Vet's being difficult

Hello everyone. Not sure what happened to my last profile.
Last week my mare injured her leg. Nothing terrible but it will take a little while to heal. When the vet came out he was great. Super sweet, kind of did his own thing but I was pretty flexible with whatever he wanted to try. When I asked he was unable to quote me a price. I was told to email them a picture of her leg everytime I rewrap it.
Everytime I call to talk to them about the bill they, have no clue what I am talking about, are unable to give it to me, or some form of an excuse. A friend called and they told her they only send their bills out at the end of the month. They wont tell me how much the bill is for.
I send emails of her leg, I get an error response. I cant find any to just take a look at the picture and give me opinions on her healing.
Maybe this is just a rant. I am at my whit’s end

My vet is great but he has a disconnect with his office staff. I think it’s deliberate. He never knows what things cost and then his office staff bill sometimes months later.

I do have his personal text number. In the situation you describe I would not really expect a reply unless he saw something wrong. The office staff won’t have a clue.

Vets are super busy and need to focus on the emergency in front of them. I expect he has no mental bandwidth for chatting with you daily when all is going well with healing.

1 Like

Go in person to pay the bill and I bet they will have no problem finding the info.

I always pay at the time of service but the last time my vet was here was an after hours call and he said they would bill me. I waited for 3 + weeks and finally couldn’t take it anymore and went by when I was in the area and paid the bill.

It could be that it hasn’t been long enough for them to get it all ready and they really aren’t sure what your bill is or who you are. Depends on the vet and the staff. Some are just not organized.

1 Like

I use a practice that bills monthly. I like it that way.

If I need a bill, they can put it together sooner, and for hospital visits, they do. Every once in a while a visit gets lost somewhere before it hits the computer. So long as it is correct, I don’t fuss. I check my bill very closely, and report all errors, even those in my favor. I once realized they had not billed me for a 10 dose vial of Adequan, and you would not believe how grateful the vet was when I called to remind him.

I tried using a practice that billed instantly and it was annoying, because I was in the monthly habit.

If you need to talk to the vet, ask the staff to have him call you, but make it a separate call from asking about the bill. Too many topics in a single call and things get missed, IME.

1 Like

Generally it takes a while for a vet to pull together the bill.

At my vet’s office, the staff need to confer with the vet on the treatment - what was done, what was given - so they can draw up the bill in total. Sometimes the vet will waive a certain fee, too - mine does this all the time with rescue cases, and it drives his staff nuts. If the case is ongoing, they generally will let it roll until the case is resolved, unless you’re really racking up a large bill, in which case you can ask to pay some or all of it, with the understanding that more will follow.

I wouldn’t worry about it. You’ll get the bill eventually. If this is not your normal vet, I would go in person to the clinic, introduce myself, and ask if they have a bill I can pay, at least in part. At the very least, you will get on their radar.

As for the photos - is the vet actually getting them, or is the email or phone number they asked you to send them to giving you the error message every time you try? Maybe the file size is too large to be sent to them. My email prevents me from receiving photos over a certain size.


I guess I am used to my regular vet who bills instantly.
Its the email they told me to send it to. When I call about it they dont have my mare on file so they dont think they should be receiving the pictures.

I can understand the office staff not being able to do the bill yet - it’s possible he hasn’t given them the full notes on your visit that included all the procedures he did or medications used. However, I do think a vet should be able to give at least a ballpark number of what a procedure will cost before they do it.

But I’m also beyond frustrated at communication with vets these days. My regular vet is actually quite good at communication, but I’ve worked with two well-regarded lameness vets over the last year and I’m so tired of having to make multiple calls/texts just to get a simple question answered.

My vet is a track vet. He never bills. Literally. Never. Bills. At the track he basically looks at “a leg” every 15 minutes, and only bills for medications/supplies, so he’s fallen into that habit with his off-track clients too.

How does he stay afloat? I’ve no idea. Sometimes I stand in front of his truck with a checkbook and a pen and won’t let him leave till he says a number. Sometimes it’s easier - dental day. 2x sedation - OK. Sometimes I think he feels like he will be back multiple times for whatever issue and he says no we’ll sort it out next time. He can never give a number. So I basically give him a check for $500 every time I see him. In the long run it works. I think. Unless you have insurance and need an invoice… :roll_eyes:

He’s a brilliant vet and a very funny old git, that’s all there is to it!


Sounds like a Siegfried Farnon Beer Stein cash box kind of guy


My vets have always, in multiple states, been able to present a bill at the time of treatment and accurately project any future bills. I would not be comfortable with a vet performing procedures that s/he nor their office can quote me an accurate price on.


Locally, some bill at the time of service, while most do not. Ime, it depends on the size of the practice & whether or not you have an account. I mainly use a practice that is also the largest emergency/after hours service in the area. I’ve been blessed in that my after hours calls have all fallen into the category of ‘emergent issue at night check that wasn’t present at evening feed & can’t wait until morning’ & not ‘OMG, his leg has fallen off’. On those after hours calls, the vet has definitely done a quick written estimate for the treatment options we discussed once the horse was stabilized. Their office invoices via email.

For non-emergent calls, the vets from both that large practice & the smaller two-vet practice I use have always been able to give a reasonably accurate estimate – do I need to sell plasma or a kidney this time – and it gets invoiced to my account. For exceptionally large bills, the office usually also gives a courtesy call. (I guess to make sure you haven’t fled the country? Lol) Because I do not have an account with the vet my child’s trainer uses, when they’ve given the pony spring/fall vax as part of trainer’s barn call, their office calls to take a pre-payment.


Thats also part of it. I dont really have money laying around. If hes not able to quote me the price of stitching it up vs letting it close on its own how can I make a good decision?


Some professionals don’t like to tell clients about costs because of the reaction. Many will also discount themselves out of work if they are not careful. Money is a difficult issue.

I agree & don’t think that’s unreasonable. Mine have always at least been able to give a fairly accurate per procedure estimate or a price range off the top of their head. If it is more complex, they might have to go sit in their truck & work out an estimate on paper. I’ve never encountered one who had no clue what any of their supplies cost or couldn’t say “A basic X-ray of one foot costs $X”.

The on call vets for emergency/after hours have been especially good in this regard. I once had a huge Shire whose leg went from normal at turn out to alarmingly resembling a balloon coming back in that evening. Cellulitis. Vet said he needed a Baytril injection, among other things. My stomach about dropped to the floor – Baytril had been pricey for one of my spindly little OTTB in the past. And the vet’s weight estimate for the Shire was 2200-2500 lbs. :exploding_head: I asked if he was able to ballpark estimate the cost of the Baytril. He was able to rattle off cost per unit × weight = $ off the top of his head.


Not to mention it took atleast told me they were planning on billing me at the end of the month the first couple times I called. I have gotten a different answer everytime Ive called

1 Like

Sounds like the vet has a very poorly organized office. That doesn’t necessarily reflect on his medical competence or honesty.

My guess is he probably has a rotating number of people (possibly very young women) to answer the office number and take messages. Depending on what Covid 19 is doing in your area, they may be working remotely. And then he has one competent book keeper/accountant work one or two days at the end of each month to do all the billings and keep the books.

The people you talk to may have no access to the billing information and perhaps no clear over view of how the process works.

1 Like

I suppose not. But you wonder how they don’t bankrupt themselves or even lose their license for insufficient record keeping after a while.

I would discuss w/ him, or his billing person their policy. If it does not suit, look elsewhere.
I was at a barn that had a vet they loved, wanted him used exclusively. Was a decent vet, so I was OK w/ that part, but his billing was atrocious. Sometimes I would get a bill at the end of the month, sometimes not for several months, often with errors that were hard to trace when it was 3,4,6 months worth of services. Not to mention the sticker shock.

After several unhappy conversations I told the barn owner I would not use him anymore, period. If they were unhappy with that, I would move. We are still there.

The vet should be able to give you some form of at least a verbal estimate at time of treatment (not down to the nickel, but are we looking at a $300 visit or a $1000 visit). He should be giving his charges in a timely fashion to the office staff for billing. If he doesn’t give charges to them right away, he will make mistakes in his billing.


Do we have a same vet? You just described mine to a T.

1 Like

What S/he said!! Unfortunately, people like me and others make decisions based on the price. Could I have my horse on every antihistamine with grass allergies? Could I have my entire horse’s leg radiographed and blocked if he’s sore on it plus MRI? Yes. Would I choose those routes given the full price to simply rule out things? No. I work with my vet to get the most cost-effective and expedient or not so expedient (time off) approaches that I am comfortable with given our discussion of the issue. Price is a huge factor.

1 Like