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Vet Direct debit payment plan
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# 1
kwmccarthy
Old 21-02-2013, 10:47 AM
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Default Vet Direct debit payment plan

Hello,

We have recently gotten our first pup, a Golden Retriever named Mac. When at our local vets to get his vaccinations we were advised to take out the vets direct debit plan to spread costs through the year. This is £15.99 per month and covers the following
- Next years booster vaccination
- A years flea and worming treatment
- 6 month health check
- 12.5% discount on other treatments
- 50% discount on second vaccination £20 instead of £40

I'm not sure is this good value or are there cheaper options. Are all of these things necessary?

Any advice appreciated.
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# 2
krlyr
Old 21-02-2013, 11:52 AM
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This kind of scheme can sometimes be beneficial - my mum had it for the first year of her pup's life as it meant she got a discount on all the startup jabs, the spay, etc. but longterm it's not something she continued or that I bother with for my adult dogs.
For example, I get their boosters done as a booster clinic for £20 - they do the whole set for £25 (cost of first jab, second jab is free - though an additional £10 for kennel cough vaccine)
I buy their flea and worming products online
Advocate every month at £36 for 6 vials (and that's for the XL as they're big dogs, cheaper for smaller dogs), plus a prescription charge from my vet at £12 per 6-pack (so make that £8 per treatment)
Worming tablets, I use Cestem which is a generic version of Drontal -£4 (for XL) and only needed twice a year.

So your vet offers those services for £15.99...16 x 12 equals £192 a year
I pay £124 and rather than a discount on the second jab, I could get it for free (and probably pay less for the first jab than your vet would charge too..so say they charge £40 for the first one too, I'd save £15)

Now, if you wait until your GR is fully grown before her spay, you're probably looking around £200-250 for the op (they usually go by anaesthetic amount which depends on weight, so big dogs cost more) so you might save £25-30 on the op with your 12.5% discount but providing she doesn't really need any other treatments, you'd probably be better off covering everything yourself and just sourcing the cheaper options.

I'm guessing you may well have paid for the first vaccination already though if you've been in to have that done, and your vet may not be happy for you to go elsewhere for the second jab (and these clinic type places may not want to finish a course another vet has already started either) - so that might skew things towards you being better off taking the policy out for this first year, but I would perhaps look at the fine print too.
For example, check what treatments that discount applies to - is it absolutely everything or are there limitations?
What flea and worming products do they give - for example, my mum's vet used Advocate which was good as her pup had a lungworm scare so my mum wanted to ensure she was covered. However, I phoned a vet offering one of this annual treatment plans that I was considering, and they only used Frontline, no option to change to Advocate, which is what I use and wanted to keep using. I'm in an area where lungworm has caused a few fatalities, and having seen it firsthand in my mum's pup, I don't want to take the risk with mine - Advocate is one of the few products that will provide cover with just one application (you could use Panacur wormer instead, for example, but it has to be an extended course of 7-10 days at half-dose)
Also check how often you'd get the flea and worming products - once a month will save you more money than if they only do it every other month or max 6 treatments or something.

As for the 6 month healthcheck, I imagine it will be fairly basic and just cover the usual - heart & lung sounds, quick look and feel over, ears, teeth, nose, etc. - a vet should check all this before issuing flea or worm treatments anyway as a vet is obligated to ensure a pet is healthy enough to be prescribed a treatment. Mine do 'prescription checkups' absolutely free, even if it's monthly, so a free 6 month check wouldn't win me over.

Have you looked into pet insurance, just as an aside? I know some people confuse these vet's own monthly payment plans with being some kind of insurance policy but they won't cover treatment costs or the costs relating to an accident, so separate pet insurance is an important consideration.
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# 3
gettingready
Old 21-02-2013, 1:44 PM
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Personally I would take out a good insurance policy rather than the vet plan as insurance will cover you for pretty much everything as far as ilness and injury goes and the vet plan only gives you a small discount in prices on things that can be bought much cheaper online anyway.

If your dog needs any serious treatment that goes into thousands.. the 12.5% discount till be nothing comparing to insurance paying the whole bill (minus the excess).
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# 4
krlyr
Old 21-02-2013, 2:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gettingready View Post
Personally I would take out a good insurance policy rather than the vet plan as insurance will cover you for pretty much everything as far as ilness and injury goes and the vet plan only gives you a small discount in prices on things that can be bought much cheaper online anyway.

If your dog needs any serious treatment that goes into thousands.. the 12.5% discount till be nothing comparing to insurance paying the whole bill (minus the excess).
I don't think it necessarily has to be an either/or though. My mum had the vet's own payment plan alongside insurance for her pup. Flea treatment, worming tablets, vaccinations, spaying etc. aren't something an insurance policy would pay for anyway so it just depends on what's better value for money for those, the payment plan or buying the products/services outright.
I think in my mum's case, the monthly fee was a bit less than in OP's example (about £12 a month) so it worked out better value and a bit more convenient (with my mum and stepdad working alternate shifts yet sharing a car, getting to places like the clinic I use was more difficult for her)

I only really mentioned the insurance thing as I've heard quite a few cases where people have thought this monthly payment plan was basically a vet's version of pet insurance, when it's not the same kind of thing at all really.
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# 5
gettingready
Old 21-02-2013, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
I don't think it necessarily has to be an either/or though.
Of course not, some people may choose to have both.

Just personally I would shop around for the basic (flea, worming, spaying etc) things and have decent insurance. Personally would not pay for both but it is everyone's choice
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# 6
niandsa
Old 22-02-2013, 10:24 AM
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We pay for both and the vet plan for a medium dog is £13. We priced it all out and because we will be getting Poppy spayed this year it works out cheaper than buying everything separately.

I will have another look after 12 months and decide whether to renew it.
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