Wellness Programs

I would like to hear your opinions about the subject of wellness programs that are billed monthly.  Sort of like budget billing for your utiity bill.  But for your pet care instead.  Leave questions or comments in the comments section below.  Thanks.

For awhile we've been seeing dogs and cats come into the office.  Some are sick as they aren't vaccinated.  Others have things like heartworms and fleas.  Some are overdue on their vaccinations.  Like a year past due.   Some dogs got 6 months of heartworm prevention at their last visit and then forgot to get anymore.  So the dog went off heartworm prevention for 6 months and now has heartworms.

We mail out reminders when dogs are due for their yearly checkup and vaccinations.  But we don't send a reminder for heartworm prevention in 6 months as sometimes people buy less, sometimes they buy more, and there isn't a convenient way to set up a reminder based on quantity that they purchase except to do it manually. 

Cat yearly checkups and vaccines run around $70 and Dog annuals run around $100 for vaccinations, their exam, check for intestinal worms, and a heartworm test that checks for heartworms, ehrichia, lyme's disease, and anaplasmosis. 

So by the time, you have that done, then get their heartworm prevention, and flea and tick medication, you have a nice little chunk of change and Fido has to go home and do chores around the house.  I can only assume that people don't bring Fido back when he is due for his vaccinations because of the lump sum of paying for his stuff.  If the owner was highly organized they could work the amount into their budget, but most people aren't that organized.  Or as is the case with senior citizens, they might only have a small monthly budget to deal with in the first place.

Pet Insurance can be obtained to cover emergencies and that breaks down into a monthly payment for the owner.  And some insurance companies do offer coverage for the pets annual checkup, medications, and spay/neuter.  Some people ask about pet insurance. Some already have it and are familiar with it. And Most don't know that it exists.  So when you mention it to them, their eyes begin to glaze over.

What do you think of a wellness program where the owner pays $15-25 month to cover their annual checkup, vaccinations, medications, etc. The routine stuff, not the emergency stuff.  It certain makes owning a pet more budget friendly, and I think I could set it up through paypal as a subscription for those with an email address.  Or if no paypal account, we would enter the amount in the credit card machine each month.   I think there is some law about not keeping credit card numbers on file that can be stolen, but I think it would be okay if I kept the file locked in the drug safe. 

Care Credit is one payment option for clients. It is used more for emergencies and larger hospitals.  The main reason is that it is used more for larger hospitals, I think,  is that it would cost me $300-400/ year just to be able to offer it to clients.  And then the client still has to qualify. 

Does anyone already use such a wellness program for their routine pet care?  If so, how do you like it, and if you elaborate in the comments about how it works,  that would be great.  Is it billed to your credit or debit card monthly? 

I would hope that people would bring their pet to the vet, or pick up their refill medication, if they knew it was already paid for. 

And two additional things- 

I made up some magnets, pocket mirrors, and bottle opener keyrings for Lucky's Fund last evening.  They are at the office if you are local and want to see them.   $5-7 bucks each.  I  have some, maybe most, of them listed online too if anyone who lives out of the area wants to purchase any. 

And the other thing-  For clients who read my blog, and happen to also have a Facebook account, LIKE the Granite Hills Animal Care page, and I'll give you $10 credit off your next visit.  (just a few minor restrictions on where it can be applied.)

I think Facebook can be a useful tool to let clients know if we are seeing outbreaks of things like parvo virus, kennel cough, etc.   Or if the office happens to be closed for an afternoon.  Things like that. 

Thanks for reading this LONG post, and let me know what you think about Wellness Programs.  Yay or Nay? 


Miccosukee said...

Dr. Andy,

As a senior citizen on a monthly fixed income, I would love that kind of a plan. Too bad I am in Tallahassee and you are up in Georgia. Little too far for me to drive.

Thanks for all you do. Do you have a clone to send here?

Trisha and Miss Dottie

Glassgardenswhatnot said...

I don't know of any pet wellness programs in my area, but I think it's a great idea. We've got 4 cats and a dog and keeping up the routine immunizations is quite a chunk of money for each pet. I may suggest it to my vet! Sort of like the budget billing on your electric bills.

Andy Mathis said...

Thanks for your input. I think this something I want to do.

It does help me as well as sometimes it's difficult trying to budget for supplies when we have things like snow week this past January.

A whole week of canceled appointments because of the snow.


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