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In my practice I strongly believe in the great value of a true wellness plan for our pets as a great tool for early diagnosis and treatment.

My concern is of wellness plans offered to the public by major national veterinary companies that as an underlying current—but a potent and motivating current—intend to tie the person into the contract for the full length of the contract and with heavy financial costs associated with early termination. The inducing factor of these plans is a convenient—so to speak—monthly payment, but, of course, and here I’m more than sarcastic, a nice down payment to join a plan.

As a matter of principal, and as matter of our liberty as consumers, all plans and programs joined should be fully transparent, and the cost of cancellation cannot be punitive, but instead, just and fair.

In addition the plans should list specifically what tests are included and not just generally speaking about diagnostic blood tests or fecal tests. There are various levels of blood tests and fecal tests available and the consumer should know exactly, and by a specific name what they are.

Furthermore, there should be no ambiguity as to the terms used and what they mean. An example from a Banfield brochure: using the luring term unlimited office visits, and in the same time, a few lines further up using the limiting term comprehensive physical exam (2x/year). I believe the problem here is clear: what does an office visit include if not an exam? Does it include a non complete exam, thus providing poor health care? Or does the national veterinary company offering such services intends for this so called office visit to be an occasion for a social visit with tea/coffee and some biscuits? But, sarcasm aside, we as consumers should always safeguard our freedom to choose, or change or cancel at a reasonable cost and not a punitive cost.

We should ask ourselves if the wellness plans offered to us have the health of our loved pets as their first priority, or the bottom line, is the company’s financial bottom line, disguised and sweetened so we don’t see it for what it is!

Dr. Ehud Sela

The Gentle Vet

Gentle Vet Animal Hospital

Margate, Florida.

954-972-5900

© Dr. Ehud Sela. No work herein may be reproduced in any way without expressed permission from the author.