A former Ex On The Beach star has joined other pet owners in condemning ‘greedy’ veterinarians after being charged nearly £5,000 for her dog’s ear infection and then being quoted thousands more when it returned.
In 2014, Chloe Goodman, who starred in the series, brought her French bulldog Chanel to the pet care center in Surrey, where Chanel received a number of treatments, including ear drops and a scan.
The 29-year-old reluctantly paid the eye-popping bill for the work, but became enraged when the infection returned and she was quoted an additional £4,500 for a second procedure.
She told MailOnline: “The ear drops did not cure the infection; they helped temporarily, but the infection returned two weeks later.”
“When they gave me a second estimate for another procedure, I declined because the price was excessive. They are avaricious for cash.
Since then, I’ve been treating Chanel’s ear infection on my own, but this is not a sustainable solution.
MailOnline reached out to the veterans for comment.
Ms. Goodman stated that she was able to recover £3,000 of her initial £5,000 bill through insurance, but was responsible for the remainder.
Numerous other pet owners have complained about the exorbitant costs of veterinary care.
However, numerous veterans have pushed back against the notion that they are profiteers.
One told MailOnline that the sector was ‘on the verge of collapse’ because of’short staffing and the cost of living problem,’ while another cited the exorbitant costs associated with performing complex medical treatments.
Bones, Vicky Istott’s cat, became ill last summer. However, when she was referred to Vets Now, an after-hours clinic operated by IVC Evidensia, she was surprised to be quoted consultation fees that were more than six times her regular rate.
Normally, she would pay £34, but the vet operated by a private equity firm informed her that it would cost £220, or £173 if she returned the following morning.
She contacted multiple different clinics, but they all used Vets Now, leaving her with no other options.
The cost of Bones’s treatment to unblock his urethra was £1,045.09. A week later, though, it became obstructed once more, and he was put down. The retired local government employee stated that the industry should have advised prices, adding, ‘You have no choice when your pet is unwell on a Saturday night.
“The poor creature was in anguish.” I understand that you pay a premium for after-hours service, but six times the standard rate is absurd.’
Out-of-hours prices are often higher than daytime pricing because to the increased expenditures associated with “having a dedicated staff.” Vets Now’s Dr. Laura Playforth deemed the estimate reasonable.
In the meantime, dog enthusiast Christine Wynne claimed that her beagle was denied possibly life-saving treatment due to a dispute with a private equity veterinarian.
When Lacey became ill in 2020, Mrs. Wynne suspected a stomach obstruction and requested that she be transported to a doctor who had previously treated the dog.
However, Shreen Vets in Gillingham, Dorset, diagnosed Lacey with a stomach infection and referred her to Southern Counties Veterinary Specialists and Vets Now after hours.
11 days after a “heated discussion,” Mrs. Wynne’s request to be referred to her preferred practice was granted. There, it was determined that Lacey had a gastrointestinal obstruction, but she passed away 12 hours later. They noted that if they had discovered her earlier, she would have had a greater chance of survival.
When we become aware that a customer is dissatisfied, we will always review what transpired and address it with them, according to an IVC representative.
Critics assert that the veterinary profession has devolved into a dog-eat-dog environment, with small practices being devoured by profit-driven multinational conglomerates.
According to data published by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) last year, the majority (51%) of veterinary offices in the United Kingdom are currently held by six businesses, three of which are owned by private equity. Sixty-seven percent (67%) of practices are now organized into “groups” of at least three practices.
Medivet, which is owned by a Luxembourg-based private equity business, operates over 400 surgeries across the United Kingdom. In its most recent annual report, the company referred to its vets’ offices as ‘CGUs,’ or Cash-Generating Units, eloquently demonstrating its fixation with the bottom line.
Inevitably, equity company supporters will encourage veterinarians to give costly and complex operations, including — most controversially — cancer therapies to prolong a pet’s life, which, according to some, may not be in the animal’s long-term best interests.
Senior veterinarian and scholar Dr. Polly Taylor is a member of EthicsFirst, an international organization that works against unnecessary medical treatment. In many instances, the wellbeing of animals is disregarded, she says. There is a great deal of pressure [from veterinarians] to undergo costly treatments. Innovations in technology play a role. In the midst of the fervor surrounding so-called innovative treatments, the animal’s best interests are being neglected.
Recent study has demonstrated that major surgery can be quite traumatic for any animal. It is not like operating on a human; the animal will be unaware of the procedure.
Last year, Tamazin Morley of Hampshire had to take her six-year-old cockapoo Barkley to a local veterinarian when he became unable to lie down after a walkabout.
Ms. Morley told the Daily Mail, “He had a pinched nerve in his neck, a basic condition.” “The veterinarian advised Calpol, and the condition disappeared.” However, it returned while Barkley was playing with a friend’s dog.
When we returned home, our veterinarian referred him to Lumbry Park, the local animal hospital. And that’s when things became considerably worse and more expensive.
She claims that hospital workers in Alton, Hampshire, insisted on performing an MRI, lumbar puncture, and joint fluid analysis.
Ms. Morley relates, “They appeared pleased to hear Barkley was insured for £7,500.” ‘That made me feel nervous. When I brought him up that evening, he was really distressed. His tail, which is generally upright and coiled, was dangling laxly, which was a cause for concern.
“I assumed it was the anesthetic [animals are anesthetized before to an MRI to ensure them remain still during the procedure] but the next day he could not hold his urine or feces,”
Ms. Morley stated that she emailed a video of Barkley to a senior member of the hospital’s staff, who informed her that there was a major concern and that another MRI would be required.
She recalls, “I was quite concerned because it meant a second general anesthetic within days, but I agreed.”
The second MRI, according to Ms. Morley, revealed that the lumbar puncture had produced a tiny bleed, which prevented neurological impulses from reaching the brain and rendered Barkley doubly incontinent.
She told the Mail, “They apologized, but they have never admitted liability.” ‘They also stated that he should be put to death if his condition did not improve within six to nine months. Prior to entering that hospital, he was only six years old and in generally good health. I believe it was an unnecessary operation that rendered him incapacitated.’
Undoubtedly, the hospital would argue that Barkley’s surgeries were necessary, but Ms. Morley is not the only animal lover who feels their pet has been exposed to “over-treatment.”
Dusty, a seven-year-old Labrador belonging to Karen Karbritz, was diagnosed with cancer in 2018. His spleen was removed first, followed by a portion of his liver.
“By the time we arrived at the Royal Veterinary College hospital [in Hertfordshire], all the insurance money — £4,000 — had been spent, and we probably spent another £10,000 on chemotherapy and natural therapies,” she explains.
“We were willing to pay, and I think it was worth it; they claimed he would receive two additional months.” Ultimately, he survived another four.
Regarding the cost, Ms. Karbritz claims that the college had her “over a barrel.” She claims there is no transparency. “There should be uniformly fixed rates.” In Dusty’s case, the charges continued to accumulate.
When asked about these charges, an RVC spokesperson informed the Mail that the college does not comment on specific cases.
Ms. Karbritz argues that she does not regret Dusty’s medical care, simply the exorbitant cost.
Even while it’s normal for pet owners to want the best for their pets, excessive care is becoming a serious problem.
Some feel this is at least partially caused by celebrity veterinarians lobbying for increasingly complicated surgical procedures. And prices for these operations are escalating as well.
Recent entry of aggressive private equity firms into the veterinary industry has resulted in a doubling of vets’ fees between 2015 and 2020.
These additional costs have consequently increased the cost of insurance. According to the Association of British Insurers, the average yearly premium for a dog is currently £269 and is predicted to climb by approximately 6.4% annually.
Many pet owners are abandoning their animals due to the fear of incurring exorbitant medical fees they cannot afford. According to the RSPCA, four pets are abandoned every hour, and this figure is expected to rise during the winter.
According to The Good Vet And Pet Guide’s Chris Deadman, the acquisition of independent practices by vet chains and private equity firms has resulted in a genuine decline in quality and an increase in user complaints. We have also observed that vets are increasing the price of ancillary treatments such as teeth cleaning and worming. This is inadmissible.
Some corporate firms, according to Dr. Taylor, require employees — that is, veterinarians — to meet monthly revenue goals, and they won’t reveal what those goals are, not even to other professionals. Employers gag them and they are sucked into the system.
According to a number of pet owners, it is nearly impossible to effectively file a complaint regarding excessive veterinary care. The RCVS has a complaints system, however veterinarians are rarely expelled.
Marthinus Ryk Botes, a veterinarian who worked for Medivet in Faversham, Kent, is an example. After being found guilty of “disgraceful conduct” for conducting unneeded hip replacements on three canines, he was disbarred. The court determined he was motivated by “money gain.” The cost of a complete hip replacement can exceed £3,000.
Neither Medivet nor the RCVS were willing to discuss the case or the broader topic of “overtreatment” for profit in greater detail. Approximately 2% of cases referred to the RCVS result in a formal disciplinary hearing.
However, the British Veterinary Association (BVA, roughly equivalent to the doctors’ BMA) is concerned about “overtreatment.”
Malcolm Morley, president of the British Veterinary Association, told the Mail, ‘Owners want the finest possible care for their pets, as they are often considered members of the family and their loss can be traumatic.
However, when considering treatments, the animal’s well-being should take precedence. Although it may be possible to provide short-term care for an animal, doing so could prolong its suffering. Sometimes it may be preferable to put them to sleep.
In the meantime, back in Hampshire, Barkley is making the best of his disability; however, he must wear diapers and is heavily medicated. Since leaving Lumbry Park, which is owned by the multinational CVS Group, his owner has spent tens of thousands of dollars more on veterinary care.
The hospital report has confirmed that Barkley’s injury was caused by the lumbar puncture, which continues to infuriate her.
We do not comment on specific cases to the media, the hospital insisted in response to the Mail’s inquiries concerning Barkley’s care.
The Mail also contacted Richard Fairman, the chief executive officer of CVS Group, the hospital’s UK parent business, which operates over 500 veterinary clinics in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the Netherlands. Collectively, they generated $554 million in revenue during the preceding fiscal year.
Fairman, who earns a salary of approximately £416,000 per year plus a performance incentive of up to 100% of pay, refused to respond to our inquiries.
Ms. Morley stated, “The hospital’s silence is terrible, but it says volumes.” Barkley entered the hospital with a minor ailment and left with a condition that may become permanent. The fact that they can get away with this is absurd.