My foster dog tore a claw while he was happily running around a farm (his vacation from me). It didn't seem to bother him, so I didn't go to the vet right away. But after a few days, he seemed sort of quiet and the swelling had not gone down much. So, it was time to take him to the vet.
As with human health care, the vets have offices and they make house calls AND they do a clinic in one of the many pet/garden shops in the area. I chose to take him to the pet shop. I got an appointment the day before and only had to wait a very few minutes beyond my appointment to see her. The nail was infected and I should not take him for walks for a week, come back in a week. She gave me pills and the entire thing, including the medicine, came to under 12 Euros (~18 dollars). Her spot in the pet store was tiny, no receptionist, no filling out forms, no medical charts here. But, really, it was sort of like my trip to the doctor for the dog bite--my dog's foot is not highly likely to turn into a long-time medical affair with multiple consultations (I pray not, anyway..he's a good boy).
Americans, probably due to our insane penchant for law suits over minor things, end up raising costs for simple-to-solve medical difficulties. When I say simple or obvious medical conditions, I realize that sometimes things go wrong even with the simple..but why do we allow for so much litigation that raises costs so high? I'm sure there are incompetent doctors and vets, but there is also the plain statistical evidence that even with very good and correct care, nature may take an unexpected turn. So, I think Americans push health care out of sight for everyone due to an excessive focus on the tiny fraction of cases where the medical people really goofed up.
In sum, once again I am quite satisfied with Maltese medical care for the minor aliments and injuries people--and our pets--all have.
Now I'll just have to wait a few days to see if the antibiotics help with that paw. He is, of course, milking this for all it's worth: A belly rub, a paw holding, general attention I even turned on a heater just for him.