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Vet Issues, the good, the bad & the ugly.

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Vet Issues, the good, the bad & the ugly.

Postby Triple 6 » May 24th, 2011, 5:58 pm

Have at er.... But remember no names or companies!
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Re: Vet Issues, the good, the bad & the ugly.

Postby WeatherWoman » May 24th, 2011, 6:18 pm

I think we are being ripped off by our Vet on VI. They charge $72 for "wellness" visits and wanted to charge us $360 to put our dog done when they quoted us $150.

It's too much isn't it?
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Re: Vet Issues, the good, the bad & the ugly.

Postby strwbrrydvl » May 24th, 2011, 6:22 pm

Sounds high. Was he cremated? That may explain the bigger charge but you'd think they'd quote you accurately beforehand with all the costs not just the euthanization. Mine went to sleep at home for $120.
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Re: Vet Issues, the good, the bad & the ugly.

Postby Roadster » May 24th, 2011, 8:22 pm

Thanks Trip.

We had to phone three vets for a fair price on putting our dogs down. Odd that the vet with higher prices on other stuff was cheaper on that when we needed it. Was over a hundred dollar difference from the lowest to the most expensive. Use that phone and you will save. It is not worth being loyal to one anymore, altho I would love to have that connection.

One procedure we had to do several years ago was from $350.00 to $530.00 difference. You gotta do the work to make sure you dont get ripped off.
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Re: Vet Issues, the good, the bad & the ugly.

Postby Imagination » May 24th, 2011, 11:56 pm

I mentioned in the other thread I had had some good and bad experiences and I can tell you price is a big one that seems to come up. I was lucky in that I found what I consider to be the ideal vet where I used to live who felt it was better to keep things affordable so people would actually bring their pets in when they weren't well and he was one very busy vet. He taught me a lot about what to believe and what to question. He taught me that common sense can go a very long way over paying for the nice to know tests that end up costing $$$.

I don't know what emerg vets are like here, but the calling around for prices is very good advice no matter what you need. Comparing costs of wellness visits, basic office visits, spay/neuter, annual shots can give you a pretty good idea where they sit. I had make those calls in Calgary when there was a sudden need for an emerg and my vet was closed. The costs between various clinics was astounding in how they differed. We are talking more than double at some places just to walk in and yet the least expensive was totally up to date, had all the equipment, and offered fantastic service. They too were busy. The two times I had to go to the expensive bunch were the two times I was completely unhappy with their tactics and once I actually carried my dog out with IV attached just to get her to safety. In their case, high price was absolutely no assurance she was getting first rate care at all. I was lucky to get her out alive.

Now when I walk into a new vet one of things I really check is how busy they are. Seems to me that is one really good indicator of whether they are reasonable and working in the interest of the pet. I could care less if they have a bright and shiny fully decorated office (usually a bad sign for me because someone is paying for that) but how many folks waiting and going in and out is key. For sure most pet owners are too happy to recommend good vets and it seems to me that the names of the good ones keep coming up over and over again.

So far, I haven't been able to find the kind of vet I am used to here (been to 3 so far and am not so sure I will be returning to any of them again). I will keep trying and I will continue to question them to see if I can establish if they are more interested in my wallet than my pet's health. What does pain me is to see what others have had happen and how they got sucked in to paying too much or over treating.
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Re: Vet Issues, the good, the bad & the ugly.

Postby Roadster » May 25th, 2011, 8:04 am

There is one vet office here that wants an extra $100.00 for an emergency in the morning when they open IF you are not a regular client of theirs and yet the other offices dont seem to charge that. The person who answered the phone when I called over my dog's stroke told me that right up front so watch for that also!
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Re: Vet Issues, the good, the bad & the ugly.

Postby Tacklewasher » May 25th, 2011, 8:37 am

Checked my cc statement and I was charged $157.92 to put mine down, no cremation. This was after spending about $250 with this vet and another $550 with a second vet for ultrasound and removal of fluid so they may have been giving me a break on the final step.

I've not had a bad experience with our vet. Even got a sympathy card from them.

One dog developed crystal in her urinary track so had trouble peeing. Vet gave meds and put her on a special diet food. Once it cleared up I figured I knew better and put her back on cheaper food. Problem recurred, more medication and back to the special diet. She stayed on that diet for 5-6 years with no recurrence of that problem.

Other dog seemed to be having digestive issues so the vet has her on food that's easy to digest. She is eating better and I'm willing to pay the extra just for the much clearer air.
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Re: Vet Issues, the good, the bad & the ugly.

Postby Roadster » May 25th, 2011, 8:55 am

I have always gotten a sympathy card from my vets. What I didn't like is the last one came about three or four weeks after the fact. Kinda made a day of good plans go a little down hill. Should be sooner if they are gonna send one.

As far as a bad experience, I can't say I have had any real bad ones. Because I phone them all for prices I believe I have saved some of that possibility. At least I have never gotten from someone else "Holy cow, you paid that!" I have been suckered once into the heart worm drug but thats not all too bad when I think about it, only happened once. Might be that my vets don't really know my animals enough to start calling and pushing different stuff, who knows.

I do have one female road vet who does the best work, (hope I can say that) and only when she is on holidays or is in the operating room (her days in there) I have been able to get her at a very reasonable price just because she is that way, even tho on the road and she comes to the house.

I know people don't agree with De-claw on cats but the cat we got from the SPCA needed a neuter done, SPCA rules and they give a certificate for it so it is free but must be booked within three days of you having the cat. When we booked it we told the vet at that time that we wanted a de-claw at the same time. CHEAPER. The vet said not recommended, I said oh ya, we argued and my reasoning was the cat was gonna be indoor, was a total freak that would slap you from the tops of furniture leaving scares on our wrists and was already destroying the furniture. Nope wouldn't do it! about two years later, with the furniture all looking fuzzy on tops and sides and many scares that never disappeared on wrists and ankles, we had enough. The cat is happy, didn't even phase him and we still have that fuzzy furniture, thing is it costed twice the price it woulda if we had gotten our way in the first place and he'da had both operations out of his way. I have done it that way for many cats I have had. Like it or not, for some homes it saves lots of $$$ if you really want a cat yer gonna take care of till he is old and dies in your loving care.
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Re: Vet Issues, the good, the bad & the ugly.

Postby CoffeeCanuck » May 25th, 2011, 11:00 am

Well, I'm happier than the proverbial :trippyquoter: in poop!

Just back from taking both of my pups to a new vet. Yesterday I had called the three vet clinics in town to price out the yearly vaccinations. My vet that I've been going to for the past 3 yrs was the highest, and the clinic I took them to just now was the cheapest. I've been thinking of switching clinics for a while now as I've not been overly happy. Cheaper boosters finally prodded me to trying another clinic. I was quoted on the phone $45 taxes incl. so it would be $90 for both pups. As it turns out, my little pug has an infected toenail, so I also got 2 wks worth of antibiotics. When I asked why the three year vaccination was not available here, she told me that this booster would last three years. The total bill was only $70! Yippee! I was only charged $35 per vaccination and was not charged for the antibiotics.

Because my boxer is going to be 10 soon, I know her time to cross the rainbow bridge is sooner rather than later. She's healthy and I really do hope she lives for another few years, but that's old for a boxer and I know I'll have to make that difficult decision. I asked what the cost of euthanization is as well as cremation. Euthanization is $72 taxes in and individual cremation (which is done in Halifax), is $280. taxes in. There is a cremation place closer and less expensive, but it's a mass cremation. Overall, the prices here are very fair and affordable I must say.

I spoke with the vet about heartworm prevention and she told me there is absolutely no need to put my dogs on it as there is no risk. Her exact words were...."the required temperature is not sustained long enough for there to be a risk of contracting heartworm here". To say I appreciated her honesty is putting it mildly.

I do believe I finally found myself a great vet clinic here. It's not just about low cost, although that is a big factor presently. It's very important to find a vet, and clinic staff, that I trust and have a good rapore with.

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Re: Vet Issues, the good, the bad & the ugly.

Postby Roadster » May 25th, 2011, 11:57 am

Good for you CoffeeCaunck. Goes to show it aint just here, it is common practice to play with prices. Let us know how it goes down the road, hope its all good like it looks! :sunshine:
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Re: Vet Issues, the good, the bad & the ugly.

Postby Imagination » May 25th, 2011, 12:57 pm

WeatherWoman wrote:I think we are being ripped off by our Vet on VI. They charge $72 for "wellness" visits and wanted to charge us $360 to put our dog done when they quoted us $150.

It's too much isn't it?


Did you happen to ask why the cost was more than double the quote? That might help explain things but if it doesn't, you may be dealing with a gouger (someone who will take advantage just when you don't have any room to manoeuvre). If it helps, I can tell you I had a situation where I was gouged badly ($1000) during what was supposed to be a referral for an ultrasound ($250). They gave me no options and since it was an emergency I was stuck. Another time, another vet office (owned by the same organization it turned out) gouged me on some meds. Both gave me the same song and dance, it's our policy response until I let them know I'd be reporting them to various gov't consumer depts as well as their own vet association and you know, suddenly their policies got put to the side and I got my money back.

Meanwhile I know charges for things like cremation can vary depending on whether it's done individually or mass, and if that was part of the charge it might explain the difference. I know when I was facing it there was a charge for putting the dog to sleep and than another for the handling/cremation that would have added up to about $300+.
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Re: Vet Issues, the good, the bad & the ugly.

Postby WeatherWoman » May 25th, 2011, 1:03 pm

they did cut the charge in half when my hubby had a meltdown in the office and it was $182. I think the receptionist didn't give us the full quote when we called to ask.

I wish someone would respond to my local forum post asking what they pay for their vet along with recommendations.
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Re: Vet Issues, the good, the bad & the ugly.

Postby Imagination » May 25th, 2011, 3:04 pm

As part of the discussion I thought I would pass along some of the wisdom the vet I love taught me as well as other things I've learned along the way.

1. Whenever you are faced with tests, x-rays, etc. the first question out of your mouth should be how would this test change any treatment that may be given? If the answer is it wouldn't, the test can wait.

A for instance of how this helped me. One dog I had suddenly came down with a urinary tract infection. Saturday night of course so it was off to an emerg with a sample. Once they had established that it was indeed an infection and dosed out the drugs I was told she had to have her kidneys checked and a few other things to the tune of $600. I asked why that would be necessary (this wasn't the first time I'd seen a UTI so knew a bit about it) and got a standard 'we should check everything to make sure there is nothing else going on' response. I then put the question to them 'how would these extra tests change the treatment you are handing me right now?' and got a 'well they wouldn't but they would sure help if the drugs don't work'. Sorry, not good enough as I heard my own vet in my head so told them I would rather see if the drugs worked and if they didn't clear things up then I would consider additional tests. I got the proverbial 'if you really loved this dog...' but instead of guilting me, it just ensured I would never be back to that clinic. Turns out the drugs worked and my own vet just shook his head when I told him about the extra tests they wanted to do.

That same issue came up later when that dog got cancer. She'd had an ultra-sound which gave us the info on the tumours we needed to determine what was wrong and that she was indeed terminal. As per most people in this situation I went for second and third opinions and was basically told I should ultra sound her every few weeks to see how it was going. My own vet had a chat with me and asked me how me knowing how much the tumours had grown would change how we were handling this (keeping her comfortable for as long as we could). Well, that struck me as he continued to add that it was merely a 'nice to know' and wouldn't change the outcome at all except to stress the dog out from being tested and emptying my wallet. He was pretty straight with me telling me we knew the dog would succumb to this, but our job was to make her life as happy and normal as possible. No added stress, no need to know exactly how long she may have, no painful surgery (which was too risky anyway), no chemo (she was already too far gone) as that was only to make me feel better (add to some vets profit) and wouldn't help the dog.

2. Never vaccinate a dog who has any other issues going on. The warnings are right on the bottles but a lot of people ignore them and it can have dire results causing long term auto-immune issues (allergies, blood conditions, arthritis, you name it) or personality changes (rabies is known for this one as well as kidney failure). The common thoughts that vaccines are safe is not panning out as people are discovering the side issues are often worse than the condition the vaccine was to prevent, so it's especially important a pet be 100% healthy when being jabbed with something that is going to kick it's immune system. It's also helpful to know what your breeds are sensitive to as some are known to be effected by the very same shot another breed has no issue with. The Internet has been a real eye opener on this one as pet owners are now able to get together and discuss consequences and experiences like never before.

Rabies is a perfect example as it's been legislated in almost all of the US so they had no choice with their animals. It wasn't until the Internet got in the picture that the stories started to surface. Once that started the numbers starting hitting the FDA where they discovered something like 4000 dogs had died in the year following the introduction of one of the shots. Those numbers were spectacular compared to the data supplied by the maker and vets are now more aware, so the movement to study rabies shots began and the results are changing how people think about that one now.

3. If you are concerned about effects but still want the shots/boosters, ask for individual shots given over a period of time instead of a combo shot. That helps lesson the effects of what could be a major blast to the immune system by allowing it to recover between shots. Most vets will order in the individual shots if you ask and some won't charge more even though it may take more appointments.

Also ask about doses as some will make you shake your head. It's not uncommon for a little puppy or Yorkie to get the same dose as an adult German Shepard. How anyone with a science background could justify that one, I don't know but it makes no sense at all to me.

4. Check what vaccines your pet is being given and why. When I started doing that I realized some of them were totally useless (IMO). Like the heartworm issue, some of the things standard vaccines cover don't occur everywhere. Some of the vaccines cover a few strains of something (like Lepto) and if those strains aren't the ones running in your area, they are of no use. It would be like getting a flu shot for strains that aren't present. The other issue is that some of the vaccines are for things that are no issue to treat and the effects of the shot can be costly in $$ as well as the dog's long term health.

My question is now 'if my dog catches this illness, what is treatment?' and if it's not a big deal, I'll take my chances. Giardia, kennel cough, lepto are some examples of that type of shot my dog will not ever be getting as treatment is pretty straight forward.

Bordetella is a good example. Kennel cough is basically a cold that goes away in a week or so. No treatment required, just some time the same as we need with our colds. Only unhealthy, immune compromised dogs might suffer from catching it by developing into pneumonia, so only those dogs need it. So why give a dog something that will give a full kick to their immune system when their own body will take care of it?

The other thing I personally discovered with this one is that my dog actually caught Kennel cough from the bordetella nasal spray she had to have for a daycare. Since I hadn't even taken her to the daycare yet I couldn't figure out why she had the symptoms a week after the spray until her vet told me she caught it from the spray itself. When he told me it was just a cold and would only take a few days to pass I asked why we are supposed to get the spray and he told me straight out, no reason other than daycares and such seem to insist on it, but my dog was a perfect example of how her health had been knocked out by the spray giving her exactly what the spray was supposed to prevent. She wouldn't have had a cold at all if not for that spray and her immune system would have handled an exposure just fine without it because it wouldn't have been such a blast at once.

I will no longer take my dog anywhere that requires bordetella or the list of other shots until someone can explain to me why they need it. So far I haven't found any with a sensible explanation that satisfies me and luckily there are some who know the folly of it all and don't require it.

Perfect example of some of the thinking out there in vet land. Cats are known to develop a cancer on vaccine injection sites. Instead of dealing with why cats are getting cancer (who are indoor in most locations and therefore not subject to a lot of things and let's not forget they get boosters too even though it's also a best guess on how long immunity really lasts), the recommendation has changed to giving the vaccines in their tails. The rationale is it's easier to cut off the tail when the cancer develops than try to cut out part of the neck/back/shoulder. Can you imagine if they tried that logic in the human medical world? That practice would stop immediately until they found a way to do it without cancer being the outcome. Meanwhile with cats they'll just cut off a different part of their body. It makes you wonder.

5. The science of vaccines and how long immunity lasts is sketchy at best. Only now is there is study going on to see how long the immunity of a rabies shot lasts. So far it's in year 8 and the immunity from the first shot is holding (they use titers to determine that and you can have titers done on you pets too if you want to see if they really need a booster for rabies as well as other vaccines). My dog is 7 now and has not had any shots since her puppy shots and with titers every 3 years she shows she is still has immunity from those first shots, so you can be checking and know what's what with your dog before giving them anything. The cost is about the same as giving them the annual boosters for 3 years and it is worth checking as Dr. Dodds clinic in CA is often the least expensive and has a super reputation. They accept samples from Canada and you can get prices and info on sending at http://www.itsfortheanimals.com/HEMOPET.HTM (links to info and prices is about half way down the page).

Virtually all recommendations for shots/boosters is made by the manufacturers. Seems like a conflict of interest there as they are the ones making the money if they convince everyone to buy every year. Vets often regard the boosters as one way to get people back in the office on a regular basis supposedly to give the pet a wellness check. The could offer the checks without the shots but the shots are bread and butter for them so again, in whose interests are those annual shots really?

When I first became concerned about this I had a chat with that trusted vet of mine and he was not on board at all with missing shots. Since it's controversial, I simply asked him to find me any info to show me how long immunity lasts that had not been put out by the manufacturer and I would reconsider. The next time I saw him he told me to forget it as he had been unable to find any reliable info at all to say the main shots don't hold. Over time, the titers and general good health of my dog convinced him totally and now he only boosters those who request it.

Some shots do show a shorter immunity span. Bordetella has a life of about 6 mos - 1 year but since that one only prevents colds, well, in my book that is a big forget it anyway.

6. A good diet (and by that I mean one as intended by nature) does more to keep a dog healthy than anything. Just like us, food can have a major impact and be the difference between surviving and thriving in good health. After going through cancer with one dog I learned about diet and now feed raw. It's a matter of good, better, best, when it comes to what you choose, but know that in nature no canine would ever eat grains. Wolves do not graze in pastures and there is a lot of controversy between the folks who believe they shake the vegetable/grain matter out of their kill and those who think they eat it because it's already partially digested in their kill. There's no final word on that aspect yet as the two sides are still dukeing it out.

Although dogs are opportunists and will eat what is around when they have to, they are not as healthy when they have to deal with foods their bodies weren't intended to have. They don't digest them well, their immune systems are in a constant state of activity dealing with something they really are not built to eat and so they don't have optimum health in that situation. Combined with an immune system blasted by vaccines, you can end up with a dog unable to take care of things and suffering the consequences. Like us humans, diabetes, allergies, a host of skin conditions, and auto-immune issues did not exist in the dog world until the introduction of processed foods that contain grains and the preservatives/additives that requires.

If you want to know about various brands of dry foods, do check out http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com/ which reviews and ranks just about every kibble on the market. Super site for seeing how things compare and which have the best ingredients.There are some companies out now that are producing some really good processed foods and there is enough variety to deal with fussy eaters or those who for whatever reason can't handle certain ingredients.

What the dog food industry is often guilty of is stating their food is the best for proteins and then they pull what is called "splitting". By law, ingredients must be listed with the largest amounts first. Splitting means they break the grains/fillers down by using different types. That gives them individual amounts less than the protein so the protein will appear first on the list. Meanwhile if you check the next ingredients you will often see a list like corn, wheat, rice, potato, etc. in amounts that if you add them all up, exceed the protein by several times. That means the highest ingredient is the filler/starch/grains, not the protein. Protein may even end up being less than 10% of the food but the package will make it seem quite different.

Also, don't depend on the labelling too much as there are no gov't regulations on pet food like there is on human food. They are held to much lower standards so it's up to us to educate ourselves and it will be apparent if you check that rating site. Price is not a good indicator of how good the food is.

Another big factor with pet foods is irradiation. Any protein brought across the border is irradiated. Unlike human food, there are no limits on pet food irradiation levels. So anything coming from China, the US, or where ever will have the little green symbol on the package showing it's been irradiated. In 2009 Australia (which has the same rules) had a huge issue with a Canadian food they imported for cats. Cats were being paralyzed and dying if they ate the food. Now the food itself is a super food with a good reputation but when they studied what could have happened it came down to the amount of irradiation the food had when it crossed their borders. So the same lots in Canada and other countries were fine but the lot that hit Australia received a blast. It's not the irradiation itself, but the amount they used that caused the problem. What is fine for a 60 lb animal may be deadly to a 20 lb one. Until they regulate those amounts on pet foods, we have to be wary and watch to see if that might be impacting our pets if they eat something and react badly.

Best bets, keep it local and as close to what nature intended as you are comfortable with. Use the labels rather than the price as your guides if buying kibble or pre-made foods.

7. (my personal belief) Find a vet who is open to discussion when you have concerns or questions. Those who are absolutely unable to consider some things are not operating with studies and information that may be coming out, or are not willing to listen to anyone because they have a bad attitude. They may well know what they are talking about, but they should be able to help you understand and listen to your concerns when it comes to your pet. If they can't make you comfortable with something or try to manipulate you, get out of there.

8. You have the Internet available now, no reason to not educate yourself on anything you may have concerns about. The more we as clients know, the better the care we will be able to get for our pets. At least that is the way I see it.
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Re: Vet Issues, the good, the bad & the ugly.

Postby Triple 6 » May 25th, 2011, 3:34 pm

Imagination. you have some great information! Thank you for sharing.

I have had some serious issues with my vet. I have two that work out of the same hospitals. I like them both for different reasons. I've learned that if I don't voice my concerns, then they win. I've made it extremely clear who is boss and while it seems rude, they now know who is in charge, not them, but me.

When Kruger was due in December for his yearly check up and vaccination, I in great lenght discussed the vaccinations with our vet. I wanted to do the rabies (we do have bats flying around in the summer and that does concern me) but I wanted to hold off on the other vaccinations (which we're done the year before) because I just wasn't sure of the benefits. He agreed with me, and was comfortable with doing it every three years. The chances of my dogs getting parvo are slim and next to none. I appreciated the honesty and value his opinion. We do not do Kennel cough, as neither of my dogs have been in a kennel and we have no plans for them to be!

Piper went in April and I did her rabies, but held off on the others. I've mentioned it before, Piper has addisons disease and has to have bloodwork every 3-6 months. It is a in house test, so the cost is less exspensive than sending it out.
My vet has give me a discount. It seems high, but to test her blood it is just under 60 dollars. Any other vet would be 110.00. It's the little things like that, that matter.

They have done a whole new billing system and replaced a lot of the front office girls. The new office manager is all about up-selling and well I've made it quite clear that I'm not interested in her "specials". I am here for my dog, not to be raped.

Wow, that was all over the map. Sorry. :)
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Re: Vet Issues, the good, the bad & the ugly.

Postby CoffeeCanuck » May 25th, 2011, 3:40 pm

Imagination wrote:You have the Internet available now, no reason to not educate yourself on anything you may have concerns about. The more we as clients know, the better the care we will be able to get for our pets. At least that is the way I see it.

That is it in a nutshell. Over the years, I've become much more pro-active in educating myself about my pets health, and it's ongoing. My journey began just after getting my boxer. She had a severe allergic flare up that required a trip to my vet and a shot to settle her down. He asked me what I was feeding her and I told him Iams. He said that she was likely reacting to the corn and maybe other ingredients such as wheat in it and that I should buy a better food without these items. I thought I was feeding her a quality food, but I was not. As soon as I got home, I began researching online and I was beyond shocked at what I was learning. It's been 8 years since that first initial research and though I've learned a lot about dog nutrition, I'm continually looking and learning.

The one thing I'm now learning about are vaccinations. I'm going to start a separate thread about vaccinations, as I'm sure there could be some great discussion and sharing of information.

~D
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CoffeeCanuck
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