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Fry

How far do you go with with medical costs?

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Dogwood
3 hours ago, Fry said:

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!

 

So do I understand correctly that the surgery cost around $3500 at your local vet?  PM if you want.

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PartridgeCartridge

This is an interesting and compelling topic.

 

I was thinking about it from a dog's perspective. Given their unconditional love and dedication to us... and if they could reason and talk to us...It would be interesting to hear their response as to "how far would they go".

 

I suspect the answer would be to any length they could even if they had to mortgage the kennel.

 

But the reality of it is that only you can make that decision. And if it offers you any solace, there is no wrong answer. If your bond is like most of ours, you do the best you can within your financial and emotional capabilities. Our bond with these critters is as old as fire. That, in and of itself, makes decisions like this very hard to reconcile emotionally.

 

Good luck with your little buddy and I hope whatever decision you make gives you some peace of mind.

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ThreeDogs

Depends on the dog....I know that's brutal but true. I think $5-$7k would kinda be my tops if thenproceedure was iffy like a blocked bowel.

 

If the peoceedure was a high likelihood thing there would be a top but I'm not sure what it would be.

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gunsrus

I've related my stories with my older dogs . Here's another , I have a 9 year old Setter , Zack , who three years ago came out of the woods limping . When it was all said and done , he had a luxating Patellar . To me , he is the best dog I've ever had or have hunted behind . Thanks to this board , hunshatt and the drummers stump . I bought him finished when my two GSP's came up lame one August . He won the Flanagan Award in 2010 , prior to my buying him . 

I did an extensive search for surgeons and settled with one of the best , Kurt Shultz  , in Williston , VT . His procedure was dramatically different from all the others and even worse , if failed , I would have a three legged dog . I took that chance because his method would have less arthritic consequences down the road . The cost was around $6000 and truth be told I would have spent double that to have my Zack back good as new .

He's still the best damn dog I ever hunted behind . 

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max2

Glad to hear it worked out .

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Dogwood

IME rarely, and I mean rarely, does a $5000 bill get you a significantly better result/prognosis than a $1000 procedure.  Or even less.

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gunsrus

Dogwood , the older procedure was grinding out the bone so that the knee cap sits deeper not allowing it to move out of position . I was advised that this would cause extensive arthritis down the road . The new procedure was to break the leg and properly align the bones . The old procedure ballparked around $4000-$4500 . In my world $1500 was a small price to pay to have it done correctly . Yes , more money did equate to a better result . 

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terrym

This may raise a few hackles but when you think about what the same procedure would cost on a human being in a hospital, what the Vets charge isn't really much. I'm not a wealthy guy and have a family to place first but I have spent quite a bit on my Britt between his TPLO and some dental work. My wife who never wanted a dog in the first place would mortgage the house now to pay for these dogs. My personal criteria obviously includes what I can afford but above all is quality of life for the dog. I won't let a dog endure daily pain just because we can't deal with putting it down. 

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Ray Gubernat

Guys -

 

This is indeed a very complex topic.

 

There is the element of quality of life for the dog.

There is the element of the likelihood of a poor outcome.

There is the element of cost, both from the perspective of the actual raw number and from the perspective of what other expenses will have to be  deferred, curtailed or sacrificed altogether in each person's individual situation.

There is the element of usefulness of the dog afterwards.

There is the element of space... if there is space for only one dog, versus a spot in a kennel....

 

THEN...there is the emotional part.

 

I have been in several different situations over the years, regarding animal health and have tried to make the best decision for both the animal and my family, each of those times.  I try to keep the decision making process as unemotional as possible and primarily focus on the likelihood of a good outcome for the animal as the driving force behind the decision.    Once the decision making process has been done...then I will let  the emotional aspect have some weight.

 

My description of a good outcome does include the ability of the animal to continue to do what it was bred to do..in the case of bird dogs...to run and  hunt..at least in some fashion. 

 

FWIW - I do not do guilt trips and have, in the past...ripped a provider a new a$$ for trying to make me take one.  As has been said...it ain't their call.

 

I get VERY testy when I am quoted a price for a procedure and then when I refuse, that price gets cut in half.  THAT is a provider I will not use again.

 

RayG

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Dogwood
3 hours ago, gunsrus said:

Dogwood , the older procedure was grinding out the bone so that the knee cap sits deeper not allowing it to move out of position . I was advised that this would cause extensive arthritis down the road . The new procedure was to break the leg and properly align the bones . The old procedure ballparked around $4000-$4500 . In my world $1500 was a small price to pay to have it done correctly . Yes , more money did equate to a better result . 

 

 

I'm glad it all worked out well for you and you're happy with the results.

 

To be clear however, there is a well regarded procedure whereby the patellar groove is deepened without grinding out the bone and the alignment can be corrected without "breaking the leg"  to do so.  I've done so a few hundred times with great results.  Cost approx. $1500-1800 total.  Gonna edit this further; I'm not telling you this to create frustration on your end but to illustrate that there are multiple ways to get pretty good results across the entire cost spectrum. A well seasoned vet is invaluable in this regard.

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Dogwood
1 hour ago, terrym said:

This may raise a few hackles but when you think about what the same procedure would cost on a human being in a hospital, what the Vets charge isn't really much. I'm not a wealthy guy and have a family to place first but I have spent quite a bit on my Britt between his TPLO and some dental work. My wife who never wanted a dog in the first place would mortgage the house now to pay for these dogs. My personal criteria obviously includes what I can afford but above all is quality of life for the dog. I won't let a dog endure daily pain just because we can't deal with putting it down. 

 

The TPLO procedure, specifically as it applies to very athletic dogs, is one example whereby the extra cost makes a huge difference in the long term results for the better relative to less expensive procedures.

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Fry
2 hours ago, terrym said:

This may raise a few hackles but when you think about what the same procedure would cost on a human being in a hospital, what the Vets charge isn't really much. 

 

This is different for me, being a Canadian we are used to if something needs to be done, it's when and where, with zero thought of cost. 

 

I have no problem paying a vet what they deserve, many have as much or more university fees and education than a MD. 

I would not want to imply a vet doesn't deserve the costs associated with the procedures.  That is a different topic altogether than what we are discussing here obviously. 

 

Like mentioned a seasoned vet that gives all the options is truly invaluable. 

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gunsrus
1 hour ago, Dogwood said:

 

 

I'm glad it all worked out well for you and you're happy with the results.

 

To be clear however, there is a well regarded procedure whereby the patellar groove is deepened without grinding out the bone and the alignment can be corrected without "breaking the leg"  to do so.  I've done so a few hundred times with great results.  Cost approx. $1500-1800 total.  Gonna edit this further; I'm not telling you this to create frustration on your end but to illustrate that there are multiple ways to get pretty good results across the entire cost spectrum. A well seasoned vet is invaluable in this regard.

I'm guessing the vets around the Boston area are a little more expensive . My quotes were from my local vet , Angell Memorial in Boston and Tufts Veterinary in Boston , all well known throughout the Country . 

At the time of my dogs surgery there were only a few in the country who were doing this new procedure . Yes , I am very satisfied . 

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Ulvy

This should make us all feel better about how much we spend on our dogs. Several years ago I picked up a dog (just a dog) in a private jet and flew him back to his family who was summering in the Grand Caymans. Turns out he had gotten sick while they were on vacation, so they flew him to Miami (by himself), where he stayed for 4-5 weeks after recovery from a surgery. I remembering seeing the $35,000 bill for the stay and surgery. We did the math, and we calculated the owners had spent north of $85,000 to save their dog. I know it's all relative as to how much we can afford, that being said, still makes me think......it could be worse.....

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henryrski

I am afraid I'll soon be facing this issue. Sadie is 15yo+ and her health seems good right now but like me we are both playing the back nine.

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