Saturday, January 21, 2012

Vet Time For Oscar

I've been a terrible pet owner since moving to Germany. We've lived here for nearly 1.5 years and I have never once brought Oscar to the vet. I know, I know - it's probably technically animal abuse, so a few weeks ago I finally made an appointment and took Oscar to get his vaccines updated and to talk to the Dr. about his mysterious barfing.

What's that, you ask? Oh yea, Oscar barfs occasionally. Usually on the days when he refuses to eat breakfast, his stomach gets all nervous and acidy and he barfs bile. Most of the time he does it outside and there's almost always a crowd of school children nearby who get thoroughly grossed out. To keep the barfing at bay, several days a week I slip him a 1/4 Talcid pill (German for Pepcid AC) and that has taken his barfing down from nearly once a day to once or twice a month.  The barfing started shortly after we moved here, and I think the plane ride so royally freaked him out that he's had a nervous stomach ever since.

Anyway, I had a of things to discuss with the doctor. Including the barfing and outdated vaccines, the Rathaus (city hall) has been sending me reminder letters to turn in something called a "Certificate of Competency." I think I was on my last notice before getting fined, so this was an important one. I had assumed that this was a certificate that the vet authorized certifying that Oscar wasn't a danger to society, but when I finally got my hands on this allusive form, I realized that it was a multiple choice quiz to prove that I am a competent dog owner. There were about 6-8 questions like the one below:

It is not possible to teach an old dog new tricks.
a) I completely agree with this statement.
b) I think you can teach an old dog new tricks, but it is easier to teach them when they are young.
c) I think you should always wait to train dogs until they are older because younger dogs are unable to learn.

Thankfully I passed the test and the vet certified me a competent dog owner - phew!

I mentioned the barfing to the vet, but he was really more concerned about the complete lapse of keeping Oscar's vaccine's updated. Not only did he give him all new shots, but we have to go back in a month and get the shots all over again. Procrastination stinks. When we go back in February for more shots, we'll tackle the barfing issue.

The other thing the vet issued was a Pet Passport, which I thought I already had. Note for people moving to the EU with a pet - the Pet Passport you get to bring your animal on an airplane is NOT the same as the Pet Passport that you need to get issued by a vet in your destination country. This new Pet Passport is where the vet keeps a record of Oscar's vaccines, his microchip number and other important details and we must bring it with us if we take Oscar into a different EU country. Oops - guess he's traveled illegally to Belgium and The Netherlands. Every time we go to the vet I need to bring this little passport with me so his records stay up-to-date.

Oscar's little vet trip only set us back 122 Euros, which is really not bad. I think a trip like this in the States would have cost several hundred dollars.  The low cost made me wonder if the 80 Euros we pay each year in Hundesteuer (dog tax) goes to subsidize the vet bills.  Any German reading this who knows the answer to that, please comment!


Anonymous said...

Well, actually i don´t have a dog and didn´t think about this question before. But i´m pretty sure, that dog taxes are not the reason for a low vet´s bill. In Germany taxes are uncommited (e.g. the tobacco tax, which is inter alia used for the Autobahn instead of figthing lung cancer). Otherwise we talk about charges? (Abgaben/Gebühren).
dogs are taxed by the impoverished municipalities. I doubt that "Borken" or any other town is willing to subsidize the vets beneficently, but rather pay its debts.
Long story short: i have no idea, why the bills are lower than in the states ;-).

LG (which are btw no initials but the acronym for best wishes/Liebe Grüße ^^)

Veronika said...

The Hundesteuer doesn´t go to subsidize the vet bills.

Germans can't afford higher vet bills. If the vet charges too high the owner of the pet will choose another vet next time. 120 € for dog immunizations and deworming is high end treatment regarding the costs. In a Village near Kiel I paid 2009 about 60 €. Forgive my inability to frame correct English sentences.