Policies & Fees


Thank you for viewing our Policies & Fees. The following list details some of our financial and medical policies. Please take a few moments to familiarize yourself with them so that we can serve you better. If you have any questions regarding these or any of our policies or practices, please be sure to address them prior to your appointment. We can attempt to take into account any special requirements ONLY IF your clinician knows them prior to the appointment. Once the clinician has provided you with his professional time, it is too late to express any special budget needs.

Appointment Specific Policies (in home & in office):

  • Appropriate family members (especially spouses) and pets should be present. If your appointment is in our office, the room generally can hold 2-4 family members with 1-2 medium sized dogs. Please let us know how many to expect.
  • Fast dogs for at least 12 hrs (24 hrs. if not very food responsive) unless otherwise advised. Please only fast cats for 12 hrs. Water is fine.
  • Please have pet’s favorite treats available during the session. (Human food okay if they are super responsive to it.) If your pet is on a special diet, please have appropriate treats.
  • Please have your have family veterinarian send (e-mail or fax) over all appropriate medical records to us at 858-259-0013 at least 24 hrs prior to appointment or bring them with you. It is important that we have up to date information regarding exam findings, lab results and any medications your pet may be taking.
  • Please be sure to complete and return any and all forms to our office at least 24-48 hrs prior to your appointment and plan to arrive 15 minutes early if at all possible. Either fax, e-mail or by US Mail (must postmark at least 3-4 days prior to the appointment so that we receive it on time). Please have originals available during your session as well.
  • Arrive on time. We have designated a specific amount of time for you and your pet, and cannot refund you for time lost due to being late due to traffic etc., or missed appointments.
  • Please bring all halters, collars & other training aids (e.g. electronic collars/muzzles/Gentle Leaders) you may already have for the pet.
  • For the safety of your pet and that of others, we REQUIRE that all pets be on leashes or in pet carriers & properly restrained, especially if aggressive (basket muzzled or nylon muzzle and closely controlled on leash).
  • We recommend client bring means to audiotape session (N/C) & figure out how to use (e.g. Smart phone app) prior to appointment. We may be able to tape on cassette tape with prior notice for $15.00 additional charge.

Financial Specific Policies:

  • Please be sure that you have reviewed all of our policies and fees and that you understand clearly. Payment is due at time of appointment, and we DO NOT BILL. We accept the following payment methods: Cash, Check, Visa, Mastercard & Discover.
    Checks not honored by your bank will incur additional fees, as well as costs associated with collecting the funds to pay for the services/products you have received.
  • Since we schedule out a large portion of the doctor’s time for your behavior appointment, we request immediate notification of any desire to reschedule or cancel a behavior consultation so that another client can make arrangements to have the appointment time. Please give us AT LEAST 2-3 BUSINESS DAYS advanced notice of cancellation.
    If you do not show up for your appointment or cancel with less than 2 business days (M-F) notice, you may be charged up to the full consult fee.
  • Office call fees are charged $178 per hour (a 1.5 hr “mini/lite” appointment for $305 may be available for those that only have budget for introductory or assessment-only visit); House call fees are $210 per hour ($500 minimum) plus $4.50 per minute one-way travel time charge (for example 20 minute travel time would be $90 travel charge).
  • Consultations that must be scheduled with Dr. Melese after regular clinic office hours (M-Th 9:30-5) when available are charged additional hourly fees.
  • Initial office calls and house calls typically average between 2.5-3.5 hours depending on the pet, problem, complexity and history. This may vary depending on circumstance.
  • In-office routine recheck appointment is $180 and is typically 45-50 minutes long. It is scheduled about 1-2 months after initial visit. However, rechecks done more than 2 months after previous visit may need more time than a “standard” recheck in which case hourly fees would again apply. Recheck appointments are often critical to the long-term successful resolution of many cases, but how many and how often is very dependent on the problem, the patient(s), and the individual clients. For clients that cannot come in person to a recheck (for example if out of San Diego area), telephone appointments can be made for follow-up but these are not available to new patients since a “legal” doctor/owner/patient relationship must be established “in person” for veterinary practice in the state of California.
  • If you are unable to budget for even a “lite” consult visit with Dr. Melese we may still be able to help you. If you e-mail us a brief, concise (just few sentences as we do not have time to read through an extensive history outside of an appointment) description of your pet’s behavior problem, we may be able to send you some standard handout(s) that we may have on the particular subject. Although we are happy to help any way that we can as a courtesy, we do not have handouts on every subject possible and the material would be intended as general education since we cannot assure that the handout applies to your particular pet without a behavioral appointment, work-up and diagnosis.

Fees above are NOT meant to be an exact representation of cost since hourly charges apply, and each case is different. The fees above do not account for behavior products or training aids that may be recommended; some of which we may have available for purchase at the time of the visit.