overcharged for gerbil euthanasia
I had to put down my 4 year old gerbil this morning. He lived a very good and long life and he'd recently had a seizure that left him unable to walk, eat or drink. I've put my gerbils down before when they reach this point and it usually costs around $40. I called Grafton Animal Hospital to see if that had time to squeeze me in quickly and they said yes. I didn't inquire about pay because I was upset about having to put down my baby and I figured it would be under $100.
So I get there, I walk in already crying because I'm very upset. They send me back to the examination room and I wait for the vet to come in, while filling out some paperwork regarding my pet and housing information. I was Dr. Laura Raiff. She was very nice and very sweet. After a few minutes of looking at the gerbil we conclude euthanasia is the best option (although I assure you it was VERY obvious; I've been keeping and breeding gerbils for years, I know when there is nothing left to be done). After this the vet leaves the room to get ready and gives me some paperwork to fill out. It says the euthanasia may cost anywhere from $50-100. I figured it would cost around $50 for a gerbil...
A receptionist comes in to give me an estimate.
$71 for the 'physical examination'
$100 for the euthanasia
$65 for 'sedatives'
Grand total: $234
Note: this is after the physical exam, before the euthanasia process.
I go pale. That is my food budget for the next month! I was going to get a new laptop this month and possibly even put down money on a rental car for my vacation this summer!! But what am I supposed to do? They've already done the 'physical exam,' my gerbil is on the table gasping for air (and I've been watching him suffer for over 48 hours already) and I'm crying, prepared to put him down. Was I supposed to say no and walk out? Pay $71 for nothing and leave? Walk out paying nothing for services they already claim rendered? Was I supposed to make a scene? MY CAT cost less to euthanize AND cremate! I quietly pay my bill....
After all is said and done they brought him back to me wrapped in paper towels, zip lock bags, and tapped into a card board box. My last vet in MI (Canton Animal Hospital) put down my gerbil in his small carrier cage I brought him in, where 'squirming' wasn't an issue and didn't require $65 worth of sedative, and the euthanasia cost $40 and they didn't charge me a $71 exam for what was obviously the end of a life. Once back in my car I had to open him up like a $@!#% Christmas present just so I could bury him in the backyard with his sibling.
My mom called and they claim it is Virginia law to do a 'physical exam' before euthanising (maybe for a dog or cat, but a DYING 4 YEAR OLD GERBIL??) and they NEEDED the sedative because he was squirming. And I don't even know why it cost $100 and not $40 for the euthanasia itself...
We called several vets in MI and they all said they could do it for under $50. We are going to call all the vets in Yorktown and Gloucester and see what they quote for euthanasia to see if its really 'Virginia Law" that it cost that much. It is a 3 oz animal, it shouldn't.
They refused to give me a refund. We are filing a complaint with the better business bureau and the Virginia Board of Veterinary Medicine. I'm going to put this on as many review sites as I can.
I highly recommend none of you ever go there, at least for exotic pets. And if you do, make sure they discuss prices with you before the visit is halfway over.