Letter to dvm360: Veterinarian not to blame for rising costs of care
Philip Kelch, DVM
Increasing hard costs and restrictions on income have driven up veterinary prices.
In dvm360's interview with Dr. Pol, I was not surprised to see a question brought up about client costs for veterinary care. It was asked in the typical way, insinuating that veterinarians are charging too much.
I would hope at some point we can start rephrasing this type of question to encompass all aspects and all participants in the perceived “problem” and stop focusing on the veterinarian. I have been a veterinarian for 13 years, and during that period costs for medications, equipment, staff and education have continued to rise. However, my income has plummeted on medications. Heartworm preventives once were marked up 100 percent; now we are lucky to have a 30- to 50-percent markup.
Economists say we should not concentrate on selling medications for income, so we should charge more for our procedures, exams and so on, but then the profession is blasted for charging too much. So when will the drug companies be asked to stop charging so much for medications? When will equipment become cheaper to buy? When will colleges start lowering tuition? The solution to cheaper client costs for veterinary care has to be an all-inclusive answer. Please stop blaming the veterinarian.
Philip Kelch, DVM
Editor's note: In the original interview, dvm360 editors discussed technological advancements and their impact on the rising costs of veterinary care, but this obviously did not come through in the edited version. We never intend to blame the veterinary profession as a whole and agree with this reader that the solutions to rising costs of care have to be multifaceted and involve multiple groups of stakeholders.