Frequently Asked Questions from our Annual Client Satisfaction Surveys
Each year we ask our clients to complete an online survey evaluating our performance. The detailed and thoughtful feedback you provide is insightful, honest and is an invaluable tool in our mission to be not only your pet’s healthcare provider, but your favorite customer service business.
Each year, many of the same questions come up, and we want to make sure these are addressed. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions:
- Can I see the same vet at every visit?
- Why is vet care so expensive?
- I want to give my pet the best care, but sometimes I can’t afford it. Are there any other choices?
- Do you offer insurance?
- I wish Frontier did ultrasound, acupuncture and boarding.
- Why aren’t you open 24 hours?
- Where is Dr. Loepp? Can I get an appointment with him?
- My pet was just there for his annual exam a couple of weeks ago and now he’s sick. Why do I need to do another exam?
- There are always so many new faces. Where are the staff members I used to know?
- The front door is so heavy! Can you get an automatic door?
- Can I be present for my pet’s treatments, like vaccines?
- Why do I need a prescription for flea products and dewormers?
- Can I get appointment reminders by email?
- If Frontier is closed, how do I know if my pet is having an emergency? When is it ok to wait vs. going to Dove Lewis?
- Why are RX foods out of stock sometimes?
- Can I make an appointment for my pet to get just a nail trim? Can you file the nails or just cut them?
- Do you see small mammals, like rabbits and hamsters?
- How do I brush my pet’s teeth at home? What about nail trimming at home?
- Can I pick up and drop off for boarding on the weekend?
- Why don’t the boarding webcams work?
Can I see the same vet at every visit?
Yes! We will do everything we can to schedule you with the doctor of your choice. We are committed to asking you which doctor you prefer on the phone when scheduling your appointment, but sometimes we forget- feel free to remind us anytime. Of course, since we are open 7 days a week, every doctor is not here every day (they like to have days off with their families, too!), so urgent or same-day appointments are scheduled with the first available doctor.
Why is vet care so expensive?
There are a few factors that go into this one, and we always want you to feel comfortable that you understand the fees you are charged for your pet’s care at Frontier.
The first factor is our experience as humans with our own health care providers. Since most of us have health insurance, we may be unfamiliar with the actual fees our doctors charge for exams and medical treatments. We often pay flat copays for our own medical services, and may never even see the actual billing statement from our doctor. This can definitely cause some “sticker shock” when we see our pet’s medical bills, since we have a limited frame of reference for what services normally cost. In fact, much of the medical equipment (x-rays, ultrasound, IV pumps, anesthesia monitors, etc.), pharmaceuticals (anesthesia, injections, medications, etc.), and supplies veterinarians use are exactly the same as our own human doctors use. Next time you receive an “Explanation of Benefits” from your insurance, take a quick look- it can be very surprising! A veterinarian in the Florida Keys recently wrote a newspaper article in which he compared his own medical treatment for an elbow injury to his dog’s treatment for the same injury. Click the photo on the right to view his article, it is quite interesting.
Another factor is the increased status pets have achieved within our families in recent years. It was not too long ago that most pets weren’t even allowed in the house, let alone allowed to sleep in our beds! Along with this strengthening of the human-animal bond came the demand for more advanced medical treatments and a higher expectation of service by pet owners from their veterinarians. Providing a higher standard of care and meeting pet owners’ service expectations have inevitably caused an increase in prices, due to an increase in veterinarians’ operational costs- in every area, from purchasing new equipment and providing advanced medical training to hiring additional staff to provide both medical and customer service. Our clients have expressed to us over and over again that they believe their pets are members of their family. Because of that, they expect the same level of medical care for their pets as they themselves receive, and we continually strive to meet or exceed our clients’ expectations.
We have an open door policy at Frontier, and invite you to tour the hospital next time you are in for a visit. We are happy to show you around and answer any questions you may have, and encourage you to ask any veterinary health care provider you are considering to do the same.
I want to give my pet the best care, but sometimes I can’t afford it. Are there any other choices?
Always. We never want you to feel pressured into proceeding with a treatment you cannot afford, and always want you to feel in control of your pet’s treatment. Our veterinarians take their responsibility to your pet very seriously- theirs is a unique position, with patients who cannot speak for themselves and must rely on the vet to be their advocate. While we will always recommend the “gold standard” course of treatment for your pet, we completely understand that this is not always the course with which you want or are able to proceed.
Non-emergency or routine care- We are always happy to provide you with a cost estimate before proceeding with any treatment. If the estimate is beyond what you are comfortable with, simply let us know and we will provide an alternative. Your veterinarian will work with you to prioritize the treatments and come up with a plan that works for you.
Emergencies- It is an unfortunate reality of pet ownership that emergency situations arise. Often there are few alternate courses of treatment available in life-or-death situations, and emergency care is typically very costly. This is where pet insurance or an emergency pet fund can be invaluable. If you do not have either, we do accept Care Credit and can help you apply for this emergency line of credit if necessary. We are not affiliated with Care Credit, however, like Mastercard or Visa we do accept it.
Pet Insurance- Pet health insurance is quickly becoming a popular choice for pet owners. As advances in veterinary medicine have provided expanded treatment options, pet owners have sought out insurance as a way to make these treatments more affordable. There are now a range of plans available at most insurance providers, from basic catastrophic coverage to comprehensive plans that cover everything from routine exams and vaccines to dental cleanings.
Do you offer insurance?
We do not offer our own insurance plan, but we are happy to work with any pet insurance company. Because pet insurance companies work directly with the pet owner, the choice is truly yours- we will work with whatever company you choose. The other advantage to selecting an independent insurance company, as opposed to one affilliated with a specific veterinarian, is that you have greater flexibility in the case of an emergency. The website petinsurancereview.com offers coverage comparison charts as well as pet owner reviews of the major pet insurance companies. Click here for more information on choosing a pet insurance company.
I wish Frontier did ultrasound, acupuncture and boarding.
We do! All of it!
Ultrasound- We have an in-house ultrasound that all of our doctors use, most commonly to evaluate the abdomen and urinary bladder. In addition, we can coordinate a complete diagnostic ultrasound by a board-certified ultrasonographer to be done here at Frontier by a mobile ultrasound service.
Acupuncture- Dr. Lisa Yung is a Veterinary Acupuncturist and treats a wide range of ailments using acupuncture, click here for more information.
Boarding- Those cute kitties in our lobby? That’s our kitty hotel! We also board dogs and exotic pets, click here for more information.
Why aren’t you open 24 hours?
This is a tough one, and something that we continually review as a future option. The fact is that providing 24-hour care is extremely costly, so in order for it to be a viable option for us there must be enough demand for the service to sustain itself. Right now there is not enough demand for us to provide 24-hour care without necessitating an increase our other prices to compensate for it, which is something you have clearly told us you do not want.
Where is Dr. Loepp? Can I get an appointment with him?
He is here! He just spends most of his time wearing the “manager” hat instead of the “vet” one! He sees patients on most Mondays and Wednesdays. We would be happy to schedule your next appointment with him, just be sure to call in advance because of his limited availability.
My pet was just there for his annual exam a couple of weeks ago and now he’s sick. Why do I need to do another exam?
Just like in human medicine, your veterinarian cannot legally diagnose an illness or prescribe a medication without having performed a physical exam on your pet for that specific problem. So if your pet was well at his last exam and not exhibiting symptoms, the doctor must do another exam in order to recommend treatment or prescribe medicine. Basically, something changed and the vet needs to figure out what it is so your pet can get better!
It seems like there are always new faces at Frontier. Where are the staff members I used to know?
Did you know that our current staff have worked at Frontier for over 153 years? That’s roughly 6 years per person! Many of the faces you’ve seen in past years are still around, just in different job positions. Others have moved on to different states, towns and careers. If there’s someone you’ve been missing, ask a CSR how they’re doing and chances are they can give you an update. Everyone likes to know they’re missed, so don’t be shy! You can also read about our staff members on our website, click here to get to know us all a little better!
The front door is so heavy! Can you get an automatic door?
The front door is actually heavy by design- it is to prevent pets, especially strong dogs, from escaping the hospital. Because we are located on such a busy roadway, we wanted to make sure that if an owner lost control of their dog’s leash in the lobby, the dog would not be able to escape the building. We’ve had many a dog try! If you need help managing the doors, please let us know- come in first without your pet and let a CSR know, or call us from your cell phone in the parking lot if you like. We are happy to help!
Can I be present for my pet’s treatments, like vaccines?
Absolutely. You are always welcome to observe your pet’s treatment. Many services are best performed in our Treatment Room because the equipment we need to use is located there or because the treatment (like ear cleaning) is messy and better done outside the exam room. Also, many pet owners are squeamish about needles or seeing their pet’s blood drawn and prefer not to be present during these treatments. However, as we mentioned before, the hospital has an open door policy and would be happy to take you to the Treatment Room with your pet while procedures are performed.
Why do I need a prescription for flea products and dewormers?
We completely understand why this is confusing! Some parasite prevention products are prescription and some are not- this is dictated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) just like human medications and we must comply with their regulations. The product’s box will indicate if it is FDA (Food and Drug Administration- prescription) or EPA (Environmental Protection Agency- over-the-counter) regulated. Here is a chart of the most common products that may help you understand which products you need a prescription to purchase:
Prescription- Regulated as Medication by the FDA
- Advantage Multi
Over-the-Counter- Regulated as Pesticides by the EPA
- Advantage and Advantix
Can I get appointment reminders by email?
We are working on it! This service is available to us through Pet Portals, but is not seamless so we do have to do a little work before rolling it out. In the meantime, make sure we have your correct email address on file- if you’re not sure just shoot us an email with your first and last name and we’ll update your records!
If Frontier is closed, how do I know if my pet is having an emergency? When is it ok to wait vs. going to Dove Lewis?
Sometimes it is very difficult to tell if your pet is having an emergency, so erring on the side of caution and having your pet seen by a veterinarian for anything questionable is always best. As mom always said, it’s better safe than sorry! There are some general guidelines for what constitutes an emergency, click here for a list or use our Pet Health Checker.
Why are RX foods out of stock sometimes?
We completely understand why this is frustrating, and have increased our stock levels to better reflect our patient’s needs. The main reason this happens is that prescription food ordering is limited by the food companies to only once a week- so if we run out of a product right after receiving it, we have to wait a whole week before ordering more. There are a few tips to make sure you are not disappointed when coming in to get your pet’s food:
Ordering days- If your pet is on a special order diet or you would like to order multiple bags, place your order for Hill’s Science Diet by closing on Monday, Purina and Royal Canin by closing on Sunday.
Don’t wait until the weekend! The weekends are the busiest days of the week for food sales but unfortunately also the end of the “ordering week,” so we are more likely to be sold out on the weekends.
Think of it like a medication refill. Most people don’t wait until they are out of their medicine before calling for a refill, so think of your pet’s food the same way- call in advance and we can order or hold a bag for you.
Can I make an appointment for my pet to get just a nail trim? Can you file the nails or just cut them?
Of course! We have technician appointments available 7 days a week for services like nail trims. We can trim your nails traditionally or dremel them, which is like filing instead of cutting. Dremeling does take more time so it costs a bit more, but we are happy to do whichever method you prefer.
Do you see small mammals, like rabbits and hamsters?
Yes! We provide care for small mammals like rabbits, hamsters, and guinea pigs.
How do I brush my pet’s teeth at home? What about nail trimming at home?
We are happy to teach you how to perform these services at home, and we even have instructions and videos on our website to learn how to brush your pet’s teeth, administer medications and more- click here to check them out. We are also happy to give you a private tutorial- simply call to make an appointment or ask to watch the next time your pet is in for a nail trim!
Can I pick up and drop off for boarding on the weekend?
Absolutely- you can drop off and pick up for boarding anytime during business hours. Keep in mind that pick up and drop off typically take 10-15 minutes, so plan your arrival accordingly.