Is this the right vet for my piggies?

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Post   » Tue Aug 08, 2017 3:25 pm

Hi, I'm new to the forums and am having trouble finding a new vet for my pigs. We are switching vets for all our pets because our old vet had forced my parents to call from out of the country to give them their credit card instead of sending us a bill when our dog needed an urgent visit. My aunt has financial troubles and counldn't pay at that time and it cost from 50-100$ just for the phone call. The vet we are taking my dog to does not have a doctor who specializes in small pets and exotics and they reccomended a vet in Nashua, New Hampshire call All Pets that have four doctors with guinea pig experience.
I visited them today and asked them a few questions, for example; if they would do an X-ray if I suspected stasis, or if they would prescribe probiotics with antibiotics if it were necessary (I have watched several YouTube videos about guinea pigs dying of this because they didn't have the right care from the vet that they needed). The woman at the front desk said yes to pretty much everything and even said they can do bloodwork for them if it were ever needed. I asked the cost for a normal checkup and she said 67$ which seems like a lot to me, but for that kind of care I think it would be worth it. I just read the reviews and while none I found were about guinea pigs, a ton were VERY negative. I'm worried I will get scammed as other people have claimed to have been by this place, and I'm also worried that they could cause a death as they apparently have to cats and dogs that went there (just what I read in reviews)... I am going to be speaking to my mom's friend who is a vet tech to see her view, but I would like to get them a checkup before I leave for a week and a half to make sure all is well.
I am going to send them an email with more in depth questions, is there anything particular I should ask? One thing I am wondering is what they do during the checkup, as 67$ would be quite the pretty penny just to weigh, examine, and possibly clip their nails. Is there something my previous vet wasn't doing that they do? As my previous vet is an exotic/small animals vet, and if this place doesn't work out I will bring them back there despite some of their ill intentions.
I also am going to start weighing my piggies because I realized how important that can be and want to know what weight I should consider "normal" for each of them. If I still can't figure things out I will contact the animal shelter I got them from and ask for their opionion. But if anyone here could tell me what I should ask and look out for when I email them it would be greatly appreciated! I'm only 15, so there's only so much I can do, I am currently paying for everything for my guinea pigs except hay, pellets, bedding, and etc. (if I did run out of money my parents would still pay for any medical costs, it's just they want me to contribute however I can at this moment) so loosing a lot of money on a vet that would not be the right fit for my boys would not be ideal, as I'm trying to get a new desktop so I can make drawings easier (I'm a digital artist, I do pet portraits and such) so I can make more money to save up in case they need emergency care that is expensive (that way i can assure myself they will get the attention they need to any situation). I couldn't imagine loosing either one of my boys, I never expected to bond like this to another animal after my chicken, Ruby had passed away. These pigs are my top priority in life, they are like children to me and I want them to have the best doctor I can easily reach.(If I posted this in the wrong forum or if this isn't in the right place I deeply apolligize, as I am new and I haven't gotten the swing of things yet! Also sorry if I have some spelling mistakes, since this is long it's possible I may miss some when I go over it again) Thank you for reading!


Post   » Tue Aug 08, 2017 6:37 pm

There's a thread here that gives vet recommendations for various areas of the country and world, I think. Have you checked that? If there is anyone around you that has a vet that's good with guinea pigs and on this forum, they probably have listed them in the recommendation thread.

My exotic vet does charge about $65 for a check up of a guinea pig, so I'm not sure that's so out of line.

What I did to find my vet was call a bunch of other vets in town and ask them who they would recommend for guinea pigs. When the same vet got named over and over again by a lot of different vets, I went with them. And I like them a lot.


Post   » Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:07 pm

I just found the thread and even though there are only 2 vets listed (that currently will take cavies), one of them is only about 30 minutes away, I'll probably shoot them an e-mail and ask some questions tonight. If this one doesn't work out I'll have to go back to thinking about All Pets. The reason I wasn't familiar with why their price was 67$ was because the cost for examining a cat is only 40$ (Which seems super low, I've heard it's not the real price, but I'm uncertain). Quite puzzling to me, but I'm glad to know that 67$ is not an extremely high price, so I'm not ruling them out yet.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:33 pm

My vet here in Houston charges $63 for a rabbit, I believe, so that's in the same ballpark.

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Post   » Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:07 pm

I was unable to read your post because you ran all your words together and did not break your post up into multiple paragraphs with spaces between them. You make it very difficult to respond if a person can't even read your post. When you signed up, you agreed to follow the guidelines for posting.

Please break up future posts so they are readable.

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Post   » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:19 pm

I saw that you are planning to go to All Pets in Nashua, NH. I am not aware of the other doctors there, but Dr Kilgore, recently hired on, and who ran Littleton Animal Hospital in MA for many years, is probably one you would want to ask for. She was our doctor for many years and has extensive exotics animal knowledge. I read the reviews for this organization that you probably had read. It did sound like many folks had issues with pricing and the outcome of their pets' health, and some felt they were getting what they were paying for. That, in general, is the get what you pay for. Or should be. Sometimes you get a break, and sometimes you pay more. But be assured, you will usually pay more for pig care, be it medical, proper foods/hays and cage materials. Hopefully with proper nutrition and exercise your boys will not need to make as many trips to the vet over their lifetimes, but it is necessary to be prepared with a significant emergency savings for when things do arise.

I'm glad you are following your instinct and performing due diligence to find the right exotics vet for your boys. Keep your radar up on this regularly. We've been doing the same lately where there have been alot of changes and moving of doctors down this way. Just an important thought...use your gut, get a second opinion if you need to. There have been recommendations for some surgeries, for instance, that we are entirely glad we did not perform. As it turns out, they were unnecessary, too risky or not curative (with an example situation for each of these). We have not had blood work done unless there was a valid concern, due to the stress of the event. Equally, our vet(s) have detected issues that we would not have.

Your idea to put together thoughts on what to ask the veterinary office/veterinarian is good. Usually a doctor will palpate body in search of lumps or abnormalities, will check teeth (including molars, especially if suspicion of troubles with eating or loss of weight), will look at eyes, ears, skin, watch a pig's behaviour when moving on its own. Create a list for yourself of things you should regularly check for. Weighing your pigs regularly is very important, yes. Most of the care and monitoring your pigs will be getting through their lives will be from you, so it is good that you are reading here and a member of this site, to be able to learn of things to watch out and check for, what's normal and not normal, how to deal with situations if they arise, etc. Folks here have had invaluable experience and I have found that there have been so many thoughts that I have received here that I would never have received during our office visits, and these have helped me to make better thought out decisions for our boys' and girl's care. Would you consider learning how to clip your pigs' nails at home? That will allow you to put the difference into their emergency fund and save them the stress of a trip and being handled by people they don't know.


Post   » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:45 pm

Thank you for your response daveandtiff, as for your last question I do clip my pigs nails at home (though it is a two person job and sometimes can take some time since they are squirmy), I was just adding in there what I knew they usually do during checkups from my first experience at a visit to the vet with them.

After their first visit at my local vet when we had their nails clipped, one of my pigs, Mocha was extremely frightened, while Ollie did fine. So I haven't had them clipped by any vet since then. For now I try to keep them as short as I can, without clipping the quick of course. Though despite my best efforts no matter how short their front nails are they always tend to curl much more than I think they should, but I'll look into it a bit more.

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Post   » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:58 pm

Very good, Cryptillian. And for exactly the same reason as you (including a time one of ours had nearly all nails cut to the quick, when we hadn't asked for them to be trimmed), I have stated no clipping and we take care of ours at home. As long as they are not curling to puncture nearby tissue, they should be okay. We have some with darker nails, which can be nerve racking to clip. Sometimes holding a flashlight underneath can illuminate just enough to get a better idea of how far the quick is traveling within the nail.


Post   » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:05 am

Both of my boys have three dark feet with dark nails and one whitish foot with light nails, so I did once clip a nail too short on Mocha (because he moved as soon as I went to clip the nail) and while he didn't squeak very loud compared to when he went to the vet, but I could tell it hurt him and I felt so bad! Though it's nothing a treat couldn't solve XD

The bleeding only took a minute to stop and thankfully it wasn't extremely short.

Clint The Cuy

Post   » Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:29 pm

First, I must say that I am sorry that you had a poor experience with your previous vet. I know emergency situations arise unexpectedly, as they always do, and that preparedness becomes important for when those situations occur. And I empathize with you enormously over the fact that it's hell trying to find a good vet for our little ones. It's tough, I know. I cannot speak to your specific ER situation as I was not there, but I would like to make a general statement for everyone.

I have been a vet tech in equine med the past 7 years. I've worked at 3 practices across the country including a large referral hospital. I'm sure there are a number of you who also work or have worked in the veterinary field. Being a prepared animal owner in the event of an emergency goes a long way. I cannot tell you how many animals that we have seen on an emergency basis where the owner is unavailable due to being out of the country or another reason and we cannot, by law, initiate treatment without owner consent (especially in the case where a minor is the representative of the patient at the time-legally they cannot consent). Lack of payment in these situations is also extremely common. The clients who do not pay after being billed ruin everything for everyone else because doctors cannot afford to not get paid time and time again.

When I go out of town and I leave my animals in the care of someone else, I always make sure that I have a credit card on file at my ER vet of choice for this exact reason. I also disclose a dollar amount that I am willing to spend in an emergency situation. When I have done pet sitting, I have the clients fill out a form with this information as well.

Again, I cannot speak to your specific situation and I'm sure that it was extremely stressful. I do know that things happen at the worst possible time and no one needs the added stress of tracking down this type of info in that situation. It's preventable and that way you can concentrate 100% on the important task at hand. I rest easier when I am gone when I do these things.


Post   » Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:43 pm

The hospital had not explained why they needed us to pay upfront instead of sending us a bill (also we have previously never had to be sent a bill and always paid there so there was nothing specifically with us that would cause this issue), but we did assume it probably meant they were worried about us ending up not able to pay.

Either way, my mom did go over there in person and talked to the person who they were having the hard time with and the only reason we decided to leave there was because she denied ever knowing they were out of the country. She even wrote us a letter saying she hoped to see our dog soon and was not aware of the situation (also they usually send us custom letters with the hospital logo printed on when it's our dogs birthday, a special event, or something, while this letter was just from a store).

The one thing we did not hear was what the owner thought of the situation. While my mom believes the reason we never got the phone call from her about the problem was because she just wouldn't talk to us, I think the only person we spoke to just never told her. So I'm going to see if my mom is willing to call again, as we were also promised a discount for our troubles, and we received the full bill, nothing taken off. I'd hate to think that the doctor, who is so nice, would just ignore this.

Even though there is no changing my mom's mind about going to a new vet, I'd hope we can make amends with them. It's such a hassle having to switch vets for my piggies so unexpectedly and for this reason. I still believe they are a good hospital as a whole, but there was just too much miscommunication and I don't like that the woman felt the need to lie like that.

(Just read this to revise it, and holy cow I wrote so much :0 just thought I'd write what I know about the whole situation. I wasn't there, but my sisters and cousin were, and they also said that my aunt kept trying to explain where my parents were before they had to call my parents. I wish they called me first because I had 100$ in emergency cash at home, my aunt could have paid the rest and my parents could have paid her back afterwards)

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