Wednesday, March 03, 2010

While we wait, vet questions.

At this moment, Arthur is at the hospital, presumably about to or already undergoing his feeding tube surgery. We're waiting to hear from them and haven't yet. In the mean time, I have a question, which I posted elsewhere earlier, but thought I would share here as well.

As I said earlier, I am not 100% happy with my vet right now, though Liz still does so the opinions expressed here are mine alone.

Questions:

1. Should I start shopping around for a new vet right now or wait until Arthur hopefully recovers?

2. If I do shop around for a new vet, here are the choices I have narrowed down to. Remember that I live in Manhattan.

What do you think of each (my apologies if any of these people find this post on Google and see me talking about them)

Choice #1: The Manhattan Cat Specialists (http://www.manhattancats.com/). This one is recommended highly by my cat sitter Leslie, who has used them for years. She says she can get me a free phone call with the head vet, Dr. Plotnick, just to take my questions and decide whether I want to use them.

A few negatives here:

A. They are very far from my apartment (long, expensive cab ride)
B. They work with the same overpriced hospital (NY Veterinary Services) that my current vet has been tossing us to. The bad side of that is that I'm not a huge fan of NYVS and their extreme charges. The good side, right now, is that it would be an easy transition at the moment, because Dr. Plotnick has a relationship with NYVS so he could easily consult with the doctors there on what they saw and did to Arthur. If I talk to Plotnick, I will ask him whether he performs some of his own surgeries rather than constantly turfing people to the hospital like my current vet. If he can do things like add/remove a feeding tube in his office, maybe his relationship with the NYVS isn't that problematic.
C. Practice will probably be as expensive or more than I'm paying now.

Positives:

A. My cat sitter knows all the city vets and picked this one.
B. Dr. Plotnick sounds good (http://www.catchannel.com/experts/arnold_plotnick/default.

Choice #2: ASPCA Burgh Memorial Hospital (http://www.aspca.org/aspca-nyc/berg-memorial-animal-hospital.html). A friend of Franny's recommended I call their head of vet medicine, Dr. Murray. Dr. Murray does not see new patients anymore, but I ended up talking to her administrator for like an hour and the administrator advised me to seek a second opinion and to demand my current vet give me more info.

Pros:
* ASPCA is known for being affordable
* Michelle, the administrator I spoke to, seemed to geniunely care a whole lot about Arthur, calling me about 3 times throughout the day even though I'm not a client (yet) and paid her nothing.

Cons:
* I don't know a lot about the doctors there
* They have some very poor ratings on Yelp and other online comment services, these talk about long wait times and more of a public clinic atmosphere
* Also, very far from my house.

Choice #3: The Cat Practice (http://www.thecatpractice.com/). I actually don't know much about this place, except that I found it online and it has really strong user reviews. It's also only about 15 blocks from my apartment, which is still a cab ride but a short one.

Pros:
* Close to home
* Good reputation (at least as I've seen online)
* Web site makes it sound good

Cons:
* Allegedly expensive
* They don't know me and I don't know them at all. I have an "in" with the other two vets.

Choice #4: Stick with my current vet. Current vet is located walking distance from my house and does not charge exorbitant prices, except that she is constantly trying to pawn us off on the hospital for procedures / tests I wonder if she could have done in her office. My wife likes her, but I am losing confidence in her after she A.) was slow in returning some phone calls, B.) Would not give us a straight answer about Arthur's diet or condition and C.) Thought he was fine until I had to ask her nicely to conduct a blood test that she didn't think was necessary.

Pros:

Close to home
Knows our case very well
Seems like a nice enough person
Her own services are not overpriced, when she's not sending us to the hospital

Cons:
In my opinion (but not Liz's), she exercised poor judgment in a number of areas:

a. She would not give us a straight answer about arthur's food in-take, saying only "if he eats even a tiny amount, that's ok." And when I said I had heard / read different, she said "don't trust the Internet."
b. If we listened to her, Arthur might be a lot worse right now, because she said he was getting better, until we forced her to do a test.
c. She seems to want to refer us back to the hospital whenever possible. Couldn't another vet be performing some of the needed procedures/tests - the sonogram, tissue tests, and feeding tube insert -- in his/her own office at less cost? When we asked her if she could refer us to a less-expensive hospital, the only option she offered was to not insert the feeding tube and "see what happens."

SO MY QUESTIONS ARE:

A. Should I switch now or wait until Arthur is better?
B. If I do switch, who to?


3 comments:

Tristan and Crikey said...

You're in our purrs and purrayers, furriends:)

Susan said...

Hi, have you looked into Dr. Miller at Carnegie Hill Veterinarians in the UES? He comes highly recommended, although he can get pretty busy and isn't the most affordable vet around (although I heard that he's willing to work with you regarding payments).

http://www.carnegiehillveterinarians.com/index.html

I love your blog and will keep Arthur in my thoughts and prayers!!!

Furkidsmom said...

We're purring for Arthur. We hope you find the right vet for him.

Sniffie and the Florida Furkids