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Vet Expense


Guest MyCody
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DH and I had a conversation that broke our hearts. We were saying Leah and JJ may be our last dogs because of the expense of vet care. I would never deny them a test the vet thinks is necessary for their care or for the most part any care needed. However it is becoming so expensive that we are experiencing the thoughts that others have had and have even had to rehome their pets. We would never do that but our adoption of greys since 1995 may have to end.

 

I read about people especially seniors who have tearfully had to rehome their beloved pets and I can understand it.

 

Leah's vetting last month was over $2000 and this month over $1300. When your on a pension and SS that isn't easy .

 

We are just looking to the future, right now we are fine, just sad that the future may not have any pups in it.

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This may not be a popular view, but I try not to be on board with every test under the sun. I always ask what the test will show and will it effect the treatment plan, etc. Just because there have been all of these improvements in vet care does not mean it's all necessary. I helped my Mom-mom get a pug a few years ago and I swear the vet she uses see's $$ signs. Part of the annual vet exam is always an echo. Perfectly healthy young 3 year old dog does not need that every year!

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Jessica

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I can relate as the cost of vet care can quickly add up. I have always been worried that if something happened, like a broken leg, surgery, severe illness, etc. I would NOT be able to cover the thousands of dollars up front. I am single, recently bought my first place, so I don't have an abundance of cash on hand. The money I spend on food alone for the pups puts me in the poor house!lol I am in the process of getting Pet Insurance for this very reason. I will have to pay about $60/month but it will ensure that anything in the future is covered. Pet insurance is a lot cheaper (it seems) in the U.S. maybe if you could afford to put out $30-40 a month it may be worth looking into. It is unfortunate when pets have to leave otherwise good homes, due to medical bills.

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My group has helped those in need in the past so they don't have to rehome their hounds.

 

I also don't run every test under the sun. Although I did with Passion a few months ago because of her seizures. I did not do an MRI because they have to put her under.

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Kari and the pups.
Run free sweet Hana 9/21/08-9/12/10. Missing Sparks with every breath.
Passion 10/16/02-5/25/17

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Guest Gillybear

This may not be a popular view, but I try not to be on board with every test under the sun. I always ask what the test will show and will it effect the treatment plan, etc. Just because there have been all of these improvements in vet care does not mean it's all necessary. I helped my Mom-mom get a pug a few years ago and I swear the vet she uses see's $$ signs. Part of the annual vet exam is always an echo. Perfectly healthy young 3 year old dog does not need that every year!

 

I agree. Completely. Our vet has always been very understanding about keeping a balance between what is necessary for the dog and what is doable expense-wise for our family. Completely separate from financial concerns, we moved into "hospice mode" about 2 years ago with Gill due to extreme anxiety surrounding trips to the vet. When his leg became swollen and sore, we took him in. Otherwise, primarily comfort measures were provided. Thankfully he never had any major health concerns. I know this isn't an option for many, but it worked for us and kept costs down so we could splurge on house calls if necessary.

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I totally understand where you are coming from. I know in the future I will never be able to afford two dogs again. However I have always had a low interest credit card with a $5k limit on it that I wrote on with a sharpie "dog use only" to keep me honest. I also worked closely with my vet on medications and if they could/would match online prices. I also used the mobile vet clinic that would be held at PetCo for annual shots and heartworm tests (a little over 1/2 the cost that what the vet would charge). I am lucky enough that my vet's office is open 7 days a week and open late...so e-vets have been avoided.

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Yes, I can understand totally where you're coming from. Vets are charging more and passing it on to people who are even less able to pay than they were last year. What I do with any new dog I adopt is take out a good insurance policy that covers new illnesses. These policies aren't cheap (equivalent to $50 a month for a 'whole life' policy that doesn't reduce when they reach 10) and some say it's better to ring fence some funds for vet fees, but with even a broken leg coming to something like $1,000, I think it's money well spent.

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remember they need to pay for all that fancy equiptment that they have either bought or leased!

 

i agree w/ JAJ2010, ask and maybe look for an old fashioned good diagnostician. they may not be right 100% of the time, sometimes it can be trial and error playing it the "old way", but you won't go broke and can enjoy having dogs. you can also step in and out of a practice and get a second opinion when your gut tells you trial and error ain't going to work.

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Guest patterpaws

I'm in the same boat. I think Tristan will be our last dog. :sad1 He is worth every penny but his osteo bills are approaching 9k and we're not even done with chemo yet. :yikes

 

Maybe if we win the lotto, we'll adopt a few more!

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MyCody, with all yours years of experience you would be a perfect foster home if your group covers vet bills. You'd still have a greyhound in your life but with less personal expense.

 

Hada the podenco maneta, Georgie Girl (UMR Cordella), Lulu the podenco andaluz, Rita the podenco maneta, Howie the portuguese podengo maneto
Angels: Charlie the iggy,  Mazy (CBR Crazy Girl), Potato, my mystery ibizan girl, Allen (M's Pretty Boy), Percy (Fast But True), Mikey (Doray's Patuti), Pudge le mutt, Tessa the iggy, Possum (Apostle), Gracie (Dusty Lady), Harold (Slatex Harold), "Cousin" Simon our step-iggy, Little Dude the iggy ,Bandit (Bb Blue Jay), Niña the galgo, Wally (Allen Hogg), Thane (Pog Mo Thoine), Oliver (JJ Special Agent), Comet, & Rosie our original mutt.

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macoduck, what a greyt idea, unfortunately our RI track and the adoption program that went with it no longer exist. There is one in MA that I could look into. We always said we could never foster because we could never let the pup go but it would be better than never having another grey when Leah and JJ are gone.

 

 

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This may not be a popular view, but I try not to be on board with every test under the sun. I always ask what the test will show and will it effect the treatment plan, etc. Just because there have been all of these improvements in vet care does not mean it's all necessary. I helped my Mom-mom get a pug a few years ago and I swear the vet she uses see's $$ signs. Part of the annual vet exam is always an echo. Perfectly healthy young 3 year old dog does not need that every year!

I totally agree. Don't be afraid to ask "why" and "will this help us help her" etc. Sometimes you just have to say no.

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*nod* Even with the discounts I get because I work at a vet clinic, Wren and Symbra are our last hounds, at least for the foreseeable future. When they are gone, we'll need at least a few years to get our finances under control before we even consider adopting again.

Deanna with galgo Willow, greyhound Finn, and DH Brian
Remembering Marcus (11/16/93 - 11/16/05), Tyler (2/3/01 - 11/6/06), Frazzle (7/2/94 - 7/23/07), Carrie (5/8/96 - 2/24/09), Blitz (3/28/97 - 6/10/11), Symbra (12/30/02 - 7/16/13), Scarlett (10/10/02 - 08/31/13), Wren (5/25/01 - 5/19/14),  Rooster (3/7/07 - 8/28/18), Q (2008 - 8/31/19), and Momma Mia (2002 - 12/9/19).

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If your vet puts up road blocks or acts like your questioning a cost is a problem, then you might want to look into another vet. I think most "good" vets understand how hard it is to balance your feelings for your dog and the economics of having a pet, and they will work with you to a certain extent.

 

I'm not sure what's up with your two medically, but those costs seem very high. You might look into pet insurance, as several have suggested.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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Care Credit is wonderful - 0% interest for 180 days for vet bills. We also don't do every test available. Just because its available doesn't mean its necessary.

Laura with Celeste (ICU Celeste) and Galgos Beatrix and Encarna
The Horse - Gracie (MD Grace E)
Bridge Angels Faye Oops (Santa Fe Oops), Bonny (
Bonny Drive), Darcy (D's Zipperfoot)

 

 

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If your vet puts up road blocks or acts like your questioning a cost is a problem, then you might want to look into another vet. I think most "good" vets understand how hard it is to balance your feelings for your dog and the economics of having a pet, and they will work with you to a certain extent.

 

 

I found this so true with the vet I have now. I have him to thank that I still have Bruiser with me. The night we found the mass on his spleen I was quoted a starting price of $2500 for the splenectomy and that didn't count the nearly $600 fee I incurred that night. I brought Bruiser home that night and saw our regular vet first thing the next morning. I told him our situation and explained that I couldn't afford what the other vet had quoted knowing what the odds of survival were. He performed Bruiser's splenectomy the next day including taking x-rays and an ultrasound to check for metastases first, his recovery time and medicines after and the charge was equal to what I paid for his visit at the e-vet and all they did is take 2 x-rays and give him a shot for pain. He has also gone above and beyond in helping me with his chemo. I can't remember for sure, but I believe he got the chemo for me at his cost and has only charged me $30 each visit for bloodwork and settling up the i.v. catheter line. He never charged for the actual time it took him to administer it. He also helped me out with the gabepentin I needed for Nadir. The best price I had found was $16 for (120) 100mg capsules, which was a month's supply. That certainly was a very good price and very affordable, but when I told him he said to let him first check with his suppliers. He ordered it for me and gave it to me at his cost. He got me a bottle of (500) 100mg capsules for about $35.

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Medical costs are going up, in general. Partly because advances in human medical care drive changes in vet care. For example, most human doctors are switching over to digital x-rays. Which means less X-ray film is made, and it becomes more expensive. And at some point, the film makers just won't make it anymore, because the market is too small. At that point, the vets HAVE to switch to digital, because they can't get film. And that means buying new equipment, and that means passing the costs to their customers. (And, to be honest, digital x-rays are much nicer than film.)

 

Having said that, I do question costs and treatment plans more now than I used to. I have a cat who is 15 years old, and has a large mass in her liver. I did spring for ultrasound, which showed three large fluid-filled masses, and blood work, which showed that her liver levels are actually normal. The fee I was quoted for mass-reducing surgery was $4,500. And that's not a cure, just a palliative measure to take the pressure off her other organs. I am taking a wait and see approach, given her age and the fact that liver masses in cats are almost always a secondary site, not the origin. At the last check-up, I discussed whether we should repeat the blood tests, and my vet looked at me and said, "Either the results will come back bad, in which case I am going to recommend putting her on prednisone, or they will come back good, in which case I am still going to recommend putting her on prednisone." So we skipped them, and I now have prednisone, compounded into a gel so I can actually get her to take it. When I was younger, I might have gone for the surgery, and probably would have done the blood tests, just because I want to know. But now I am pickier about "will this actually make a difference in how I treat my animal?" If not, why spend the money?

 

I also have pet insurance for the dogs (the cats were too old to enroll). So far it seems to be working out good. We'll see in the future how things go.

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My blog about helping Katie learn to be a more normal dog: http://katies-journey-philospher77.blogspot.com/

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I went ahead and shelled out $720 for two biopsies and a culture for Silver last week. I hated doing it--spending that much for (maybe) a diagnosis, not even the treatment. But we went through at least three rounds of antibiotics and two rounds of prednisone for this problem last year and we never solved it. So, for a one-time expense and a chance to get a handle on this, I broke out the Care Credit card. If this doesn't solve the problem, we're done, I think. I'll try whatever antibiotics the vet suggests, but no more diagnostics (not that I think there's anything left for them to do).

 

I'm still climbing out of the $4,500 hole from Jacey's illness and death last year, and I've spent more on Silver in the last year than I've spent on any of my dogs in their first year. And Sam's still hanging in there: I get a good price on his meds, but there are just so many pills; I'm picking up a refill on something at least every other week.

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Kathy and Q (CRT Qadeer from Fuzzy's Cannon and CRT Bonnie) and
Jane (WW's Aunt Jane from Trent Lee and Aunt M); photos to come.

Missing Silver (5.19.2005-10.27.2016), Tigger (4.5.2007-3.18.2016),
darling Sam (5.10.2000-8.8.2013), Jacey-Kasey (5.19.2003-8.22.2011), and Oreo (1997-3.30.2006)

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Oh, I NEVER say "whatever he needs" to the vet. I'm sorry, but I am single, one modest income, a mortgage and a bunch of other things I have no choice but to pay for.

 

I take good care of George, make sure he gets all his preventive care and quality food and such, but I have no qualms about refusing expensive tests.

 

I took him to a specialist about his suspected LS. She explained the only SURE way to diagnose it was an MRI. That's over $2,000. I asked her what would be different if she SUSPECTED LS vs. she was sure (since there is no way in heck I'm subjecting a dog to spinal surgery, which is the only "cure" for LS), and she said, "Nothing." So I said, "Why would you even suggest an MRI then?" and she explained that some clients really do want to do "everything possible." But she totally supported my decision not to have the test done.

 

We are consumers at the vet, and we owe it to ourselves to be educated consumers, and smart ones, and ask questions. If you can afford the "anything he needs," great. If you can't, I don't think anyone should ever feel guilty about not spending money they don't have at the vet. If your animal is suffering, you do what you have to do to alleviate their suffering--which is not always to "fight" whatever the problem is.


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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Guest BrianRke

I have to agree with everyone here that vet expenses can get rather high. One thing I have done to keep them down is consult with the director of my group before running off the to vet. She has saved me hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, in vet bills. She knows more about diagnosing greyhounds than most vets do. Luckily, my vet will usually take my word for what I think I need. For example, I can tell when one of my dogs has a UTI so instead of taking them in and having tests done, I call and she gives me antibiotics.

 

If its anything serious, obviously I will take them in. Recently Frank had PD/PU(excessive drinking and urinating) and we ran EVERY test known to medicine. Turns out it was behavioral and nothing was really wrong. :dunno silly dog

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am i the only one out there whose vet says,"i don't want to send you to a specialist and spend unnecessary money. i want to keep the costs down."?

 

i personally left one internest who was testing me up the wazoo- traces of blood in my urine...after seeing a specialist and a costly sonogram the outcome..."it's a normal occurance". why wasn't another urine sample collected and tested first???? also, a echocaridogram- result- normal aging and wear and tear of the muscle at the valve....again costly tests. bp normal, pulse, normal basically i'm a healthy person and "they"(some drs) seem to be looking for ways to spend $$$ and run test...don't get me started

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Add me to the list of 'this is our last dog'. Jack is going to the vet today for his annual checkup, and I am dreading it, because of the expense. I also need to get Frontline, and his prescription food, and those two items alone will probably be at least $150. :( I suspect he may need a dental--hasn't had one since we adopted him almost three years ago--so we'll have several hundred in that.

 

It is better now that we are down to one dog, but it is still difficult, financially. We have lost three of our four pets in the past year--Rascal, Ruby, and our cat Daisy--which has been hard, but I do NOT miss the vet expenses.

Phoebe (Belle's Sweetpea) adopted 9/2/13.

Jack (BTR Captain Jack) 9/28/05--11/2/12
Always missing Buddy, Ruby, and Rascal.

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healthy paws: $250 cumulative annual deductible, with 90% reimbursement on all medical costs for illnesses and injuries, including diagnostics and medications, except for the vet fee and dental cleaning. no annual or lifetime caps. it costs $34/month for my 5-year-old. i paid for my entire annual premium two times over within a month of signing up. johnf mentioned a broken leg costing around $1000. around these parts, its more like $4000. to me, especially if you have a greyhound, this type of insurance is essential.

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My vet is great about not running up my bills with specialists. Unfortunately, that means Silver has suffered through a year of let's-try-this and let's-try-that before we tried the veterinary dermatologist ($$$). Turns out, it's a bacterial infection plus a fungal infection triggered by an allergic reaction, so antibiotics alone never would have worked, and narrowing down the drugs to be used couldn't have been done without the pricy biopsy.

15060353021_97558ce7da.jpg
Kathy and Q (CRT Qadeer from Fuzzy's Cannon and CRT Bonnie) and
Jane (WW's Aunt Jane from Trent Lee and Aunt M); photos to come.

Missing Silver (5.19.2005-10.27.2016), Tigger (4.5.2007-3.18.2016),
darling Sam (5.10.2000-8.8.2013), Jacey-Kasey (5.19.2003-8.22.2011), and Oreo (1997-3.30.2006)

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