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monstro July 2nd, 2013 12:55 PM

Dog's eye check
 
Hi,

My dog is 10 years old Russian spaniel. He is in a good health. However I would like to see an ophthalmologist to check his right eye. Looks like he might have developed something similar to anisocoria (his right pupil is bigger than the left one). I have been trying to find one for the last several days, but Google returns only some Animal eye clinic, that is too far from Thornhill where we live. And they need some referral. I called VEC (veterinary Emergency Clinic in Toronto), but the also need a referral. We haven't been to a vet for many years, there was no need, now, there is one place there we went a year ago, because the dog was limping a little (the limping went away by itself in 3 days), and now it seems that we need to go to the same vet clinic in order to get referral to go to see an ophthalmologist in VEC. "Our" vet clinic (we've only been there once) wants to change use $70 just to give a referral. omg, it's just a referral, not a surgery. And we would also have to pay to the ophthalmologist at VEC, or wherever they sent us.

Is this a common practice here to get to see a specialist?, Because to be honest, it's a robbery to charge $70 for just a referral, why cant I go directly to see the eye doctor, make an appointment myself? How do you find ophthalmologists in Toronto, except of googling on internet, can you suggest a good one who's professional and not so greedy?

I am ready to pay, but I need a professional and I need results, unfortunately there are to many greedy amateurs pretending to be vet specialists.

Thanks a lot.

marko July 2nd, 2013 03:38 PM

Hi monstro,

Welcome to the forum,

Although there are plenty of cheats in this world, the going rate for professional service is set by market forces and geography. I agree that the cost for veterinary care in major cities is high and that the cost for specialists in many cases can be prohibitively high.

But unless I've read it wrong it sounds to me like you do not have a vet and imo, that should be step 1. Why do you not have a vet?

Your dog should see a vet yearly for shots and preventative care. That vet should come recommended hopefully from someone you trust. That's the key - recommended.

When you have a vet like that, the price for a referral is ZERO dollars because they have seen your pet, and can now accurately refer to a colleague.

When you have no vet, you need a referral. It's just that simple.
And when no vet knows who you are, now you need their time and you need to sit down with them to get a referral - it's normal that you pay for that time. Just like a lawyer isn't cheap, vets aren't cheap either.

Although I agree that 70. just to get that referral is high, honestly, in my opinion the best thing you can do is find a regular (recommended from someone you trust) vet for this dog and give the dog a general checkup.

I'd expect that general checkup to cost 65-110 bucks depending on where you live. I'd expect the referral to the opthamologist after the exam to cost zero dollars, members should feel to correct me if they feel that this fact is false.

When you deal with trusted, recommended professionals - you don't get greedy amateurs.

Hope that may help and good luck.

free July 2nd, 2013 07:33 PM

i'm up in aurora and my vet charges that for a yearly check up vaccines included. if my dog needs a referral I will be charged for a visit, so that they could send their findings to the referred vet.
it is the law that dogs get at least a rabies shot every 3 years

monstro July 2nd, 2013 08:27 PM

Thank you marko, joane.

In fact we do have a vet, the one we went to when the dog was limping. We are indeed registered there, they opened a file, performed a standard first visit checkup. So, we do have a vet. When I called them and asked for a referral to an ophthalmologist, the secretary said - it's gonna be ~$70. From what I understand that was a price for a visit, to see a vet, so that she give us a referral. But the Dr. is not an ophthalmologist herself, ophthalmology services are not even listed on the clinic's website under "services". So, I wasn't sure what these $70 are for. Looks like I need to turn that visit into something more than just the eye problem. Just don't want to be overcharged for nothing or for services that are not needed. Unfortunately I don't know anyone who can recommend a vet, (some people who recommended me a vet, one visit was enough to grab my legs and run away from such a vet), so I've chosen a clinic not far from my location, based on high ratings reviews on [url]http://www.vetratingz.com/[/url]. Not sure though if these ratings can be truly trusted.
Thanks joane for making clear that even to get a referral is equivalent to a visit. marko said zero $$, so I was a little confused...

MaxaLisa July 2nd, 2013 09:59 PM

If/when you go for a referral, please do not let them vaccinate your dog. With the limp, and the eye, your dog may have a central nervous system infection, or who knows what, aand only healthy dogs should be vaccinated.

I had a head injury once and had that "one pupil larger" thing for awhile - I used massage and chiropractic care.

If this were my dog, I would want a full blood test (including thyroid) and run a tick test, unless your dog has lived it's life in a conrete city. My next step would be a K9 chiropractor.

That one eye thing *may* be more of a neurological condition than an eye doctor, I am not sure, but that's who they sent me to. I have found that most neuros are pretty limited, and their tools are very expensive (Mri's and ct scans).

It's really nice if you can find a vet that I a good problem solver with an open mind, and, as marko said, it takes awhile to find that and build that relationship. Having had senior dogs and been out on a limb not having a regular vet at the time (mine was in the proces of retiring), it's an awfully hard position to be in.

I wish you luck with this - it sure would help if these dogs could talk and tell us what they might be thinking.

monstro July 3rd, 2013 10:21 AM

Hi MaxaLisa, thank you very much for the warning.

Indeed, I found enormous number of articles explaining that vaccinations can be extremely dangerous and fatal, let alone the side effects.

My dog is almost 11 years old, start doing vaccinations now makes no sense.

He was given all required vaccinations as a puppy, and as this article ([url]http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2010/03/31/high-cost-of-pet-vaccinations.aspx[/url]) says: The latest scientific research shows that after the first course of injections as a puppy most dogs are immune against these diseases for at least seven years, if not for life.

Especially for a senior dog that has developed working immune system.
I tend to believe that Profit-hungry drug companies and vets are 'frightening' dog owners into inoculating their pets more often than necessary, especially with Whombo combos, mumbo jumbos vaccines - combination vaccines that contain multiple modified live viruses mixed with various bacteria. Think of them as toxic soups, biochemical wolves in sheep’s clothing.

[url]http://www.dogs4dogs.com/blog/2009/09/09/combination-shot-for-dogs/[/url]

Here is also a good article about profit-hungry veterinarian clinics, that care not about your dog, but about their pockets:

[url]http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2010/03/31/high-cost-of-pet-vaccinations.aspx[/url]

Even the fact that I wanted to see an ophthalmologist - I cant book a visit with ophthalmologist directly, but I have to visit "MY" vet to give me a referral, for $70 :)... Hmmm, actually it not ":)", but rather ":((((((".

MaxaLisa July 3rd, 2013 03:35 PM

Sometimes it's not about the vets being money hungry. Sometimes this is a way for the referral vets to make sure that a regular vet has evaluated the dog and has determined that an opthalmologist is the right person for the dog to see.

That said, I'm fortunate that here in the US a referral isn't needed. I'm taking my girl for an opth. checkup.

In this day and age of the corporate buyout of vet clinics, it is becoming more and more about profit. This is where we can hopefully make a statement by seeking out practices that are practicing the type of vet medicine that we expect - patient and client centered. This is something I've thought about, since the area where I live has nearly been completely bought out by a large corporation. I am systematically looking at all non-corporate practices to find the right one for us.

All of that aside....

Your dog is 11 years old. Some bloodwork would really be a good idea.

Longblades July 4th, 2013 06:54 AM

Many of here agree with you on the vaccinations. Unfortunately if you have not kept up a regular schedule of some sort with your Vet they are required to do an exam. It's illegal for a Vet to prescribe or advise on an animal they haven't seen. How that plays with time between visits I'm not sure.

I agree as well that you can end up seeing Vets who claim specialties in areas they are not certified in. Or dabble in such areas. With the internet it is fairly easy to check such things. Specialists will have a certificate at least from an authority in whichever discipline you need. They may not have a DVM from a VET school in that specialty, be it ophthalmology, chiropractic, homeopathy or what have you but there are organizations for these specialties. Which will complement their DVM.

Some specialists require a referral from the animal's regular Vet just to protect their valuable time from those who think they must have a specialist when they don't. It also helps to reassure them that other possibilities for whatever the ailment is have been investigated and discounted.

Unfortunately I think you need the regular Vet appt. for a number of reasons, not just to get the referral. Good luck. I hope you are able to get this cleared up.

Russian Spaniel? Wow. I think they must be quite rare? I just googled and can 't find any breeders in Canada, but that's now of course and your boy is 12. THey look quite bit like our ESS who was a field bred girl.

monstro July 4th, 2013 09:55 AM

Hi, all.

Thanks a lot for your comments.

[B]However[/B], unfortunately, I am not sure that anyone can positively 100% be certain that regular (annual) vaccinations is a good thing.

That's what vets want you to believe, because that's how they make so much money. They would vaccinate you to death on a daily basis if they could to make a profit.

You write "Unfortunately if you have not kept up a regular schedule of some sort with your Vet".

Let me ask you a few questions if you dont mind:

1 - Why "Unfortunately"? I have seen many dogs owners who payed thousands to vets for services or drugs they didnt need, and their dogs have been over-vaccinated and are very sick.

2 - What do you mean by a "regular schedule of some sort"? People are used to use word automatically without any meaning. Please elaborate in details. Because I am totally confused. What does it mean, go to a vet every day? and pay for every visit? twice a week, once a month? And to do what? One a year, for what? If a dog feels fine, why would you go to a vet every week / month / year? Vet doesnt do anything except of external visual examination (basically just looking at your dog) for $70-80 or whatever.

Seriously, I dont get it. I went to a vet for that purpose. But she did do anything and didnt say anything except of some trivial general phrases from internet.

3 - "they are required to do an exam" - again, not sure I understand - what could they possible say without fecal samples, blood work etc, which cost much extra. regarding a "general" exam I have already noted before.

4 - "It's illegal for a Vet to prescribe or advise on an animal they haven't seen." Well she has seen my dog last year. So, now it's ok? But she is not an ophthalmologist and she didnt do any blood work, any urine/fecal analysis or anything like that... So how can she make a referral to an ophtalmologist, if she basically doesnt know anything about my dog, except his name, and weight? Not sure I understand this practice.

Regarding the certificates, they all have wall full of certificates :)

5 - "Unfortunately I think you need the regular Vet appt."
Again, I think you are just passing a vet's message :)
Why? What for? What do you mean by "regular". The dog is 10+ years old in good health. How did he survive without a vet for 10+ years? And to do what? As I explained before the vet just looks at the dog, sometimes touches him. I can do that.

6 - "Some specialists require a referral from the animal's regular Vet just to protect their valuable time "
Sorry, but what "valuable time" :) ?? They any NOT doing it for free, you know. Whey charge damn big money for that. It's not а charity service.

I am pretty sure people just say that without putting definitive detailed explanation for words. They just repeat what vets tell them in their brochures. But we all know what motivates the vets.

Please let me know if I am mistaken. I have been thru vets, that shamelessly cheated, tried to sell us BS drugs and services absolutely not needed and even dangerous.
Therefore, I have no trust in these privately owned profit hungry businesses, that really don't care at all about your pets, but they are very good actors, I agree.
Keeping in mind the links to articles I posted above. Or you can google about the subject yourself.

I am very skeptic about the subject when profit-hungry drug companies and vets are trying to make business by 'frightening' dog owners into frequent / regular visits and inoculating their pets more often than necessary.

Thanks a lot.

P.S. Can anyone please elaborate - a visit to a vet, let's say $70 cost - what exactly must it include, in details. What do you pay this money for, what does your vet do, exactly, except of just talking?

In my case, I need a referral to an eye specialist - so, we go to a vet we registered with at this moment, we come in, she writes a referral, we come out, it takes 5 minutes lets say, and we have to pay $70? I dont understand it. We dont get any other service for that money? The vets avoid answering these questions.

Just trying to get into the details and understand how this business work.

Longblades July 4th, 2013 10:14 AM

When I say "unfortunately" I mean you are out of luck. A Vet is not going to give you a referral to a specialist professional with whom they may have a working relationship on your say so that it's needed. They have to see the animal. You've saved all your money by not Vetting for all those years, now it's time to ante up for the sake of your dog and pay a measely $70 for the office fee. It's "unfortunate" the Vet clinic you went to last year demands another visit but it's not out of the norm. Some require a visit for every year's heartworm Rx. Mine doesn't. It's just unfortunate for you, don't let it be unfortunate for your dog as well.

ETA: I see that you somehow have the idea that regular/annual Vet visits entail nothing more than vaccinations. I have a dog and three cats. At this year's annual no one was vaccinated for anything. My cats are too old, I don't vaccinate my dog for anything other than rabies and it wasn't due. I got senior blood panels done. A wellness check. A weight check so we can continue to give the correct dose of one med. to one cat. A check on all for lumps and bumps, palpation of innards, check of eyes, ears, teeth, faecal float to check for worms, blood draw pre heart worm dosing. It's much more than vaccinations.

monstro July 4th, 2013 10:39 AM

Sorry, maybe I misunderstood you...
You saying "They have to see the animal".
Yes, ok, as I said before, I did go to that vet last year, [U]they have seen my dog, and opened a file.[/U]
What money did I save? I paid for a visit. Not sure I understand.

When I called, I said I need a referral to see an ophthalmologist, they say OK and booked an appointment.

You are saying " I see that you somehow have the idea that regular/annual Vet visits entail nothing more than vaccinations.".

It's not an idea, it's exactly what we got during the visit, basically nothing, external observation, that's it.

Maybe we are talking about different things?

Jull July 4th, 2013 10:42 AM

I think what LB meant by regular vet schedule its just a normal annual check up, not a frequent visit. An annual wellness exam is not necessarily to try and find things wrong with your pet and charge you for things you don't need; but to have a Dr that knows your pet, its history and keep an up to date file, in case there was ever an emergency all the information would be up to date and the doctors would know how to proceed, say if you were at an emergency clinic or something.

I currently have my dogs under a Homeopathic Vet, and I pay $95 for their annual wellness appointment, does it hurt my wallet, yeah a little bit, but it is important for me to have these exams and to keep a good relationship with my doctor. Not just because I go see her means that she will vaccinate my kids, in fact she knows that my dog has had reactions to vaccines and being so small (5lb) its a big risk, something the old vet never discussed with us.

I am not in favour of vaccines, and I feel so happy when I find Drs that recognize that so many are not necessary, in keeping a good relationship with my vet, if any situation ever arises where my dog an me are being questioned on his "up to date vaccines" I know that she will vouch for me as to why he doesn't.

Now, even your vet may not be a specialist that doesn't mean he/she can't help, they could do the check up and find out what it is with out you having to go see an ophthalmologist, unless you really want to and spend the extra money. Or they could say yes you need to go see one. Just because it is not a specialist vet, it doesn't mean they cannot help too, just as there are not so good vets there are also really good ones.

monstro July 4th, 2013 11:12 AM

Hi Jull, I see your point. Thanks a lot. Looks like I didn't have much luck with previous vets. So my trust was gone and only mistrust remained. And I tried to stay away from them to keep my dog healthy. Just to make this clear, I don't care about the money, all I care is about my dog's health, I just need to make sure I get the health service for my baby, and not being cheated by a dishonest or under-qualified practitioner. That's why I was trying to find the details of what this this annual checkup should cover. Because I don't have a feeling we got the required service when we visited the new vet. It was just external observation, that's it. Maybe that is indeed it, I don't know... Your last sentence gives me some confidence. And we'll see what she has to say.

Jull July 4th, 2013 12:35 PM

[QUOTE=monstro;1059275]Hi Jull, I see your point. Thanks a lot. Looks like I didn't have much luck with previous vets. So my trust was gone and only mistrust remained. And I tried to stay away from them to keep my dog healthy. Just to make this clear, I don't care about the money, all I care is about my dog's health, I just need to make sure I get the health service for my baby, and not being cheated by a dishonest or under-qualified practitioner. That's why I was trying to find the details of what this this annual checkup should cover. Because I don't have a feeling we got the required service when we visited the new vet. It was just external observation, that's it. Maybe that is indeed it, I don't know... Your last sentence gives me some confidence. And we'll see what she has to say.[/QUOTE]

At the end of the day you are the one that has to decide what is best for your furkid, and if you don't like/trust your doctor, I would look for another one.

I loved the old clinic where I took my pets, but there was not much information being shared, if the doctors thought something was good, that was the end of it they wouldn't explain further (like vaccines), nor look at the big picture instead of just the one issue. Once I found my new clinic I was thrilled beyond anything, and the visits are only by appointment no walk-ins, so I know I am also been given a time just for me and to answer as many questions as I have.

You have the right to question your vet, just because she/he is the Dr. doesn't mean he has the last word, but you also have to give them a chance ;) if everyone had a Dr. Becker in our city it would just be a perfect world!

monstro July 4th, 2013 01:23 PM

Thanks Jull,
I like your Gandhi's quote. So true...
I though I was the one thinking that ;)

free July 4th, 2013 06:46 PM

monstro not to be rude but when a human goes in for a yearly check what do the gps do. today they use a computer program that asks specific questions. blood test are not always done. medicare pays for that visit. if you later want to see a specialist medicare pays the gp for the referral and then pays the specialist for the visit

Barkingdog August 7th, 2013 01:07 PM

[QUOTE=monstro;1059209]Hi,

My dog is 10 years old Russian spaniel. He is in a good health. However I would like to see an ophthalmologist to check his right eye. Looks like he might have developed something similar to anisocoria (his right pupil is bigger than the left one). I have been trying to find one for the last several days, but Google returns only some Animal eye clinic, that is too far from Thornhill where we live. And they need some referral. I called VEC (veterinary Emergency Clinic in Toronto), but the also need a referral. We haven't been to a vet for many years, there was no need, now, there is one place there we went a year ago, because the dog was limping a little (the limping went away by itself in 3 days), and now it seems that we need to go to the same vet clinic in order to get referral to go to see an ophthalmologist in VEC. "Our" vet clinic (we've only been there once) wants to change use $70 just to give a referral. omg, it's just a referral, not a surgery. And we would also have to pay to the ophthalmologist at VEC, or wherever they sent us.

Is this a common practice here to get to see a specialist?, Because to be honest, it's a robbery to charge $70 for just a referral, why cant I go directly to see the eye doctor, make an appointment myself? How do you find ophthalmologists in Toronto, except of googling on internet, can you suggest a good one who's professional and not so greedy?

I am ready to pay, but I need a professional and I need results, unfortunately there are to many greedy amateurs pretending to be vet specialists.

Thanks a lot.[/QUOTE]

Yes it's common practice to need a referral from your regular vet to see a specialist, we have to this too in my state . I agree it does feel like highway robbery and I think it keep pets from getting the care they really need as some people can't afford to pay for two vet bills. There are vet clinic that do not charge as much as vet , maybe you get a referral from them or what a pet store like Petco , some have vets .


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