I was at this facility today. My dog started with urinary retention this morning and I couldn't get in touch with my vet. So , not wanting my poor pup to suffer and wait, I went to GLVS arriving at approxiamately 12:15. I was taken back in a reasonable time to see the first vet. She was professional and likable. I was then told that in a few minutes , someone would be in with an ""estimate"" of the cost of ""diagnosis"". I waited appox. 40 minutes for someone to give me that estimate. I was told there was an emergency. To my knowledge... I was one of two people there.. I saw the other one and petted her and I sat in the lobby while I watied. Granted there could have been something going on in the back. So, after reveiwing the $500 diagnostic estimate, I asked if we could just start with an x-ray instead of doing all the other things. They agreed. The x-ray was conclusive for bladder stones. So now I am talking to the surgeon. Again, very pleasant and professional. Wait for another estimate... now my dog has been waiting an additional 2 hours with the pain of urinary retention. I almost choked when I saw the estimate. $3100.00 for removal of the stones. I had this exact procedure done on another one of my dogs, with my vet for approx. $700-800. I told them I was going to try one more time to reach my vet. This is when it became ugly. The vet tech was VERY condescending to me regarding my choice to contact my vet. She was bordering on rude, her tone suggesting that she didn't believe that I would follow up with my vet. I did choose to have GLVS do a procedure that would flush the stone back into her bladder so that she could urinate and will follow up with my vet tomorrow. When I told the tech. what I had decided to do, she was short and rude. I had to wait for another estimate.. another 30 minutes. By now it is 3:35 and I stuck my head in the back and asked if someone would help me. My pup still in pain, I need to go pick up my son , and no one is in the lobby. Surgeon comes back in , very pleasant and understanding. So my next estimate range is $445.00 - $523.00 for the flushing of the stone. I pay half and leave for about an hour. I come back and expect to pay the second half of $523.00, which would be $261.00. The receptionist told me .. that will be $696.00. I questioned and the vet spoke to her and told her that the diagnosis fee wasn't included in the estimate. Great... so I waited 3.5 hours, was treated rudely by tech, and paid $956.00 to catheterize the dog and push the stone back in to the bladder. I don't have a problem with the vets per se... but this is highway robbery. I feel it is very unethical . They know how much people love their animals , and if you don't have an option, you either have to leave or mortgage the house. Did you go into veterinary medicine to have a mulitmillion dollar business or to take care of animals and those who love them???
I took my 16-year old Bichon Frise, Sydney, in when she was pawing at and rubbing her eye on the carpet. The eye was red, swollen, and tearing - I knew she was in terrible pain. \r
Dr. Brawn looked at Sydney and said an ulcer in her eye may be the problem. She explained that a simple dye test could let us know, and we would talk about medication if that was the case. She took Sydney in the back room, said she ran the test, and told me she saw nothing at all wrong with my little one. We went home with an Rx for a steroid medication.\r
Two days later, I saw no improvement and my girl was still in terrible pain. I took her to my regular vet - who spotted and pointed out an ulcer to me after simply shining a light into Sydney's eye. The diagnosis was extremely simple - it required no special tests and even I was able to see the problem when our vet pointed it out to me. \r
Worse yet - the medication Great Lakes Vet Specialists gave us was actually making Sydney WORSE - the steroid irritates the ulcer further. My little one is now on the appropriate medication and is doing much better - no thanks at all to GLVS.\r
My husband and I are newlyweds and recently purchased our first home. We work very hard for our money and don't really have extra cash to just throw around. While we were upset that we had thrown our money away, we were more upset that this clinic gave our dog something that was actually making her feel worse - and believe me - the car ride was bad enough for her.\r
When we called to discuss this issue with the clinic, they were completely indifferent. The girl that answered the phone could care less about what I was telling her, and she quickly referred me to someone's voicemail. Of course, I haven't heard from anyone - either by phone or email (which I also used to contact them). An explanation for their horrendous misdiagnosis is all I would like at this point.
Pros: Clean Facility, Friendly
We've been there twice, the first time because our idiot Jack Russell terrier ate a rubber ball (or something) that got lodged in her stomach. This was almost three years ago. As she got (very) sick on a Saturday afternoon, we called the vet for a recorded message to get referred to Great Lakes Veterinary Specialist. (Note: there's another place within sight of GLVS that is suffering from a lot of bad pr -- unhappy customers. Make sure you're in the place you were referred to!) Our second visit to GLVS occurred because our idiot Jack Russell picked a fight with a deer. These things always happen on Saturdays. So, off to GLVS again.
The reception experience is fine. Nothing special. But the place is immaculately clean and the receptionist is caring enough and professional enough to get us in to see the vet. Plus, they have free coffee. The vet is a young woman, energetic and empathetic. She took our history, listened attentively, did a very thorough exam and spelled out our options. She appeared to be every bit as competent (how could I really tell for sure?) as our regular vet (Drs. Thompson and Slezak at Family Pet Clinic in Garfield Heights), who are awesome. But her bedside manner was impressive. Very professional and caring.
The most recent exam -- thankfully resulting in a diagnosis of the dog suffering only wounded pride and ego -- was 95 bucks (a deer kicked our dog after all.) That's probably 2.5 times what a regular exam would have cost (at the ""real"" vet not on a Sunday). The first visit was several hundred dollars for a lot of lab work, including X-rays, to determine what was causing the blockage. We were referred back to our vet for surgery the next day.
All in all, classy joint, good people, competent care. Don't go to the place next door.
Pros: After hours vet's choice. Recommended by friends.
Cons: $$$ But only because they're only (good) option after hours
I can't say enought about the Vet Referral Clinic. My chocolate lab was spayed by a local vet. I took her back the next day and she was held overnight, because she was bleeding. He sent me home with an antibiotic and told me that there was no problem. 3 days later, I called another local vet concerned because my lab would not eat and was shaking uncontrollably. After 2 calls, late Sat evening, this vet told me to bring her in. They opened her back up ....telling me that she may not make it.....Two and half weeks later I call VRC asking what to do. They quickly got me in that day (hour drive home to pick her up and 2.5 hour drive over to VRC.) Long story, my lab had another surgery. The VRC staff was unbelievably nice, compassionate and concerned for my lab. I owe a lot to the director and Dr. Heldman (I think that is how you spell it.). My lab is doing fine. She got wonderful care. During her 7 day stay, I called anytime to check on her. The staff willingly went and checked her temperature for me and would give me updates on her vitals and whether or not she ate. Needless to say, my lab and I are inseparable!
Pros: You do not need a referral from your local vet!
Cons: Can't think of any
We lost our Jack Russell 4/13/07 in Lowe's parking lot. A good Samaritan brought our dog to their clinic. While unable to keep Skippy, the receptionist that night was invaluable by identifying Skippy and making several phone calls which led to us being reunited in a very short time. I am sure the staff at this facility would be a reflection of this very helpful and compassionate receptionist. We are very grateful--Mary Kramer
Pros: Compassionate Efficient receptionist
On Christmas morning our darling Muffin expereinced a health emergency. We were not sure if she was going to live long enough to get here to any kind of emergency care.\r
My husband had been familiar with the Veterinary Referral Clinic from 12 years ago and suggested we contact them as our vet was out of the country. We drove Muffin to their office- Remember, this is Christmas Day, and as soon as we were inside the door the receptionist called a tech to the front to race Muffin to the treatment area. We didn't have to fill out forms before our beloved pet was taken care of! It was pet first, info later. We were advised as soon as she was stabile and kept in the loop of her treatment and the diagnosis and tests. I have the upmost respect for this office and their entire staff. There were many emergencies and sad, sad happenings throughout Christmas Day that we observed. You have no idea how many emergencies were happening all at once. All the staff was professional and excellent care was taken of our pet- who returned home with us later in the day and is sitting next to me now thanks to the VRC staff. - That is not the end of the story- This morning our regular veterinarian had already been given the test results and diagnosis by the clinic and called us to schedule the follow-up appointment right after we had just gotten out of bed and had our first cup of coffee. The price for all this, was more than reasonable and if they treated humans- I would go there myself the next time I need emergency treatment!\r
Excellent doesn't come close to the kudos this clinic should receive! Dr. Kelley Kilar was the Veterinarian on duty! \r
Thank you from Muffin's parents
Pros: Top level of expertise and customer service.
Cons: Unfortunately everyone is exposed to each emergency coming in the door- it is sad to see so much heartache.