old girl Vera not the littlest one since they had seen her in the last six months for her thyroid treatment. They finally agreed to this but I then had to wait another 5 days to get it.

When I got back I decided to check the online price for Vera’s thyroid treatment. With delivery it was half price! So well worth me buying a prescription. I wonder what obstacles they will put in the way this time?

I have been using this vet for 15 years but have now decided that they are a bunch of rip-off merchants and I am exploring cheaper options. Has anyone had any experience of using the vets at Pets at Home? I have heard they are cheapest but I don’t know if they are actually any good.

In the meantime I will be getting all my medication online as a point of principle. My vet will still afford his villa in France but I’m not paying for it!

20 thoughts on “Pet money saving – and being ripped off!!

  1. I wonder of your local PDSA would be willing to write a prescription for you in exchange for a donation. Perhaps you could explain how much cheaper you can find things online….. and say that you just couldn’t possibly afford a vets bill anymore and would hate to think your beautiful cats wouldn’t get the treatment that they deserve.

    I found the same thing with my optician. I simply asked for the prescription and took them it to a local company that sell the exact same specs at a fraction of the cost. I went from needing new glasses each visit to the optiocion , to… oh there is hardly any change and it probably isn’t worth replacing the current specs…

  2. My vet actually told me I could get my cat’s thyroid medication cheaper online and they do a prescription for ten pounds which covers 6 months supply. You should definitely change your vet!

    • Interesting that they aren’t all money grabbing then – Yes I think you are right!

  3. That is outrageous treatment. You need to find a new vet. Try and find one that runs the Healthy Pet Club scheme. We pay £10.95 per month and for this we get the 3 monthly flea treatments and wormers, regular vaccination injections for feline flu etc, and a 6 monthly health check.

  4. For the cats we have now we use Pets at Home and are also insured with them. They are cheaper than vets we have used in the past and although it must depend on the actual vets, they are the kindest we have ever encountered – and all the animals they see are fussed over. When we couldn’t get the back medical history to one of our cats, they got it all for us when we had obstacles put in our path.

    I recall a previous vet trying to help our claim for dental and gum work ( and that was when we were with Pet Plan) being told by the insurers that came under cosmetic work and wasn’t claimable! So we wanted our cat to have a nice smile did we!

    Although we have insurance I also save in a separate account for all the cats extras – I also have one for my teeth and glasses! Gosh, what next…

  5. Our elderly cat had constipation and a little visit to the vet for a laxative cost us the mere sum of £105!!!!! You’re quite correct it costs £50 just to step through the door. I’m blog hopping to you through Our Quiet Life in Suffolk.

  6. I buy all dog wormers, flea and tick treatment and medicated shampoo online as it’s about a third of the price the vet charges. I’ve told the vet directly that I can’t afford their prices! However, I don’t need a prescription for any of these products. Our dogs also require a gluten free diet and I buy this from Zooplus or Bitiba online with free delivery (I shop between the two as their prices vary, although I’m pretty sure that they are the same company). The courier drivers are brilliant and carry the heavy bags into the house, usually two at a time as it works out cheaper to buy it this way. One of our dogs is very allergic to midges and pollen and benefits from Piriton. I buy this from the local chemist (their own brand) and get a month’s supply for £1. Pet insurance makes me angry; we paid into it for 14 years for our last dog and they issued a cheque for around £11 when she died!

  7. Hi my daughter gets all her cat and dog flea etc treatments from sites on e-bay brand names and no prescription needed. Jessica

    • I will look but would be worried it wasn’t the real thing if no prescription was needed. Thanks

  8. My aged stepmother used to visit the vets at least every week with her two pampered pooches. She spent a small fortune there, as you can imagine. When the last dog died, she decided that in her 80s, and in poor health herself, she would not have any more dogs. The vet tried to change her mind. I wonder why!!

  9. hi, I take my dog to pets at home, I have a companion care arrangement which costs me £16 per month for a german shepherd, smaller pets are cheaper. this entitles me to all the necessary flea and worm treatments she needs plus annual jabs and numerous discounts on other things. I took her in today cos she has a limp, I paid £15 for anti inflametry medicine but no consultation fee. I an only speak for the vets at my local branch but they are so lovely and helpful. my dog barks at other dogs so they let me bring her in the back of the vets which helps enormously. I can’t say enough good things about them

  10. hi I have just discovered your blog. well done for a fabulous money saving blog. I own four cats and two dogs and am always amazed each time I have had to visit the vets at the bill for my animals. I have also noticed the amount of money that I have seen going through the tills in the short space of time which I have been waiting to be called by the vet. Once I had only been waiting for 15 minutes and seen £900 being charged to owners !. Just imagine how much money they take in an average week if £900 is taken in only 15mintes !!!!!!

  11. Just stopped by….
    Change your vet.
    My vet has all kinds of options for me buying my Square Ones meds and special food !
    This vet is just not right for you or your loves.

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

  12. The fees charged by vets are disgusting. I understand that the prices soared when pet insurance became more popular – they could charge more as the insurance was picking up the bill. Not so good for those who don’t have insurance! Like you we are responsible cat owners, but the prices charged make my blood boil! Great rant x

  13. My friend has been asking for a external prescription for the last two years and has been given the runaround by her vet before getting one – I do appreciate we need a physical vet to see and he has to pay out for , building etc, etc but this year for the first time I too will be asking for a prescription too – I,ve just done a quick comparision – last year I paid just under £100 for Advocate and Drontal for my Chiuauaha for a year – checked online and it comes to £56.92 with free p+p – even with the prescription costing me £10.00 I am still saving money….I already paid for Vacanations for life so I feel the Vet has got something from me.

  14. I buy “spot on” flea and worm treatments from our local farm supplies shop (Harbro). They are exactly the same brand as I get from my vet and I have never needed a prescription. They are less than half the price my local vet charges so no contest really.

  15. Hi, I agree with others- shop around for another vet. Compare prices in the same way you’d do for other services. Prices do seem astronomical. Never had insurance but I put a lump sum in a savings account and use that. Frontline and similar reputable brands are perfectly safe to buy online. Luckily my moggies have always been quite healthy, and yours look beautiful.

  16. Pets at home very good and don’t quibble if you need private prescription they are like to try and help keep cost down

  17. There is a site on-line that used to be located in GB, and is now in Australia. You don’t need an rx; just order what you need. Shipping is only $5. I have used this site for 5 years with no problems at all. It is: I wish your pets well! Laura

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