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F....Animal Vets

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Old 06-02-2008, 12:45 PM   #16
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Re: F....Animal Vets

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Trust me, I know this one by heart.

I have had two dogs die in the past 4 years. Both young, both expensive. Add in the 12 year old lab who requires $50-60 in meds each month for his dysplasia and we’re talking real money.

Abby had epilepsy and always had her worst seizures on off hours (of course). We took her to the Pet ER who gave her a shot and then would insist on her staying the night for monitoring. We did this once, at tremendous expense. After that we spoke to our regular vet who gave us an epi-pen for dogs so that we could administer the shot. We had to do this several times and our vet kept supplying us with the pens at minimal cost. On occasion, when she would have truly bad strokes, we would take her to the Pet ER and after they calmed her, take her home. In doing so, the Pet ER people made us sign a waiver that, essentially, said “We are horrible parents, if the dog dies it’s all our fault. We were warned but chose to ignore the warning.” I know it’s a disclaimer for the purposes of CYA as Schneed10 said, but, damn, they do their best to make you feel like crap sometimes.

Abby got cancer and died after some expensive tests and medication. She was six.

Then there was Bronwyn who died this past Christmas.

She was a sweet and beautiful puppy who led a short and hard life. In doing so, unlike many humans, she never complained, loved us with her last breath and was my son’s best playmate and protector.

She was a crazy happy puppy who wanted to play all the time. One day in April '07, she bolted out our front door and ran down the block and across the avenue to “her” field. She was only 7 months old and we were still working on obedience training. She simply was not responsive to my calls as her desire to play outweighed her desire to obey. She ran right in front of a car and was hit. Broke her back, fractured her skull, broke a femur and lost all the ligaments and tendons in a rear ankle. She spent 2 weeks in Pet ER (Do the math on that one!) and spent another six weeks, essentially, crated at home. Over that time, we had to change her bandage 3-4 times a day where the skin, tendons and ligaments had been ripped away to avoid infection and take her to the vet 3 times a week. Unbelievably, she made a full recovery with only a slight limp in her ankle. We called her the “Miracle Dog”. In September, she went to the beach with us and was swimming in the surf. The total cost of the treatment was in the neighborhood of 6-7K.

Then Christmas came and we went away for a couple days. When we came back, Bronwyn was clearly not well. We waited through the night to take her the vet. The tests came back very bad. She had an auto-immune disease called IMHA. Her red blood cell count was low and falling fast. Our vet told us to take her to the Pet ER for monitoring. 48 hours and two blood transfusions later, she died in the middle of the night (a kindly neighbor came over at 2:00 a.m. to sit with our kids while we went to be with her).

On the night she was to die, my wife and I were leaving around 11:00 pm. to visit her. As we were getting ready to leave, my four-year old son comes to me, sits in my lap, and whispers so only I could hear him - “Dad, please don’t let Bronwyn die.” It was the innocent plea of a child who still thinks: “Dad can do anything”. All I could say was “I’ll try son, I’ll try.” -- In all my life, I have never felt so powerless as that moment.

Bronwyn died 4 hours later. Did I mention I felt powerless?

Although her time with us was brief, Bronwyn left an indelible mark on our hearts. For all her troubles, she never slowed down. For her, regardless of the pain and suffering, life was about joy. She had no concept of bitterness or anger at her circumstances. Rather, at every stage and until the very end, she showed us that each moment of life is to be enjoyed no matter the trials faced.

In her short life, Bronwyn cost us well over 10K. My wife and I constantly stressed over money and, now, as we face tuition bills, we worry and punish ourselves with our choices. In the end, however, while I wish it had not been so costly, I would do it all again and my only regret is that Bronwyn is no longer with us.
JR, nice post. Knowing that you'd do it all over again definitely provides comfort that you made the right decision. Not only that, but you can feel comforted by the fact that you did everything you could to take care of your dogs. In the process, you probably taught your kids a valuable lesson without even realizing it: you don't quit on family, you stick by them and you care for them when they need you.
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Old 06-02-2008, 12:47 PM   #17
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Re: F....Animal Vets

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Who's up for starting an insurance company for pets with me? We'd make millions!!!

Actually there is pet insurance, but coverage ends before the dogs get old enough to need it plus if the dog has a preexisting condition, you can't get covered.


It's basically useless. I looked into it because of how vets empty your bank accounts for tests...but if the dog won't be covered when it's older, there's no point.

My dog is 5 1/2 and hasn't had a single health issue, just a few broken toenails from ice or getting snagged on carpet while playing that needed to be cleaned up and wrapped up. So if I had the insurance, the premiums I paid would be for nothing.
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Old 06-02-2008, 01:07 PM   #18
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Re: F....Animal Vets

I'm with Matty. I've never had a pet because I'm too cognizant of an animals life expectancy. I can however empathize with pet owners dealing with high vet bills. My wife buried her 16 year old yellow lab, much like AMD's story, a few years ago. The whole family was emotionally tore up over this loss.

Currently we have a cat, inherited with the marriage, that has an upper respiratory infection. The vet recommends taking him to have his nose checked out with a scope and possibly surgically removing whatever is causing the infection: pollup, foreign matter, etc. Approximate bill = $1500. It's hard deciding the best course of action when the bill gets to a certain number. I think I'd be okay if the cost were ~$500, maybe $750 but once we get into the $1,000 range you're talking real money.
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Old 06-02-2008, 01:37 PM   #19
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Re: F....Animal Vets

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Originally Posted by Schneed10 View Post
JR, nice post. Knowing that you'd do it all over again definitely provides comfort at you made the right decision. Not only that, but you can feel comforted by the fact that you did everything you could to take care of your dogs. In the process, you probably taught your kids a valuable lesson without even realizing it: you don't quit on family, you stick by them and you care for them when they need you.
I agree with all that, but..............I WILL EVER read another post by JoeR, that even COULD BE on an emotional level!!! It took me 20 minutes to stop crying long enough to respond. What next, a story from your childhood, fearturing Ol' Yeller??????
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Old 06-02-2008, 01:52 PM   #20
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Re: F....Animal Vets

JR thanks for sharing your story. It proves my theory someone always has it tougher.
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Old 06-02-2008, 02:18 PM   #21
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Re: F....Animal Vets

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JR thanks for sharing your story. It proves my theory someone always has it tougher.
Well, I wasn't trying to "one up you". Just letting you know that, as a fellow pet lover, I understand both the difficult choices we must face at times and the wonderful rewards that our four-legged friends bring us.

For as much as we treat them like family, are pets aren't human and, at times, the real needs of our human family will force us into horrible Hobbesian choices. The pain at those times can be visceral.

[Stop reading now Hog1] On the other hand, as Schneed10 said, my son did learn a hard but sweet lesson. One of Bronwyn's favorite things to do was stick her head and paws into the bathtub while Aidan (my son) was getting his bath. Shortly after Bronwyn's death, my wife was giving Aidan a bath and, while doing so, had a "Bronwyn Moment". Aidan asked her why she was crying and my wife said that she just missed Bronwyn. My son reached out, took his mother's hand and, with the conviction of a comforting sage, said "Mom, it's okay, as long as she's in our hearts and minds, Bronwyn will always be with us." I thought that was some pretty intense thinking for a four year old.

My wife, however, completely lost it.
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Old 06-02-2008, 02:19 PM   #22
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Re: F....Animal Vets

BTW - My user CP has a picture of me and Bronwyn for those interested.
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Old 06-02-2008, 03:01 PM   #23
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Re: F....Animal Vets

I spent $80 dollars at the vet Saturday because apparently my new beagle is a drama queen.

Sadie was flying around the back yard, excited that my husband was home. She then stops, lets out this blood curdling howl and raises her paw up. OMG... the howls coming out of that dog when you'd try to touch her paw were deafening. I tell my husband he'll have to take her to the vet because it might be broken.

Long story short... She comes trotting out of the exam room after 10 minutes as happy as can be. She's fine. There's nothing wrong with her paw other than she may have stepped on something weird. Then the vet basically tells my husband that beagles are pretty much big babies and there's nothing to worry about. So Sadie spends the rest of her visit schmoozing with the staff and getting her picture taken.

I basically spent $80 for a stubbed toe and a kodak moment. Nice.
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Old 06-02-2008, 03:27 PM   #24
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Re: F....Animal Vets

$80 that doesn't even cover the tax on my bill.
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Old 06-02-2008, 05:06 PM   #25
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Re: F....Animal Vets

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$80 that doesn't even cover the tax on my bill.
My husband and I thought it was more humorous than anything. We pretty much felt like our dog played us. Now we know to wait a bit before hitting the panic button when she goes into drama mode.

I know too well the cost of maintaining a physically ill pet. I had to put down my 12 year old cocker spaniel last September. Unfortunately, cockers have a lot of problems that are inherent to the breed. Cancer, skin tumors, deafness and blindness finally got the best of him. He had three major surgeries over his lifetime and we probably spent over $2000 just to have benign tumors and skin growths removed every so often. He also suffered from terrible ear infections which a former vet never properly treated him for. Factor in his general vet care over the course of 12+ years and that's quite a chunk.

Would I do it all over again? You betcha. Would I ever have another cocker spaniel again? No way.
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Old 06-02-2008, 06:54 PM   #26
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Re: F....Animal Vets

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My husband and I thought it was more humorous than anything. We pretty much felt like our dog played us. Now we know to wait a bit before hitting the panic button when she goes into drama mode.

I know too well the cost of maintaining a physically ill pet. I had to put down my 12 year old cocker spaniel last September. Unfortunately, cockers have a lot of problems that are inherent to the breed. Cancer, skin tumors, deafness and blindness finally got the best of him. He had three major surgeries over his lifetime and we probably spent over $2000 just to have benign tumors and skin growths removed every so often. He also suffered from terrible ear infections which a former vet never properly treated him for. Factor in his general vet care over the course of 12+ years and that's quite a chunk.

Would I do it all over again? You betcha. Would I ever have another cocker spaniel again? No way.
Each breed of dogs are prone to a whole mess of different inherent problems.

I've even seen a pug that a guy had thrown thousands of dollars into so it could have multiple back surgeries. And the dog hadn't even reached 8 years old yet.

I think there are a few steady breeds that, when they get older, won't be a complete mess. Labs, golden retrievers, boxers and big working group dogs (Dobermans, Sheepdogs, Newfies, Rottweilers) tend to hold up very well so long as you keep them in shape and don't overfeed them.

I've never owned a dog, but I've worked with them for over 2 years and I can understand that bond between people and their pets. It's just like having a kid (to a point). If your dog needs something, I can understand an owner pouring almost as much money necessary into making sure it gets good treatment.

But I do think vets gouge on what they wanna do for pet owners. I know a dog that is on medication for separation anxiety. Come on... Is that really worth medicating your dog over? I can see if he's just freaking out and biting people when he's away from his owner or something.. But I really don't think it's worth spending money on a dog for medication for separation anxiety. Maybe it is? I just don't understand it myself.
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Old 06-02-2008, 07:27 PM   #27
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Re: F....Animal Vets

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Each breed of dogs are prone to a whole mess of different inherent problems.

I've even seen a pug that a guy had thrown thousands of dollars into so it could have multiple back surgeries. And the dog hadn't even reached 8 years old yet.

I think there are a few steady breeds that, when they get older, won't be a complete mess. Labs, golden retrievers, boxers and big working group dogs (Dobermans, Sheepdogs, Newfies, Rottweilers) tend to hold up very well so long as you keep them in shape and don't overfeed them.

I've never owned a dog, but I've worked with them for over 2 years and I can understand that bond between people and their pets. It's just like having a kid (to a point). If your dog needs something, I can understand an owner pouring almost as much money necessary into making sure it gets good treatment.

But I do think vets gouge on what they wanna do for pet owners. I know a dog that is on medication for separation anxiety. Come on... Is that really worth medicating your dog over? I can see if he's just freaking out and biting people when he's away from his owner or something.. But I really don't think it's worth spending money on a dog for medication for separation anxiety. Maybe it is? I just don't understand it myself.
True, but I think there are certain breeds that suffer from chronic health issues that can't be corrected through surgery or a series of treatments. They have ongoing issues that over the course of their life results in higher medical costs. While one breed might be prone to one issue, another breed can be prone to five different ones.

We once asked our vet's staff what breed of dog would they recommend to someone. Their response was that they could tell us what breed they definately wouldn't recommend... cocker spaniels. Unfortunately their temperaments are often poor and they can be very expensive to care for because of their medical and grooming costs. I tend to agree.
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Old 06-02-2008, 08:50 PM   #28
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Re: F....Animal Vets

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Originally Posted by Lady Brave View Post
I spent $80 dollars at the vet Saturday because apparently my new beagle is a drama queen.

Sadie was flying around the back yard, excited that my husband was home. She then stops, lets out this blood curdling howl and raises her paw up. OMG... the howls coming out of that dog when you'd try to touch her paw were deafening. I tell my husband he'll have to take her to the vet because it might be broken.

Long story short... She comes trotting out of the exam room after 10 minutes as happy as can be. She's fine. There's nothing wrong with her paw other than she may have stepped on something weird. Then the vet basically tells my husband that beagles are pretty much big babies and there's nothing to worry about. So Sadie spends the rest of her visit schmoozing with the staff and getting her picture taken.

I basically spent $80 for a stubbed toe and a kodak moment. Nice.
Get used to it. Beagles are serious emotional wrecks. We now have a hound/lab mix that is even worse.

I'd ignore it but she almost died about a month ago when she and our middle dog were playing and the older dog's jaw got caught in her collar and almost strangled her. Luckily I was right there and was able to get her undone but not before she was deprived of oxygen for a good minute. After that she stood up, crapped and passed out. Serious life changing momoent for the pup. Same for me. She was literally dying in my arms as I tried to untangled them. I ended up worse probably than her with all the cuts and scratches I got and a $400 midnight visit to the ER vet.
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Old 06-02-2008, 08:56 PM   #29
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Re: F....Animal Vets

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True, but I think there are certain breeds that suffer from chronic health issues that can't be corrected through surgery or a series of treatments. They have ongoing issues that over the course of their life results in higher medical costs. While one breed might be prone to one issue, another breed can be prone to five different ones.

We once asked our vet's staff what breed of dog would they recommend to someone. Their response was that they could tell us what breed they definately wouldn't recommend... cocker spaniels. Unfortunately their temperaments are often poor and they can be very expensive to care for because of their medical and grooming costs. I tend to agree.
Pure breeds in general have shorter life expectancies and higher maintenance costs because their lack of interbreeding really never lets nature take it course. Mixed dogs generally get the bad traits bred out and live longer while pure breds just pass the crappy hips and so forth from one generation to the next without the bad traits ever getting "natural selectioned" out.
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Old 06-02-2008, 09:49 PM   #30
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Re: F....Animal Vets

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Get used to it. Beagles are serious emotional wrecks. We now have a hound/lab mix that is even worse.

I'd ignore it but she almost died about a month ago when she and our middle dog were playing and the older dog's jaw got caught in her collar and almost strangled her. Luckily I was right there and was able to get her undone but not before she was deprived of oxygen for a good minute. After that she stood up, crapped and passed out. Serious life changing momoent for the pup. Same for me. She was literally dying in my arms as I tried to untangled them. I ended up worse probably than her with all the cuts and scratches I got and a $400 midnight visit to the ER vet.
Glad she's ok. Does she act any differently now since the incident?

Sadie has a few issues (timid around men, hates thunderstorms), but she's a very good dog. She's really laid back and quiet most of the time. She only gets excited when we come home. I was so worried I would end up with a chronic howler.

One thing I've noticed is that she is starting to shy away when we have several people around or the neighbors bring their dogs over. She loves the neighbors dogs and she'll be fine for awhile, then I'll find her off in a corner of the yard somewhere by herself. I just find that odd since beagles are bred to be part of a hunting pack and really don't enjoy being by themselves. She's like our little wallflower now. I'm just wondering if she would do better if we got another dog.
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