While she has a point that vets should not take financial advantage of owners during crises (like the guy who brought his dead dog in to the vet) and the need for good, honest communication between vets and their clients, she also seems to imply that vets should not offer the best available care because after all, they are just animals. She writes:
I am grateful to the vets who saved the life of my beagle, Sasha, when she was hit by a car, and I quietly handed over my credit card when the bill for $2,000 came due (although I did manage to decline the offer of the special "orthopedic quality" fix of her injured ligament for an additional $1,500).
I'm impressed that she can be proud of the fact that she declined to get higher-quality care for her dog. She talks about it as though the vet were trying to add on options to a car. More expensive surgery is about providing a better fix, a more comfortable recovery, and a more reliable return to a normal life- not about adding on a deluxe package so you can tell your friends that your dog got human-quality care. By the way, if you get hit by a car, good luck getting out of the hospital only $2000 poorer.
The kicker to the whole article is her support from Dr. James Busby, the kindly old rural vet from Bemidji. Dr. Busby only offers the services his patients need, and says that he'd never enter veterinary medicine today now that it's in such a horrible state with so many money-grubbing vets. What Ms. Yoffe fails to mention is that Dr. Busby is on a limited license since he went before the Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine in 2002. Dr. Busby was performing sub-par medicine, including not examining animals before performing surgery on them, re-using dirty needles, sterilizing instruments in a solution that he changed only once a month, and performing surgery on animals using neither gas anesthesia nor oxygen. Ew. Not a great guy to hold up as an example of how vet med should be practiced.
Dr. Busby told Ms. Yoffe what she wanted to hear- that it's okay to only give minimal medical care to your pets. She thinks that vets should only offer the cheapest option, and anything better than that exists simply to line vets' pockets. Of course vets should be sensitive to financial constraints, but not offering high-quality care is just as rotten as not offering anything but the most expensive. I'm glad that vets understand the importance of preventative medicine. The author's daughter's pediatrician doesn't think a heart murmur is worth checking out with an echocardiogram, but her vet thinks the cat's murmur is? Sheesh, lose the pediatrician and start taking the kid to the vet.