Saturday, October 20, 2018

A Petcare Wellness Center At Walmart Offers
Affordable But Limited Cat Health Care

VEtIQ plans to open 1,000 in-store pet wellness centers by 2023.
Coming soon to a store near you: a VetIQ Petcare Wellness Center at Walmart. Think of it as a MinuteClinic for cats. The walk-in wellness centers don't take appointments, and offer a limited menu of services at prices considerably lower than you'd pay at a conventional veterinary clinic. Twenty locations are open now. But VetIQ expects to be in 1,000 stores by 2023.

For Healthy Cats Only

If your cat is sick, a petcare wellness center at Walmart isn't going to be much help. The clinics' services for cats are limited to physical exams, blood panels, vaccinations, intestinal parasite screenings, nail trims, microchipping and health certificates for travel.  

If your cat needs something that's not on the menu of services -- a dental, for instance, or care for a chronic disease like diabetes or hyperthyroidism --  the wellness center veterinarian will refer you to a conventional vet clinic. If your cat needs medication, you'll get a prescription to be filled at the Walmart Pharmacy. 

A $1 Billion Business

Owned by PetIQ, a manufacturer and distributor of supplements and flea, tick and heartworm preventatives for dogs, the petcare wellness centers at Walmart promise "affordable, quality wellness veterinary care in a convenient, friendly environment. But they also promise healthy profits for PetIQ. 

The company expects its pet wellness centers, along with its veterinary products lines, will generate more than $1 billion in sales by 2023.

If you're on a tight budget and need to save money on veterinary care, the petcare wellness center at Walmart might be a good place to start. A senior blood panel there costs $105. It would be considerably more at a full-service vet clinic.

But You Still Need That Old-Fashioned Animal Hospital

While it often feels like vets charge way too much, their hospitals are businesses that must cover expenses, pay salaries and provide a living wage for the vets. Those costs include expensive surgical and imaging equipment, a fully stocked pharmacy and building maintenance and repairs. 

Except for salaries, the petcare wellness centers at Walmart have none of those costs, so they can afford to charge less. 

If a PetIQ Petcare Wellness Center hasn't come to a Walmart near you just yet, here are some other ways to make veterinary care more affordable

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