“Veterinarians are in it for the money. If it was just about caring for pets, they wouldn’t charge so much.”

This is one of the most common misperceptions I’ve heard from pet owners. And let me tell you, it hurts.

Grey Kitten Waking Up

Personally, I’m not in this career for the cash. Like most of my colleagues, I do it because I love it, and I chose veterinary medicine over other careers that might have been more lucrative. But I completely understand why frustrated pet owners say such things sometimes. As consumers, we’ve all been there — feeling as if all anyone cares about is getting money from us. That feels even worse when we are under stress and finances are tight. It’s no wonder these emotions frequently bubble up for pet owners caring for sick or injured loved ones.

Whenever I look at a cost estimate for a pricey surgical procedure, diagnostic test or medical therapy, I can’t help cringing. It’s not because I don’t understand why the cost is what it is — medicine is a sophisticated and technology-based field — it’s because I worry about how it will affect possibly cash-strapped owners and their pet-in-need.

But what should my role be, as a veterinarian, in keeping costs low? I wonder about that often, and I’ve never seen or heard an answer. It certainly wasn’t a topic covered in veterinary school.

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