and Me – on Primetime TV!

*****NOW MOVED UNTIL MONDAY 16TH MARCH 8PM***** and ‘Pets Undercover’ on the Tonight Programme, ITV1 – Monday 9th March, 8pm.

Next Monday you can see how I helped Tonight presenter Jonathan Maitland and his dog Monty (pictured) investigate whether some vets are overcharging and recommending unnecessary procedures to pet owners, and if vet bills really need to be so high.


Nearly half of all British households now have a pet – with the favourite being the loveable pooch.

But if you’re like Tonight presenter Jonathan Maitland, whose dog Monty costs £2000 a year to keep, it may feel like the bills are excessive.

In these tough financial times, animal refuge homes are reporting that pets are being abandoned in record numbers. In the last five years, more than one and half million pets have been put down – because their owners can’t afford them.

One of the biggest costs are vet bills, and in a specially commissioned Tonight survey carried out by K9 Media – 76 per cent of dog owners said the cost of keeping their pet healthy has become too expensive.

In this programme, the Tonight team takes Monty the dog, Rupert the rabbit and Mickey the cat on mystery shopping visits to find out the truth about vet bills.

Tonight exposes how the cost of medical procedures and medications can vary considerably from practice to practice and discovers that some vets are prepared to recommend expensive treatment that is completely unnecessary.

The programme meets one devoted pet owner that has paid £15,000 for treatments for her dog (only £4,000 of which was covered by pet insurance) and reveals how she is paying a 250 per cent mark-up on medication sold to her by her vet.

Of course believing in putting pet before profit, led me to set up in the first place, a free website which allows pet owners to rate and review pet-friendly businesses – including vets – to help others find the best for their pet.

So as co-founder of, working on such a worthwhile project was a dream come true. In my experience, clients generally don’t mind how much they pay for their poorly pets as long as they get good value for money and their pet only receives necessary treatments.

I want to make sure the public knows there are many, many fantastic vets out there who will always put your pet first and deliver great customer service every time.

Exploitation of pet owners can only result in higher fees and negative client–vet interactions. This will ultimately lead to reduced trips to the vet, an increase in abandonment and falling ownership rates. The long-term knock on effects for the UK pet industry could be disastrous.

By making pet-owners aware that there is a range of services out there, we are one step closer to ensuring Britain continues to responsibly own their pets well into the future.

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4 replies

  1. I am very pleased Marc Abraham MRCVS has had the courage to speak out about Vets overcharging and look forward very much to watching the programme. Vets give injections the pet never needed just to make money and treat pets with far too many antibiotics and steroids and never go into what the pet is being fed although taking the pet food of dry pet food or any kind of pet food could quite literally save its life. For example struvite crystals which can stop cats passing urine are as veterinary research shows caused by feeding dry pet food which stimulates struvite crystals which can block the urethra and stop the cat passing urine. When my cat got this terrible illness my Vet kept catheterising my cat and operated on him, gave him Cystaid, steroids and antibiotics and tried everything to save him except the one thing that could have saved him since if the first time my cat could not pass urine my Vet had told me to take him off all dry pet food that could have saved his life.
    Vets sell pet food becPet food because they make at least 20% profit from the sale of it and then make money from the illness it eventually creates and I have veterinary research which shows that pet food is causing cancer, kidney failure, diabetes, struvite crystals, dilated cardiomyopathy, cystitis, ibd, hyperthryoidism, gdv, calcium oxalate stones in the kidneys of cats. The acidifiers the pet food companies put into the food are causing kidney failure especially in cats as shown by veterinary research. Michael Fox MRCVS has written an excellent book on the subject entitled “Not Fit for a Dog – The Truth About Manufactured Pet Food” Under “Evidence of Pet Food Harms” you can look at the veterinary research that shows pet food is causing illness. The pet food companies fund the veterinary schools and are even being allowed to teach nutrition to the veterinary students but Vets should not be allowed to sell pet food and the pet food companies should not be allowed to fund veterinary schools or teach nutrition to veterinary students. My cat could still be alive had my Vet told me to take him off dry pet food but instead he made a considerable amount of money out of trying all kinds of treatment only for my cat to be put to sleep when none of it worked because at that time I did not know that pet food is the cause of this illness. Pets on dry food are chronically dehydrated and this predisposes to kidney failure. Any Vets reading this may wish to read my letter published in the Veterinary Times dated 21.7.2008 on this subject. I look forward to watching the programme and know many others too are eagerly looking forward to it.

  2. I have three Golden Retrievers aged 15, and two are twelve. They have cost me an average of £10 per year each on vet bills. Why? Because I don’t vaccinate them every year (Gwinnie was vaccinated as a puppy and still had high antibody titers at age 6, and because I DON’T feed industrial waste, otherwise marketed as ‘pet food’.

    Feed real food to your dogs and stop over-vaccinating, and the likelihood is that you won’t be seeing much of your vet. You’ll get to enjoy your life with a healthy dog.

  3. Hi,
    I just wanted to mail and tell you how pleased I am with my vet, he is always helpful, and is prepared to listen, he never talks down to us. I really believe he has the owners interest at heart when it comes to giveing advise and service. For instance I popped along to his surgery to book an appointment for my young puppy who I thought had been drinking a lot, we chatted for a while and I told him her symptons,m he told me to pop a couple of water samples in one for him to do a quick test, and another to send away for more tests, he said he didn’t need to see her. She is registered there and had her puppy innoculations there but hasn’t been there since. I took samples next day, but as the one had been taken at 3.30 in the morning and she had previously passed water at midnight, he said that really it could have been better if he had a more concentrated sample. I understood what he meant but she does occasionally have an accident, so as I was getting up to go to the bathroom myself at that hour, I thought I would pop her out into the garden, hence when I took the sample. He tested the one sample and declared all was fine, no sign of protien, or diebitis, but the other sample he didn’t think it was worth sending off to the lab.
    Next day i took him another sample, that was at least 8 hours overnight since she has previously had passed water, and this you could see was darker in colour. When he checked that out, he said it was much more concentrated and he was happy that all was okay. Obviously he said any more problems don’t hesitate to come back, but what impressed me, for all this and his time, there was no charge, also he didn’t con me into sending the first sample off, knowing darn well it would return negative because there was little concentration it was rather dilute.
    As I say, I have always praised this vet for his down to earth common sense when it comes to handling Jo public, and his fees are not a rip off. I just hope he never retires.

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