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James Herriot
More bark for your buck

Veterinarian Gregory Hammer laughed as he recalled the average price his clients paid for an office visit in 1973, when he started out in rural Kansas. ¶ "It was $6," said Hammer, now president of the American Veterinary Medical Assn. ¶ Good luck getting so much as a torn nail clipped for that these days. ¶ Americans spent more than $10 billion on veterinary care last year, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Assn. ¶ A single visit to a vet cost an average of $135 for a dog owner as of 2006, the last time the veterinary group took a survey of those costs. That's up 83% from 10 years earlier. And the price is probably a good bit higher in Southern California, where vet fees...

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