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Dog Mom ‘Bluffs’ Vet Into Reducing Bill by $5,000

A dog owner in Australia reportedly “bluffed” a vet into reducing her bill by $5,000. However, her tactics have been labeled as “emotional blackmail” by one vet.

How did the dog owner reduce the vet bill by $5,000?

Upon hearing that the treatment for a lump on the neck of her dog would cost $10,000, the owner bluffed and said that she couldn’t afford that and would likely have to put the dog down. The vet then offered the treatment at half the price.

Speaking to Kidspot, the owner said that she nearly passed out when she received the original quote. “When they printed the quote and handed it to me, I nearly fainted,” she said. The hospitalization costs, operating room fees, anesthesia, IV fluids, pain medications, surgical consumables, biopsy collections, injections, and the surgical procedure itself would all together cost Lydia $10,000.

She told the vet, “It looks like I’ll have to put her down because I can’t afford that.” However, this was just a strategy Lydia was employing. “I never had the intention of putting her down, but I had hoped by saying this, they’d be able to reduce the bill even slightly,” she stated.

The vet, startled by her remarks, asked her for some time to possibly negotiate a more affordable fee. After running the figures through his computer, he returned and presented Lydia with a new estimate that was half the price of the original. “$5,000 is still a lot of money, but I was so relieved and grateful I even said that in the first place,” she shared.

How have vets reacted?

Sydney vet, Dr. Tim Montgomery, criticized Lydia for attempting to manipulate him into giving a discount, emphasizing that veterinary clinics often have to endure a financial setback in order to save a pet’s life.

“If you use emotional blackmail to try and get people to give you a discount, that’s your decision and that’s up to you,” Mongomery said. “But in this case a vet is going to be more concerned about saving your pet’s life than saving their own money so vets frequently take a hit.” (via Daily Mail)

Meanwhile, Dr. Cristy Secombe, who is the Head of Veterinary Policy and Advocacy at the Australian Veterinary Association, conveyed her sympathy for Lydia’s inability to cough up $10,000. She suggested Lydia should have instead initiated a “polite” discussion with the veterinarian about what she could realistically manage. “What she’s really been talking to the veterinarian about is the concept of contextualized care,” she said.

She added, “It’s usually in a polite manner where that client says, ‘Look my circumstances don’t allow me to do that, can we look at something a different way to approach this potentially?’”


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