THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN POSTED AT MULTIPLE VETERINARIAN-RATING SITES.
I've recently left St. Charles Anim Hosp for a new vet. Tho I'd been there several yrs, now I wouldn't recommend them to anyone.
SUMMARY: I've realized that the costs at St. Charles are high, ridiculously so at times. Looking back, staff didn't show real depth of feeling for me & my pets. Also, after research, I found they were over-treating & over-testing - which is very expensive. Attempts to explain my past experience with pets (35 years, numerous conditions, diseases, types of pets), what I said was frequently discounted. Disagreement on aspects of care was dismissed, ignored, or I was told (not in so many words) that I was far too ignorant to know what I was talking about. If I continued to disagree, they tried to manipulate me by telling horror stories to scare me.
I don't like it when someone tries to manipulate me or when my experience is ignored.
DETAILS: Looking back, I now realize many things about St. Charles: Some (NOT ALL) are: 1) It's not user-friendly. = 2) It's far too expensive for the level of care given. = 3) They over-treat & over-medicate; reasons for treatments/vaccinations aren't fully explained; when I questioned the wisdom of some "recommendations", they became hostile & offended, instead of explaining their logic.
1) NOT USER-FRIENDLY:
a) Staff didn't truly LISTEN to me. Explanations of aspects of my pet's condition, attitude or behavior was ignored or dismissed more than listened to. EXAMPLE: I was constantly told that my dog was eating too much, when I knew - & told them - that he was not fat, his weight was due to his build (unusually large muscles, due to the 2 breeds that produced him), & anyway, he'd actually lost his 3 extra pounds on the diet I had him on, & he was healthy & lively. Greenies to help keep his teeth clean were dismissed: "They're just more calories". Stating that a few calories is a good trade-off for cleaner teeth was ignored (after all, an $800 tooth scaling was far more use to their pocketbooks). And everyone needs a snack now & then, even dogs!
b) St. Charles flatly refused to fax prescriptions to Drs. Foster & Smith Pet Pharmacy, a legitimate, fully-state-licensed pet pharmacy in Wisconsin. This pharmacy (both online & bricks-&-mortar address) is certified by the Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites, accredited thru the Nat'l Assoc. of Boards of Pharmacy, for all pet drugs, incl. compounding. DrsF&S is NOT 1-800-Pet-Meds. At the point that they refused to fax the prescriptions, I'd decided that I trusted Drs. Foster & Smith more than I did St. Charles. (And I told them that! In public, in their office. They did not like that.) My new vet is willing to fax prescriptions to Drs. F&S - therefore, I can save some money on some pet prescriptions.
c) The atmosphere at St. Charles was business-like - but so much so that there was no real FEELING to the service - like I was just there to show them the pet & write the check. In contrast, my new vet's office felt immediately friendly; I was greeted like they knew me, though I'd never seen them before.
2) TOO EXPENSIVE:
The office machinery is all-digital; most is human-grade; the building is large, in a more pricey property area. Even their business cards were expensive: heavy, thick, pricey cardstock, w/embossed printing & COLOR custom logo (Is this where my money went? To top-of-the-line business cards? What, VistaPrint basic level isn't good enough for them?)
This is a LOT of money to pay off - human-grade digital x-ray machines? Is that really necessary? The fees reflect the high maintenance costs. EXAMPLES:
....CASE 1: Costs of dog shots & test: Lyme/Ehrlichia/HW/Anaplasmos, Lyme booster, 4L Lepto booster, Sub Q Bordella, Canine Influenza -- Test: Fecal exam. ST. CHARLES: $205 (4L Lepto listed at $38). NEW VET: Deleted 4L Lepto booster, said they'd NEVER seen Lepto in ANY patient & didn't even provide that shot - & anyway, the standard DHPP+4L (distemper plus, 5-pt shot) gives all needed Lepto protection. (So now, even at St. Charles' prices, costs are down to $167.)
New vet also did a basic physical ($40), as dog was new patient, & I bought 1 dose of Vectra 3D ($23).
NEW VET CHARGES, total: $167. THEREFORE 4 shots & the test were only $101.00 - nearly half of St. Charles' charges.
....CASE 2: Spaying a female cat. St. Charles Animal Hospital estimate: $500. New vet estimate: $150.
$500??? EXCUSE ME???? Under NO circumstances should spaying a cat cost $500 !!!!
3) OVER-TREATMENT, NO FULL EXPLANATIONS
St. Charles was trying to panic me into more treatment than was normal. One day, while discussing overall vet costs & all the doctor visits the pets seemed to need, I suddenly said to my husband: "They're trying to stampede me. They're trying to run me over the cliff." At that moment, I knew I was being rolled in an alley & having my wallet stolen.
I grew up w/ outdoor cats. None got flea & tick treatments or worming meds monthly. All lived to old age. What's different now? I asked St. Charles why all-indoor cats need flea/tick/worming every month - especially in winter, when they don't go outside, the dog's treated so he doesn't bring anything in, & it's freezing, which cuts down on parasites anyway. All they said was, with wide eyes, "Oh, one heartworm can kill a cat! You have to treat them all the time!" - thus getting more sales of Revolution for Cats into their hands (at $75 for a six-pack - & I've got 6 cats).
Well, my new vet told me that heartworm is extremely rare in cats, even rarer in indoor cats. She agreed I could delay treating the cats monthly until spring, as among other things (she said, & I confirmed it by looking up all the parasites cats get) cats don't eat feces - infected or otherwise - nor swim in infected water (cats hate water!) & that's the main ways parasites are passed around. [I researched heartworm in cat. Turns out 25% or fewer of infected cats actually stay infected after bitten by a mosquito (normal infection method) & are biologically resistant. St. Charles did not tell me that.]
And when I questioned St. Charles regarding the wisdom of some of their "recommendations" - boy, did that get their backs up! The hostility & resentment - that I would DREAM of questioning their judgment - was thick enought to cut with a knife. (Since when do vets rate as gods? Even our own doctors have to be questioned on the whys and wherefores.) I suspect that they were also extremely displeased that I questioned their professional abilities within the hearing of other clients - no doubt I was sowing discontent among the gods' worshippers in the temple (yes, this was snarky, but at least I'm not swearing, yelling, or getting REALLY personal right now.)
So, this I my review. I hope it helps some people.