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Fry

How far do you go with with medical costs?

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Wingman

Much in agreement with Mr. Sellers. Also with those who point out age of the dog is a factor, not just because of the use I might get out of a dog, but aggressive treatment that limits the quality of life for the dog for six or 8 months would be a lot to put an 11-year-old dog through. 

 

On the one hand, for every decision about medical cost for a dog you have some duty to take care of your dog. But a lot of people put dogs through a lot at the end partly because they just don't want the dog to go — I'm guessing that kind of over steering is at least as common as giving up too soon.

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terrym

My Brittany needed TPLO at 6yrs of age. Just as he was near recouperated he tore the other knee. With 2 kids in University I just didn't have the funds for another surgery nor did I want to put him through that again. He is now retired and relegated to pet duties only. The supplements have been fabulous and his quality of life other than no hunting seems near normal. If he would have been 2-3 years old only I may have borrowed the money but the vet warned me quite often the arthritis kicks in hard and I won't keep a dog alive if he's in daily pain. It's hard to do but logic needs to trump emotion. 

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gunsrus

I have a 15 yo GSP that was diagnosed with a tumor on his left lung last Oct . i'm assuming cancer but don't care to know .  The coughing is a little more frequent but he is fine . He loves eating ''delicious toppings'' . He was one of my best dogs ever . I owe him a lot but it's his time . 

A few years ago my other shorthair who was 14 and in excellent health suddenly had prostate issues . He couldn't pee . Family emotions took over and we all agreed to have his nuts removed to slow down the testosterone and possibly help him to start peeing again . We also had to take him to the vet twice daily to catherize him . After about a month we put him down . It was agonizing watching him struggle . not to mention the $$$$ , huge . Family agreed we went overboard and learned a lesson but if we didn't do what we did we would always wonder . 

Dogs are a part of the Family and only you can make the right decision for you .  

 

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bobman

the OP says the dog could live 10 more years, I would spend the money even if he wasn't yet a good hunter

 

put it on a credit card and cut somewhere else is my vote

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Dogwood
20 hours ago, Fry said:

 

 

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. 

 

 

Care to share what you've spent thus far and what the surgery estimate range is?

 

What did the vet say or do that made you feel like a monster?

 

What are your dog's current symptoms?

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Felix

I had the good fortune of having a brother who was a veterinarian. 30 years of dogs, no vet bills. That ended a couple of years ago when he retired.  Unfortunately, my last Brit started having a series of heath problems not too long after his retirement. I had grown closer to that dog, Morgen, than any of my previous ones. I ended up spending about $5K in the last year of her life. In hind site, I wish that I had made the call about a month and $1K sooner. Not for the money, I would have spent that and more if it would have given any amount of quality time. I held on to hope just a little too long and that last month was pretty tough on her.

 

So that's my background. The answer to the OP's question, how far would I go, is I don't know. Too many variables. I know that now that I'm more financially set, kids grown, house paid off, etc. it's a lot further than I would have ever thought. I think I'm getting soft in my old age.

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CountryLife

Ah, a very very difficult topic.  We got a Great Dane pup years ago and she ended up having "wobbler's disease" at less than year.  We sought different opinions from vets and at the time, only an experimental procedure was available starting at $5K.  My wife and I made the joint decision to put her down after watching her deterioate for 2 months and increasingly suffer in pain.  It was a horrible decision, but ultimately for me it came down to going into debt over a procedure that did not have a great success rate or selfishly watching the dog continue to suffer.  The worst part was that she didn't have a mean bone in her body.  The biggest sweetheart you could ever encounter.    

 

As mentioned, every family must make this decision independently based on your circumstances.

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Fry

Thanks for the replies.  Good conversations so far.

 

the dog has no symptoms, just a quill stuck in his stomach. The worry is if the quill is left in there and not touched it will either abscess and kill him shortly, or migrate somewhere and maybe kill him that way. 

 

The vet just seemed to be used to people emotionally spending money on their pets. When they said surgery might be needed we mentioned that we wouldn't be interested in that.  They said there "is no other option", in which we mentioned we would have to consider putting him down. They looked horrified, and made us feel guilty about not handing over a blank cheque. 

 

I'd rather not get into specifics about cost, but if we continued on the recommended path we'd be over $5000.  A $5000 porcupine!

 

We talked to our personal vet today and they can do the surgery for a lot cheaper than the city vet. 

Its past my limit but they are pretty confident that we do this and we are done.   

 

We had a lab that had lymphoma, I found that easy. Quality of life would suffer treated or not so when we saw the first sign of suffering we put her down. 

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Dogwood

Sounds as though you've sorted it well with a prudent course for a tricky problem.

 

In this day of multiple private specialty referral practices that can get VERY expensive quickly, it is absolutely CRUCIAL to have a seasoned primary veterinarian that you can trust to advise you as to whether a specialty consult is worthwhile or not so much. HUGE!

 

 Generally my approach is such that if I think the odds are REALLY good that a referral will facilitate a diagnosis AND successful treatment of a problem beyond my capabilities I encourage the owner's to consider a visit. Complex orthopedic injuries, fractures, difficult but correctable soft tissue surgeries fall in this category as an example.  Gonna be pricey yes but I've witnessed some extraordinary results.  Can't afford it period no worries we'll do the best we can.

 

If we're dealing with a list of likely problems that are very difficult to accurately diagnose let alone treat REALLY successfully then I'm not very enthusiastic.  Non-surgical cancers, severe hormonal problems, chronic vital organ/metabolic issues, really bad behavioral stuff, non-orthopedic neurological problems all come to mind.  An expensive way to go down the rabbit hole. I've seen it happen too often.  Lot's of expensive whiz-bang data and a still a poor prognosis for good results.

 

It's also dangerous to presume what a given owner would want so I ALWAYS at least mention referral as an option. Some clients really appreciate having every stone flipped over regardless of finances and have great satisfaction knowing they did so despite the cost.  Ironically it's the folks who can most afford a referral that scrutinize the cost benefit the most, and often decline.

 

Really it's not so different from how I advise folks to diagnose/treat the problems I can handle.

 

Oh, and a sense of guilt should NEVER enter into the equation and if it does I've done a poor job of communicating with said owner.  Period.

 

 

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Don Steese
11 hours ago, Fry said:

 

 

The vet just seemed to be used to people emotionally spending money on their pets. When they said surgery might be needed we mentioned that we wouldn't be interested in that.  They said there "is no other option", in which we mentioned we would have to consider putting him down. They looked horrified, and made us feel guilty about not handing over a blank cheque. 

 

 

 

 

I hate to say this but there are those vet practices who've become not much more than profit centers. They know, very well, how to prey on people's emotions. Fortunately most are not like that, quite the opposite, in fact. One must take these factors into account when dealing with pet care however.

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Curt
11 hours ago, Fry said:

 

 

I'd rather not get into specifics about cost, but if we continued on the recommended path we'd be over $5000.  A $5000 porcupine!

 

 

 

Isn't that ridiculous?  That's why I practice a no prisoners policy when it comes to porkies.

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Fry

The surgery went without a hitch today. He's resting and I'll pick him up tonight. 

Thanks for all the replies, nice to hear the different stories and opinions from everyone. Without anyone judging, pointing fingers or lecturing. Good group we have here. 

 

Our city isn't very big and the vet clinic isn't very large, and a lot of the special equipment to deal with this they don't have or is out dated. The vets are great though, the one we've used with this is more rural and also does large animals. She didn't bullshit and laid it all out in a good way. It didn't hurt that the surgery cost was $1500 cheaper here than the city. The city also required an ultrasound, fuel, hotel, follow up, etc. 

 

To answer my original question, I had a number in my head of $2000, not for this but kind of a in general, that's a starting point limit for one procedure of any of my dogs. 

 

Obviously quality of life is the main concern, in this case with this surgery done, in a months time he will be exactly the same. Now if we would have followed the specialists plan and wait for signs of abscess then surgery, that's pretty major. The wife is a nurse, has a pretty good handle on things, obviously not a doctor of dogs but she felt that a bowl resection and repairing an abscess would be too major and we weren't interested as it was too invasive of a procedure and too costly. 

With our vet just going in now, before an infection starts and pulling the quill is fairly routine. This results in less chance of complication and way lower cost.  

 

Now we've crossed my "threshold" of $2000, but It should be all taken care of and they've full inspected the intestines and insides for any other quills so we shouldn't have any other surprises. 

 

Also coming into play is that if we didn't do anything and he gets sick and has to get put down.  There is another expense we have to consider.  I'm not interested in shooting my own dog or burying him. 

 

Really in in the end I guess you are paying a guilt fee. It is whatever you can personally live with, as far as cost or lack of cost. 

Since I've had kids, dogs seemed way lower on the totem pole than before, I'm still emotionally attached but you have something to compare that attachment to, I guess. 

 

Im glad it's worked out, I figure I can live with the lack of money and a healthy dog than having a sick dog that I refused to do anything for, in this scenario.  

It was helpful to hear your guys input, thanks!

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Don Steese
4 hours ago, Curt said:

 

 

Isn't that ridiculous?  That's why I practice a no prisoners policy when it comes to porkies.

 

 

This may sound counterintuitive but I have a friend who's forgotten more about upland hunting than I'll ever learn, if I live to be 100, and he will not shoot a porkie when out with his dogs. He asserts that shooting them sends a message to your dogs that this animal is something you want them to hunt. Draw your own conclusions.

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Fry
13 minutes ago, Don Steese said:

 

 

This may sound counterintuitive but I have a friend who's forgotten more about upland hunting than I'll ever learn, if I live to be 100, and he will not shoot a porkie when out with his dogs. He asserts that shooting them sends a message to your dogs that this animal is something you want them to hunt. Draw your own conclusions.

 

I did the same thing, avoidance training, after that he just pointed them. I walked in and shot them. The more I shot the more he pointed and wouldn't leave point. So I started to get him to leave them and drag him off for the same reasons you mention. 

It actually did work. He'd still point but not as interested in them. We probably came across and left 30 porkies since then. 

 

I'm thinking this was a younger porky as the quills were shorter than ones I'm used to. I also believe it may have got stepped on. He was running faster than his nose on a few occasions that day and probably stepped on it and decided to get even. 

I can't think of another time when he has gotten quilled, he is usually pretty calm around them. 

Either way, lesson learned, I'm going to start shooting them again. It's not their fault they have a defence mechanism and they are the victim here, but all bets are off when it starts costing me money. 

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Curt
1 hour ago, Don Steese said:

 

 

This may sound counterintuitive but I have a friend who's forgotten more about upland hunting than I'll ever learn, if I live to be 100, and he will not shoot a porkie when out with his dogs. He asserts that shooting them sends a message to your dogs that this animal is something you want them to hunt. Draw your own conclusions.

I have no idea if your friend is right or wrong on that but I wouldn't just shoot them right in front of the dogs.  The way we've typically done it is to leash up the dog, lead him/her a reasonable distance away (50-75 yds) then the other hunter dispatches the porky.  Hasn't been a problem so far, maybe we've just been lucky.

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