Examinations – Different Types – Different Fees
One of the largest areas of confusion for pet owners that have to take their pet to a veterinary clinic or hospital is that of the number of different types of exams – and the difference in fees that correspond with those exams.
Veterinary exams can basically be divided into 4 major types:
– The Full/Comprehensive Exam: As the name implies, this exam is the most in-depth in its scope. It mainly includes a full body palpation, temperature, heart and lung auscultation, check of the eyes, ears and mucus membranes. The purpose is to generally assess the overall outward health of an animal. It is generally used when giving vaccinations, or when an animal presents with some type of moderate to severe ailment or complaint. Being the most thorough and time-consuming of the exams, it carries with it the greatest fee.
The Brief Exam – This exam is a reduced version of the full exam, generally omitting such checks that are not really pertinent to the issue at hand. For example, a dog presenting with lameness does not necessarily require that its ears and eyes be examined when focusing in on the cause of the lameness (unless it will indicate other connected issues or causes – such as Lyme disease or the ingestion of a toxin causing the issue). Similarly, a cat that has been vomiting for several days will most likely not need it legs and spine examined when searching the cause of its issues. This exam, while comprehensive in its own way carries a lower fee (and is often charged for, even when a more intensive exam was performed but other tests are being done it the same time – such as bloodwork or urinalysis, an ear smear, fecal, etc.)
The Re-Check Exam – This exam is generally a short exam designed primarily to focus on the progression of treatment on a specific health issue under treatment, or to ensure treatment is complete with the resolution of the problem. This type of exam is commonly used to monitor eye and ear problems, adjustment of pain medications, treatment for diabetes, response to heart medications and so forth.
The Courtesy Exam, – This exam is a “no charge” exam generally used for a brief follow-up to inspect a surgery incision, to check the progress of things such as skin infections, hot spots, lameness, and other conditions that do not currently require additional testing. On some occasions, veterinary staff will invoice you this type exam when this is part of a costly, on-going medical issue, or is a follow-up to a surgery or other type of medical procedure such as an ultrasound, or reviewing bloodwork results and such.