Very Cheap Vet Near Me - Open Door, a low-cost veterinary clinic in West Asheville, opened to much fanfare in early 2019. As promised, its lower prices have made veterinary care accessible to pets who would otherwise have to do without it.
But Open Door's prices have also upset the veterinary industry in Asheville — leaving pet parents wondering why their vet is so much more expensive.
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Aimee St. Arnaud, an Open Door representative, is quick to explain that they are not trying to undermine local vets. "We don't lower quality by setting our prices lower, and they don't cut corners by setting their prices higher," said St. Arnaud. But how can both be true?
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The Citizen Times surveyed 15 area veterinary care providers to assess whether Open Door prices are indeed "low cost." While this claim is certainly true ($35 for an open-door vet exam compared to $50-65 from competitors), the study highlighted an issue many pet parents are all too aware of - a complete lack of price transparency
Other than Open Door, only two area vets included any pricing information on their websites (and it's hardly cut and dried — Avery Creek Pet Hospital's only issue was a two-for-one special on cat vaccinations, and Banfield Animal Hospital offers unlimited veterinary exams for a monthly subscription). This makes it extremely difficult for pet parents to shop around, especially for services that should be exactly the same — like vaccinations, pills and topical medications.
Many of the vets surveyed were reluctant to provide a number for their most standard service, the annual vet exam. Some veterinary clinics said that posting a one-size-fits-all price is misleading and can lead to unhappy customers.
Robert Sinclair, of Haw Creek Animal Hospital, said it's impossible to know what will happen at a wellness visit — maybe an ear mite or an ingrown toenail, which is a quick fix but an extra fee — and he's seen the customers split when the final cost of treatment is higher than the original offer. Some of the vets even said they hesitate to give estimates when potential customers call asking for prices.
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According to St. Arnaud, the founders of Open Door, sees the clinic as more of a self-sustaining public service than a traditional business. They initially provided the seed capital, but do not expect much return on investment. St. Arnaud that they are generally intended to cover operating costs, but not to create a profit beyond the vets' and technicians' salaries.
Open Door also doesn't have the bells and whistles that many local vets do — surgical lasers, hydrotherapy tanks and feline acupuncture (which is becoming an increasingly standard amenity at Asheville vets).
The people behind Open Door are adamant that they are not "trying to outbid" other vets for their prices. In fact, they asked the news director of the Asheville Citizen Times to pull this story for fear of creating ill will by comparing prices directly.
St. Arnaud explained that the founders of Open Door never imagined the clinic would be a competitor to established veterinarians, often praising the involvement of other veterinarians in the community and pro-bono work in conversations with the Citizen Times.
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It seems that the people behind Åben Dør are expected to treat animals that would otherwise not receive veterinary care. But since Open Door has no revenue cap on its affordable services, its low prices also attract transfer patients from other veterinarians in the area.
Some of the math behind Open Door's business model seems like a bit of a stretch. While it certainly doesn't lack customers — members of the prolific Facebook group Asheville Cat Weirdos often complain about how popular Open Door is.
Any conversation about veterinary care is incomplete without acknowledging the current industry crisis. Veterinary practices across the country have been dropping like flies since the early 2000s, and the survivors are plagued by financial and existential concerns.
Vets often graduate with massive student debt, but without the sky-high salaries their MD colleagues have to look forward to. Private practices worry that they will go the way of the hometown grocery store as mega-corporations like Walmart enter the veterinary game.
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Because of these financial stressors and the often stressful nature of veterinary medicine itself, veterinarians are two to four times more likely to die by suicide than the general population, according to a 2018 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Local pet owner Abbey Rachel Lee shared her experience with Open Door on Asheville Cat Weirdos, a Facebook group with a surprising impact on cats.
"It's much easier to plan a vet visit when you have an idea of how much the cost will be in advance," says Lee. "I couldn't afford everything (my dog) Winston needed that day, so (Dr. Bayer) and I worked out a plan and paid for what would help him heal the most." “I would highly recommend Hearts Alive to anyone looking for a vet for their fur babies. Not only did they charge a lot less, the love and compassion they showed my dog and I was over the moon." - Kristen S., via Yelp
At Hearts Alive Village, our affordable animal clinic provides high-quality care for your pets at a fee far below commercial veterinary clinics. We focus on preventative care - spaying and neutering, all dental services and blood work.
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You will not see any of us "sitting" or "waiting". We're too busy making sure you and your pet get the care and attention you deserve.
Because we believe in preventative medicine, we introduced $25/20-minute wellness and dental visits. This allows the vet to get to know your pet, answer your questions and address your concerns. If vaccines or lab tests are required, you can choose from a menu of options.
A graduate of Ohio State University, Dr. Marilyn has been practicing veterinary medicine in the Las Vegas Valley since 1998. She has cared for animals in a variety of small clinics, urgent care clinics and shelters over the years and provided emergency veterinary services. She enjoys working with dogs and cats and has a special interest in surgery and dentistry. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, she now lives happily in Henderson with her husband and rescue boxer of 11 years, Rossi.
At HAV, your pet receives the highest quality veterinary care... at a price you didn't think possible.
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*Discounts are given to other local lifeguards, seniors, military (with military ID) and those receiving government assistance (proof required).
In addition to cash and credit cards, we offer three types of financing so that your pet can be treated without delay.
*If you have been refused Care Credit and ScratchPay (proof is required), you can apply for help through a vet bill. In most cases a deposit is required. Once approved, you will be given a payment plan and your pet will be treated. Apply below:
*If you have been refused Care Credit and ScratchPay (proof is required), you can apply for help through a vet bill. In most cases a deposit is required. Once approved, you will be given a payment plan and your pet will be treated.
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We believe that all animals should have the care they need, regardless of their family's financial situation. That is why we have set up the Landsbyfonden. When you or your business contribute to the fund, we can offer additional discounts to those who qualify and offer payment plans that work within the family's budget. Last year alone we saved the lives of countless animals through the Landsbyfonden and kept families intact.
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