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Fry

How far do you go with with medical costs?

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Fry

Speaking in hypotheticals, if you have a average dog, how far do you let the bills rack up before you put them down, where do you draw the line?

 

I'm not talking a HOF, once in a lifetime dog either, just average hunting hound 1/2 working dog, 1/2 pet. 

 

Also not palliative care for a terminal disease or anything. More along the lines of hip replacements, or knee surgery, or stuff along those lines. 

 

When it it comes to the dog, no expense spared, spend till it's fixed or do you have a limit and past that if the dog suffers you put them down, or if the injury/surgery affects performance, etc..

 

I know some people that would just shoot a dog before taking it to a vet and others that would re-mortgage their house to get fluffy physiotherapy. 

 

Sticking with hypotheticals, anyone deal with a dog that tried to eat a porcupine and had quills stuck in his stomach?

Ive spent a good chunk of money having vets go fishing but there's one still stuck. Waiting for a week to ultrasound and if it looks bad then they want to do surgery. The starting price on the surgery is pretty high. 

The vet thought I was a monster for suggesting maybe putting the dog down if surgery is the only option. 

Either way he's not going to suffer.

 

I'm just struggling with this currently and have a week to come to terms with my decision if it looks bad. Maybe in a week I'll think I was a monster too, and throw buckets of cash at the vet if need be. 

 

One hand it might be a one and done, do the surgery and he's good for the next 10 years, or the surgery doesn't go well, or there's more quills further down the line that can't be seen that will just kill him anyway, or multiple other scenarios/complications..

 

stories, anecdotes, and tales of your own experiences would be great. 

Thanks. 

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MTPipeliner

I don't have a set limit in mind, but there would definately be a dollar amount that is too high, I would say that limit decreases as the dog gets old, I don't see myself spending large sums of money to extend the life of a dog by a few months or a year.  

 

With that said, on my first hunting dog, I spent more in the first two years than I ever expected to.  In addition to the regular vet stuff she had allergies, skin issues, bladder infections, and blew out both back knees and had surgery to fix them both.  All told it was more than a few thousand dollars, but each issue came up one at a time so I wasn't faced with a lump sum and a decision based on that sum, it was a incremental costs and decisions.  

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forestdump

If you have a reckless (see dumb) dog. Pets Best insurance really pays for itself. An unlimited annual coverage with 10/90 split runs me $50 a month. 

 

That being said, an older dog 10 years + or a dog that isn't likely to recover even after all the surgery and medication I would have to make the tough decision. 

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Brad Eden

Good questions. Thankfully most of my dogs remained relatively healthy until old age. The exception was my Golden who developed an enlarged heart and subsequent lung issues as a result. He was probably 8 or 9 when this manifested itself. Not real old. The vet put him on pricey human heart medication. I had to go to the pharmacy for it. He was also on a couple lung meds. In retrospect I'm glad we kept him comfortable for a couple years despite the cost, but he was miserable the last couple/few and we didnt put him down more for us than him. I should have let him go sooner. 

 

Other than that, whenever I am met with a possible surgery (had one go through extensive lipoma removal surgeries) or a diagnosis of an incurable disease, I use the dogs age as a gauge. If past 9 or so my decision not to go to extreme measures financially or medically is easier. And I am not made of money so unlike some people, there is a limit to how much I CAN pay for a dogs medical treatment. And frankly that's nobodies business nor is it appropriate for anybody to make you feel like a monster here on this Board or at a vets office. It's your personal decision, based on your particular circumstances. IMO

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studdog

My experience with five dogs is that most of us keep them going longer than we should.  As to expenses,  That's a very individual decision but should be guided by the quality of life assessment.

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bmeador

No matter what your decision is, it is YOUR  (and your family's) decision. Your financial situation is different from mine and it doesn't really matter.  I have the problem of trying to hang on too long for my own selfish reasons!  I've spent quite a bit in relation to my take home pay and it gave my dog 22 months after a nasty bout with cancer. Stitches from sternum to pelvis. I would not repeat that surgery.  There is no one answer for this question - and there is no wrong answer either.  You have to decide what is right for you and go with it.  I've had to make that decision quite a few times and with a string of 6 dogs right now, will undoubtedly have to do it in the future.

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NW River Mac

Wow, that's a tough question...  I had an above average dog that got cancer at six years old. Big tumor was removed for under $400.  They wanted to have lab work done and do chemo and all that.  I felt I gave her a fair shot with having the tumor removed but wasn't going to spend another $1000 on treatments that would have given her another few years.  The tumor came back within 9 months.  We kept her comfortable until we put her down.

 

I had another dog that was seven that needed similar treatments and never gave him the chance because he couldn't hunt for beans.  He wasn't worth it to me.   I just came back from the vet's yesterday with a beagle bitch that's won a couple of trials and placed in a couple.  She came up very lame putting no weight on her rf leg.  The first thing I did after palpating and checking for the obvious was make a determination of her worth/value to me (replacement value).  For this dog I set a $1000 limit before I would start thinking how much further I would go. 

 

To me she has more value than an average bird dog because she is real good.  I can hunt her for six months out of the year because the season is so long and therefore I get more field time out of her.  More field time equals more fun which equals more value which would equal more dollars spent to keep her.  

 

If I had close to a thousand dollars into your dog I probable would call it quits.  Currently I have four dogs, two goats and some chickens so I feel pressure to keep vet costs down.

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JK SE PA

That's a tough one.  Last spring we spent a good chunk of money on our pointer, only to find out that it was cancer that ailed her.  So basically, I spent a lot of money to find out that I had to put her down.  Her loss still bothers me, although it's less painful.  I would spend the money again, but only because she was young and had a very promising life ahead of her.  In the end we opted to let her go as opposed to prolonging it through treatments that ultimately probably wouldn't do more than let her hang on for a little longer.  She was a very vibrant, animated animal, full of life and go and I couldn't imagine watching her limp along for months or a couple of years instead of hitting everyday in the apple sack and living at full speed like she did when she was well.

I don't think anyone really has the right to judge you.  It's a painful and personal decision and it's unfortunately yours to make.  

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bennelli-banger

          Age of the dog definitely comes into play for me.  Above 8-9, I would be reluctant to spend more than 3k, +/-.  But, It is theoretical at this point, I may behave differently in a real life situation.

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Dick Sellers

It's always going to be a tough call for me.  Several issues to balance.  Probably the most important to me is what will be the dog's quality of life and extended time enjoying its life after the treatment.  Also in the equation is what are the odds the procedure will be completely successful.  To spend more than $1000, I'd have to be pretty confident that the dog would have a near full quality of life for several years. 

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Larry Brown

After having a pretty long run of good luck with dogs, I had 2 in a row that set me back into the low 5 figure range:  Blown ACL on a Brittany, turned out he also had a herniated diaphragm.  When they told us the latter, I figured that was the end of him.  "No, we can fix that."  The next year, one of those evil weed seeds migrated in one of my shorthairs.  Pyothorax.  They had to open her up from stem to stern and clean her out.  Both done at Iowa State University.  Miracle workers.  But when they say "we can fix that", always good to ask how much.

 

With the Britt, a couple years after his surgery, looked like the other leg was going.  By then he was 9.  He had atrial fib from his previous problems (although he astounded the one vet who told us we shouldn't hunt him--he did that just fine).  Between the heart and age, would not have put him through that.  He was a tough guy, and I would have let him hunt as much and as well as he could with one bad leg.  Never found out.  We always figured his heart would take him, but his kidneys failed at the start of that season.  We got two good seasons out of him after the ACL/herniated diaphragm repair.

 

We also pulled our setter through blastomycosis.  Very expensive medicine, but no surgery involved.

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Curt

That's a difficult thing and very personal as well, naturally it depends on each individuals circumstances.  Problem is that by the time you find out you have an expensive problem ahead of you it's likely that your emotions are deeply involved also.

I have a six year old male brit that will never hunt again due to masticatory muscle myositis.  I've had him since he was eight weeks old, and he was diagnosed at about four years old.  He was a pretty decent bird hunter prior to that and we had high hopes for him.  The day he was diagnosed the vet bill was just under $3500. for MRI, tests, etc.  We've spent thousands more on him since on related health issues.

 

I grew up on a farm back in the 50's & 60's and if that situation had raised it's head in those days that dog would have taken a walk out behind the barn with the 30-30 before he cost the family any real money.  These days it's different somehow, probably because the wife loves him as she does every dog we've ever had and age has softened my attitude about these things.  I guess there are things more important than the money.

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Randy S

I've yet to be confronted with the "too young to go" scenario, but my Lab came up lame at 7yrs.. I'm fortunate to have a vet that's known me for a long time. His advice was to just keep hunting her and buy a pup right away. He said, "Bo's in no pain and surgery will be expensive. So just give her a beak alternating with another dog, and then a good life when she can't hunt anymore. That leg isn't going to kill her."  

 

I really like my vet. I think Chaos, my 4 month old Springer, is happy for his advice too. 

 

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Virgil Kane

I had a growth removed from my FB's elbow last October. Bill was $1800 (ouch !) but my FB was only 6 and just an average hunter but a loved family pet.  While I thought that was a lot of money what did make it a bit easier was something that the vet's office informed  us about was Care Credit.  Not only is this credit good for vet bills but can be used by people to for many things.  Made paying a lot easier by splitting up the payments. If interested you can find information here.

 

https://www.carecredit.com/

 

How much you would spend to save your dog is a personal decision only you can answer.  Age of the dog has a lot to do with money spent but quality of life for the dog would in my opinion would trump that.  This is a question that only you can answer.

 

 

Virgil 

 

 

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Clueless1

As my older one pushes ten now, I have a calculation in my head.  I am hoping my calculation jives with my wifes calculation.  I will not discuss it with her until needed, and then probably watch her write a check for double or triple what I thought.

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