Thursday, June 9, 2011

Someone Gets Paid Better Than Lawyers

Our cat suffered what is called an "aural hematoma" a few days ago--probably the result of running into something at high speed in the house.  (The midnight crazies hit, and you would swear he is taking meth.)  This is apparently pretty serious, and the vet indicated that it required surgery to fix, or there was risk that it would continue filling with blood, then hemorrhage.  The total procedure came to $590, of which $150 was fifteen minutes of surgery--which comes to $600 per hour.

When I was young, veterinary school was an alternative for people who could not get into medical school or dental school.  Now I understand that veterinary school is actually harder to get into--and at $600 per hour, I can see why demand would be high.

Tater is now wearing an Elizabethan collar to keep him from pulling out the stitches that hold some cloth in place to help hold his ear together while everything heals.  As you might expect, he is not happy.


  1. Around here that collar is known to our dogs as "the cone of shame."

  2. There's nothing more pathetic-looking than a cat wearing the cone of shame.

  3. Yowza! (Both for the injury to the cat and the injury to your wallet!) Coming from the country we would never have dreamed of spending that much on pets, especially cats. Now ... the latest annual vet visit for three cats, shots, exams, and the one-time insertion of id chips cost about that much. The things we do for our furballs!

  4. Hi Clayton, My kitty had the same thing a few months ago. The vet punched a 1/4" hole in the inside layer for drainage. I had to apply hot compresses twice daily to facilitate drainage.

    The ear is a bit crinkled but healed well.

    Total cost, $55 for office visit and $50 for the procedure. (a fraction of $600 surgery cost)

    Hope your kitty is doing well.

  5. Ouch for you and the feline. We once made the mistake of turning our back on a needle with some thread attached for just a few minutes. Came back and the little bit of thread was just visible as it disappeared in the cat's mouth. Too late to recover it--needle and thread swallowed. Rush to emergency vet. They had a fancy endoscope with gripper so avoided surgery, but the brief rental of the machine was about $1,000--don't recall how much time, but sure it was note more than 30 minutes.

    Also once paid $1k for a dental (and then the cat died of a brain tumor 6 months later--didn't know until the cat started walking in circles shortly before dying).

    Pets are big business!


  6. Well, it's $600 an hour for the surgery, but it's not like he's doing surgeries from 9 to 5.

    The internet suggests the effective overall hourly for a vet is in the $50-60 range (doubtless varying by location).

    (And of course these days they have malpractice insurance costs just like human-doctors, because people will sue for mental distress if their cat dies on the table...)

  7. That is right up there with tree surgeons! I had to have a cracked limb removed or it would have fallen on my neighbor's kiln.

    Took all of 15 minutes to take the limb down, charged $200, and didn't even cut up the wood on the ground. Now he did have the expense of a cherry picker but....