Cheap Vet Visit Near Me - An affordable veterinary clinic in West Asheville opened its doors to great acclaim in early 2019. As promised, the low-cost Schaaf makes veterinary care accessible to pets who might not otherwise.
But open-door pricing has affected the veterinary industry in Asheville — and pet parents are wondering why their pets are so expensive.
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Open Door representative Amy St. Arnaud was quick to point out that they are not trying to undercut local doctors. "We're not reducing quality by lowering our prices, and we're not increasing them by raising them," St. Arnaud said. But how can both be true?
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The Citizen-Times surveyed 15 local veterinary providers to see if OpenDoor's price is really "low cost." While this claim is certainly true (OpenDoor's vet check-ups are $35, compared to $50-65 for its competitors), the study highlighted an issue many pet parents are all too familiar with — cost. A general lack of transparency.
Outside of the open house, only two area vets included any pricing information on their websites (and it wasn't too cut and dry — Avery Creek Pet Hospital's only number was a two-for-one special on cat vaccinations was, and Banfield Animal Hospital offers. Unlimited vet exams for a monthly membership. Registration fee). This makes it very difficult for pet parents to shop around, especially for services that should be the same - like vaccines, shots and topical medications.
Most veterinarians surveyed were unwilling to provide their numbers with their most routine service, the annual veterinary checkup. Some doctor's clinics say posting a one-size-fits-all price tag is misleading — and can make customers unhappy.
Robert Sinclair of Howe Creek Animal Hospital says there's no telling what a wellness visit will bring — maybe an ear infection or a rotting toenail that heals quickly, but a extra charge—and he's seen clients scream when it comes to the final medical cost. This is more than the original quote. Some veterinarians said they hesitate to provide estimates when potential clients call and ask about prices.
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According to St. Arnaud, OpenDoor's founders envisioned the clinic as a self-sustaining public service rather than a traditional business. They provide seed capital to get started, but don't expect a high return on investment. St. Arnaud said they generally want to cover operating costs, but won't make a profit beyond animal and technician salaries.
Open Door also doesn't have the bells and whistles that many local doctors do — surgical lasers, hydrotherapy tanks, and cat acupuncture (which is becoming a standard service at the Asheville vet).
The folks behind Open Door are adamant that they don't "try to solicit" other doctors for their prices. In fact, the Asheville Citizen Times asked the news director to pull the story for fear of creating ill will by using a direct price comparison.
St. Arnaud said Open Door's founders never thought the clinic would compete with established veterinarians, and in a conversation with the Citizen-Times, he praised the involvement and pro bono work of other veterinarians in the community.
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It seems that the people behind Open Doors are expected to treat animals that do not receive veterinary care. But because OpenDoor has no income limit for its affordable services, its low prices are attracting referrals from other area doctors.
Some of the math behind the Open Door business model appears to be a bit of a hand wave. There's no shortage of customers, though — members of the popular Facebook group Asheville Cat Weirds often complain about how the open door is handled.
Any discussion on veterinary medicine is incomplete without acknowledging the current industry crisis. Since the early 2000s, veterinary practice has been dropping like flies across the country, and those that survive face economic and existential problems.
Veterinarians often graduate with student loans, but without the sky-high salary of an MD. His colleagues are looking forward to it. As mega-corporations like Walmart enter the veterinary game, private practices fear they will go the way of the hometown grocery store.
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Because of these financial pressures 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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.
Local pet owner Abby Rachel Lee shared her experience with Open Door at Asheville's Cat Weirds, a cat-related Facebook group that's ironic.
"It's a lot easier to customize an animal tour when you have some idea of what the cost will be," Lee said. "I couldn't afford everything that Winston needed that day (Dr. Byer) and I devised a plan and paid for what would be most helpful in his recovery." Health and Immunizations
Get your dog or cat health and immunizations for $30 per month. Plus big discounts on emergency and other services!
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When was the last time you petted your pet? Taking care of your partner's outer health is just as important as taking care of their inner health.
Your role as a pet parent includes keeping your furry friend as happy and healthy as possible. We want to support you in this important mission. That's why we've worked hard to develop comprehensive health services designed to help your pet not only survive, but thrive! With regular physical exams, vaccinations, parasite control and more, we'll get your loved one on the path to their best life.
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Healthcare offers the possibility of quick and accurate diagnosis of diseases that we cannot prevent. By examining your pet regularly, we will understand what is "normal" for him. We can use this as a basis for comparison in future health examinations. That way, if something unusual appears, we can identify it immediately. It can add years to your loved one's life.
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Finally, regular wellness visits allow us to connect with you and your pet on a personal level. When we can partner with you and bond with your pet, we can provide the highest level of care. This ensures that your friend receives exactly the service he or she needs at every appointment. It also makes the doctor's visit a positive experience that you both look forward to.
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