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F....Animal Vets

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Old 06-02-2008, 10:20 AM   #1
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F....Animal Vets

I was going to title this thread how to lose $1,500 in half hour outside of Vegas; Answer go to a Vet.

I love my dogs a lot let me first say that. My wife is obsessed with the dogs. With that said the past two weeks my one dog has been throwing up once a day but acts normal otherwise. My wife takes him to the Vet (AKA Alarmist), where they say he has an enlarged spleen and heart, maybe. So off to the Pet ER (why these things are never discovered during office hours is beyond; tack on additional fees). Where he gets a bunch of ultrasounds that say he is fine and yes his heart and spleen are a bit oversized. He will need to take over the counter Zantac and they will be $1500 for the half hour testing. Oh and he also needs to come back for a GI scan, another $500. Not to mention he may need to go see a cardiovascular Vet about his heart.

So much money it is crazy. We just had a baby 7 weeks ago and now all this. Vet’s are just getting out of hand with the cost. I love my dogs but there is a point where you need to draw the line in the sand. The dog’s bills can’t take away from my son’s growth. If you are a dog owner someday you will face this same problem. It is gut wrench having to set a financial limit on dog that you love.

Now days a man can barely afford to have a child, home and a dog. Today’s economy is just horrible. I am starting to feel like the American dream is no longer attainable.
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Old 06-02-2008, 10:30 AM   #2
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Re: F....Animal Vets

Dude I feel you on this.

I've got a Miniature Schnauzer. She's 11 years old now. Great personality, playful when you want to play, cuddly when the wife wants to cuddle, mild-mannered with the kids, perfect dog. We love her, my wife is especially attached.

A few years ago she was peeing in the house frequently. We'd walk her and let her out all the time. But she'd stop to pee every 10 steps. Eventually she would strain to pee, and then eventually blood showed up in the urine.

She was clearly in pain so we took her to the vet. They did x-rays (which I was fine with) and they found bladder stones. They recommended surgery to remove the stones and a special diet to prevent them from forming again. The surgery was $600. It was costly, but I was even fine with that, because I can't let my dog deal with that much pain, ya know?

But then as the vet is listening to her heart, she says I hear a bit of a heart murmur. I think we should do an echocardiogram just to be sure the heart can handle the anestesia from the bladder surgery. So they got me all worried about her heart giving out, so we're like OK do the echo. Another $250.

Now everytime we take her in to get immunizations, her teeth cleaned, whatever, they ALWAYS say that we should do another echo to see if the murmur gets worse.

WHY? Are we going to do open heart surgery on my effing dog??? Even if her murmur is bad, we're not paying for a $4000 heart surgery. So I drew the line, I told them no more Echos, the murmur is what it is.

I think it's part of their business model. Tug at your heartstrings to get you to open your wallet.
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Old 06-02-2008, 10:50 AM   #3
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Re: F....Animal Vets

Thanks Schneed it is always nice to know someone else is walking on your same path in life.

I really don't think our normal vet is trying to make money off us, since most of the bills were added up at the ER Vet. I think some of it has something to do with CYA and lawsuits. It is up to us as pet owners to say when enough is enough. Which you have done.

My problem lies with my obessed wife over the dog. She simiply can not make that decision. She is going to need a intervention or something. The part that gets me the most is the dog is not in pain at all and now that he is taking the Zantac he is golden no throwing up. Enough with the testing.

I also agree with the heart. They want to check for a tumor, ok lets say he has one, there is nothing we can do. So why waste the money trying to find out something you can't do jack about. I would rather not know and see how long he goes. Ignorance is bliss in this case. Let me add they already said they saw no fluid around his heart (good sign) and he is in no pain.

It is madding!

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Old 06-02-2008, 11:05 AM   #4
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Re: F....Animal Vets

I guess you gotta know which places to go. My sister is a vet assistant and she told me she would never take our dogs or my cat (We have 2 dogs, and my cat) to where she works because they charge you 2-3 times what other places would. She says the place she takes our pets to only charge you for services rendered, like if an animal needs a shot, they'll charge you for that shot but they won't charge you for bringing the animal in to take a look at them, but where she works, they charge you 50 bucks just to bring her in and get her checked out, and then they pile on a bunch of fees, like "labor" for giving the pet a shot, in addition to all those other fees that bring the bill out to like 4-5 times what it would be at another place. She doesn't like working there either, because the owner is a greedy asshole who's bottom line is how much money is going into her pocket.
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:11 AM   #5
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Re: F....Animal Vets

There's a quick and easy solution... don't have pets.

Yes I know I'm being a jerk. But tell me I'm wrong.
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:17 AM   #6
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Re: F....Animal Vets

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Originally Posted by mredskins View Post
Thanks Schneed it is always nice to know someone else is walking on your same path in life.

I really don't think our normal vet is trying to make money off us, since most of the bills were added up at the ER Vet. I think some of it has something to do with CYA and lawsuits. It is up to us as pet owners to say when enough is enough. Which you have done.

My problem lies with my obessed wife over the dog. She simiply can not make that decision. She is going to need a intervention or something. The part that gets me the most is the dog is not in pain at all and now that he is taking the Zantac he is golden no throwing up. Enough with the testing.

I also agree with the heart. They want to check for a tumor, ok lets say he has one, there is nothing we can do. So why waste the money trying to find out something you can't do jack about. I would rather not know and see how long he goes. Ignorance is bliss in this case. Let me add they already said they saw no fluid around his heart (good sign) and he is in no pain.

It is madding!
I think you're right about CYA and lawsuits. They want to make sure they don't leave themselves exposed to a big suit. Sign of the times I guess.

You talked about the American Dream getting harder to attain, that CYA mindset is a big reason why. So many people suing for huge payouts has resulted in medical professionals (vets or otherwise) doing all they can to avoid a lawsuit.

Also, my wife also has a very hard time separating her emotional attachment to the dog from the medical decisions. I've taken the tactic of insisting that we sleep on medical decisions for the dog. We'll be in the vet's office, and the vet will make my wife all worried, and before you know it my wife will be agreeing to every test known to man. When she sleeps on it a few days, she gets the chance to cool those emotions down and then I can actually get through to her with a logical argument. That's when I ask her "Why do an echo on a heart that we're not going to fix anyway?" Once the emotions calm down a little bit, she's a little easier to get through to.

Doesn't always work, but you could try it! After all, what's the harm in waiting a few days if you end up deciding to do the tests anyway?
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:17 AM   #7
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Re: F....Animal Vets

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Originally Posted by Mattyk72 View Post
There's a quick and easy solution... don't have pets.

Yes I know I'm being a jerk. But tell me I'm wrong.

Right now I am mad and venting but if I pull back and look at what that dog has given back to me $1500 - $2000 is nothing for that kind of happiness.

Pets are no sweat compared to kids. My first is seven weeks old and has been nothing but work since day one but to seem him simle or do anything it is all worth it.

Most of the best things in life also require at times sweat, blood, and tears but it all worth it!
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:19 AM   #8
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Re: F....Animal Vets

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Originally Posted by mredskins View Post
Right now I am mad and venting but if I pull back and look at what that dog has given back to me $1500 - $2000 is nothing for that kind of happiness.

Pets are no sweat compared to kids. My first is seven weeks old and has been nothing but work since day one but to seem him simle or do anything it is all worth it.

Most of the best things in life also require at times sweat, blood, and tears but it all worth it!
I know, I'm just sayin'
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:19 AM   #9
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Re: F....Animal Vets

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattyk72 View Post
There's a quick and easy solution... don't have pets.

Yes I know I'm being a jerk. But tell me I'm wrong.
LOL

It would be simpler, that's for sure. At some point, that is exactly the decision you have to make when the medical bills get too costly. Let's say your dog gets cancer. Really, your choices are pay $3000 for cancer treatments, or not to have a dog anymore (put him down).

It's a labor of love. And the cost is definitely worth it... up to a point.
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:26 AM   #10
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Re: F....Animal Vets

S10 thanks for all your comments today. You definitley gave me some hope!
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:49 AM   #11
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Re: F....Animal Vets

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Originally Posted by Schneed10 View Post
LOL

It would be simpler, that's for sure. At some point, that is exactly the decision you have to make when the medical bills get too costly. Let's say your dog gets cancer. Really, your choices are pay $3000 for cancer treatments, or not to have a dog anymore (put him down).

It's a labor of love. And the cost is definitely worth it... up to a point.
That's the truth but it hurts just as much as losing a loved one. I had a black lab for about 8 years, up until August of 05, and he contracted heart and lung cancer and we had to put him down because there was no way my family could afford the payments that it would've cost to keep him alive. That's the price you have to pay in the end.
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:58 AM   #12
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Re: F....Animal Vets

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S10 thanks for all your comments today. You definitley gave me some hope!
Sadly, you are not the only one that will be ??????? foolish enough to lay some real $$$ down for your pet.........or famliy member. They do become more like family members. We paid to have a hip problem (much pain for the dog) corrected last year for one of our dogs. It was definately a good decision as the dog brings much joy to my wife (and more to me than I like to admit).
Had it were 5k, she would have to be put down. HOWEVER, we would grieve her passing like......a family member
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Old 06-02-2008, 12:06 PM   #13
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Re: F....Animal Vets

Back in the 80's all a vet did was look at your dog and could make a few suggestions. In todays world they can now run test after test with expensive equipment just like doctors do for people. The tough part now is with all this new equipment and testing where do you draw the line "$". Before it was pretty simple either let the pet suffer or put them to sleep. I'm sure their are vets which take advantage of people.
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Old 06-02-2008, 12:20 PM   #14
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Re: F....Animal Vets

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

Okay, in all seriousness deciding that it is too costly to keep treating a pet is one of the hardest decisions to make. My family was forced to do that with our 13 year old yellow lab a few years ago and it was like saying that we weren't going to pay for cancer treatments for a family member.
You also have to take into account what spending all that money will do for your pet. We decided that trying to literally buy our 13 year old dog another couple of months or maybe a year or two just wasn't worth it, especially since his quality of life wouldn't significantly improve.

As far as just deciding to not have a pet, I suppose that is the easiest course of action, but I think for some people you just don't feel right without having a pet around. I grew up with dogs and cats (I could have done without the cats) and I hate not having a dog right now. I don't have one because I know that it would be tough to care for a dog by myself, especially since I live in the city, but I do hope to get one in the next few years.
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Old 06-02-2008, 01:08 PM   #15
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Re: F....Animal Vets

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.
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