LETTER- Zoie's recovering better than our wallet

Zoie, before her hindquarters were mauled

As the proud owner of Zoie [News, May 6: "Chomped dog: Coyote blamed in pet mauling"], I can tell you that my husband did not bite her. I have seen numerous coyotes in our area as have our neighbors. No mention tho of any help in getting rid of them.

The night of the accident we called one emergency clinic and were told for $1,000 they would unlock the door for us. They took Zoie in, kept her for the night and did surgery to close the wound on Sunday morning, another $200 and out the door we went.

On Monday, we took her to yet another vet, as the stitches were not holding, so all that could be offered was wound care. That was another $500 that week.

With the wound still wide open, I contacted a third vet who charged us $234, and the stitches have lasted a little over a week.

Every day Zoie gets a little stronger. Her leg is in a cast, she wears the E-collar around her neck, and hobbles on three legs, not totally understanding why she is not able to chase motorcycles passing by.

The vets have you over a barrel. You pay for services and get a feeling of being judged on how much you like your pet. I say to all pet owners be aware– coyotes are everywhere in Albemarle and surrounding counties. Thank goodness for our tax refund check.

Liz Farmer



Though I feel horrible for Zoie and her owners for having to go through this trauma I do think that Mrs. Farmer is being quite harsh on all of the veterinary staff and facilities that have been involved in this situation. Working in the medical field I know that severe injuries such as those sustained by Zoie almost always require multiple procedures before they are fully healed as the body under goes numerous cycles of healing and destruction as new tissue forms. I have a hard time believing that she was not warned of this by each vet that saw Zoie. I also don't see why they are so surprised by the cost! If a human sustained injuries like these (and the follow up surgeries and medications are taken into consideration)it would likely cost well over $10,000!!! I recently had to go to a local ER for a minor wound and the ER visit, just the visit, cost me $580. I know for a fact, unfortunately, that the local emergency vet charges an office visit of $88. So instead of complaining about the cost of saving her dog's life and feeling like she was taken advantage of, maybe she should be thanking all the people who helped keep Zoie on this planet.

PS-I would also think that unless the Farmers want another ER visit with Zoie, they should immediately break Zoie from her habit of chasing motorcycles!!!!!!!!!

Those costs sound about right; it's what humans would pay out of pocket for a similar injury if they didn't have insurance. I've taken my pet to the emergency vet before and i know going in that I'm going to have to shell out big bucks. I don't really understand "the vets have you over a barrel"--they provide a specialized service that requires specialized supplies and that clinic and those supplies have to be paid for somehow, right?

Maybe it would not have been convenient for this family, but the $88/visit emergency vet clinic Leigh mentions is off Greenbrier Drive. According to their phone book, they're open 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. M-F, and then from 6 p.m. Friday to 8 a.m. Monday. The $88 is just for the vet to see the animal; medication, procedures, disposal of hazardous waste and all that are more. I've been there a couple of times and the first time was $150, second time, $325. Better than $1,000, for sure. As others said, it's not cheap, but the vet isn't trying to take advantage of you, just trying to make a living for himself and his staff. Vet services are usually much cheaper than comparable hospital services for people.

As for the coyotes and "getting rid of them" -- according to the initial article, this family lives in southeastern Albemarle. When you live in a rural area and let your animals go outside, you assume the (relatively low) risk of maulings. Frankly, I'd be grateful it was a coyote that got ahold of the dog and not a bear. If she wants to get rid of the coyotes, she should move to the city.