Overpriced Vet Care; Underpaid New Veterinarians: What’s Wrong with This Picture?

Three hundred and eighty dollars to clean my dog Jazz’s teeth. Three hundred dollars more to pull a tooth if that is needed. If I wanted the vet to remove a small fatty tumor from Jazz’s head, that was $150 more. This was yesterday.

I was incredulous. The vet tech who explained the fees acted as if these were reasonable charges. I said that’s four times more expensive than my own dental care. She said you don’t need anesthesia. I said anesthesia does not account for the whole amount. She looked at me as if something was wrong with me. I wanted to say to her, the vets who own this clinic lives in a mansion together. How much do they pay you? How can you be a shill for them? I held my tongue.

Then I read in today’s paper that new veterinarians have a hard time finding jobs and when they do, they earn about $45,000 to start. Many have debts of more than $300,000. There is a surplus of veterinarians. New vet pay is only going to go down.
Most new vets are women.

How do these two portraits of the veterinarian professions fit together? My vet takes advantage of people like me who love our dogs and cats. Are the established vets also taking advantage of recent veterinarian graduates by paying them so little? Are they taking advantage of women?

Reference

Segal, David (2013). The vet debt trap: Lower pay, few jobs and huge loans. New York Times, January 24. p. B1, B4.