Free Ebook.


« Man Makes Ex-Wife Pay! | Main | Why Shopping Around for Car Insurance is a Good Idea (It Can Save You a Ton of Money) »

May 30, 2008

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Yikes! That is really sad. ;( A $1200 surgery that results in nothing..

I have dogs, and really hope that I don't have to make that choice.

That is so sad!! I have a 3 year old cat and I would be devastated if I had to put him to sleep at such a young age.

I also recommend having a sizable emergency fund. If I had to pay $1200 for a cat surgery, I certainly wouldn't enjoy it, but I wouldn't have to put it on a credit card either.

Aw, your poor friend, it's hard to lose an animal. That's the problem with surgeries though, I've had that happen with several of my pets... pay for an expensive fix, only for it to be for naught.

Many places offer pet insurance and you pay a deductible like regular insurance, get discounted medication, etc. It's definitely worth looking into if you plan to have an animal, especially if you get a puppy/kitten and they have that first years battery of shots and testing.

Two weeks ago my cat became ill and I took him to the vet. He had an abscess in his throat which they found after x-rays and lots of poking and prodding. We all love the cat, so when the vet said he could keep him over-night (this was before they found the abscess, so didn't know what was wrong) I said ok. Next day, after the cat had been on oxygen all night, they were able to look in his throat and found the problem. They drained it and kept him another night for observation. All this time the vet is telling me that in 30 years he's never seen this and he doesn't know if the cat will live or not. My only other options are to take him home and watch him slowly die or have him put to sleep. So, $500 later, the cat is fine. So far. Pet owner's definitely need to budget for any emergency, yearly shots, etc.

Two weeks ago my cat became ill and I took him to the vet. He had an abscess in his throat which they found after x-rays and lots of poking and prodding. We all love the cat, so when the vet said he could keep him over-night (this was before they found the abscess, so didn't know what was wrong) I said ok. Next day, after the cat had been on oxygen all night, they were able to look in his throat and found the problem. They drained it and kept him another night for observation. All this time the vet is telling me that in 30 years he's never seen this and he doesn't know if the cat will live or not. My only other options are to take him home and watch him slowly die or have him put to sleep. So, $500 later, the cat is fine. So far. Pet owner's definitely need to budget for any emergency, yearly shots, etc.

Two weeks ago my cat became ill and I took him to the vet. He had an abscess in his throat which they found after x-rays and lots of poking and prodding. We all love the cat, so when the vet said he could keep him over-night (this was before they found the abscess, so didn't know what was wrong) I said ok. Next day, after the cat had been on oxygen all night, they were able to look in his throat and found the problem. They drained it and kept him another night for observation. All this time the vet is telling me that in 30 years he's never seen this and he doesn't know if the cat will live or not. My only other options are to take him home and watch him slowly die or have him put to sleep. So, $500 later, the cat is fine. So far. Pet owner's definitely need to budget for any emergency, yearly shots, etc.

The same exact thing can be said about having children, except they are FAR more expensive. I realize most people see a large difference between pets and children, but I have two dogs that I love as much as most parents love their kids and I'm happy to spend whatever it takes to keep them healthy and happy, just as any reasonable parent would. Sure, having a pet can end up costing you some serious money, but if you really want to save a bundle, don't have children.

I track my expenses for my dog, and he is currently averaging us $130 a month or so. He is two years old. But he has allergies and has to take an antihistamine and low-dose steroids all year, I keep having to switch his food in hopes we'll find something that goes with his belly and doesn't aggravate his allergies, he needs grooming (and I am too lazy to do it myself) and he had a weird lump on his ear that needed a biopsy analyzed to make sure it wasn't cancerous - plus shots, neutering, licensing, etc. It is definitely a more noticeable budget category than I originally anticipated.

David --

"I have two dogs that I love as much as most parents love their kids."

Really? Would you give up your life for your dogs? Most parents I know would sacrifice their lives if it would save one of their kids.

We had the same problem with one of our cats last year. He had crystals, due to lack of hydration according to our family vet. Because we had to take him to the "pet emergency room" it was almost $900. If I had thought he would make it through the night I would have waited until the next morning when the vet's office was ope, because it would have cost us about half that. The vet changed his diet and food and said to get them to drink more water. He is doing fine and there seems to be no problem with his brother eating the same diet food. Both cats have lost 4-5 lbs. each and are at 9-10 lbs. right where they should be. After our episode, we made a decision not to spend more than $1500 on each cat. We love them very much and I would hate to have to put one down, but if he cannot have a full life we won't spend an excess of money to prolong his life.

Its sad to hear of the womans cat.

t3ch above mentions pet insurance. Insurance sounds like a good idea but before signing up for a policy I'd look very carefully at what they cover and what the maximum payouts are. I was seriously looking at a policy and then found out the maximum payouts for any procedure caps typically under $1000.

Consumer Reports did an article on it:
http://www.consumerreports.org/pets/0307vet2.html

Jim

No doubt Jim, and all places insurance will differ (since many are in-house offerings). Like any other insurance you have to read the fine print and it may not always be worth it. I have personally never had it but know people who do, so I just thought I'd throw the option out there, even though I can't vouch for it.

FMF,

"Really? Would you give up your life for your dogs? Most parents I know would sacrifice their lives if it would save one of their kids."

Yes I would. For example, if a rabid dog charged at mine, I would throw myself between the two with no regard for my own well-being. If you're talking about a less practical example, like some stupid game where you have to choose between you dying and your dog dying, well that doesn't compute because I would fight like mad to save both our asses. But I wouldn't stop fighting until my dog was safe or I was dead, if that answers your question.

At any rate, the issue here isn't a competition about who loves who more. I have no doubt I love my dogs as much as you love your kids. No doubt whatsoever. The issue here, this being a financial blog, is your advice to consider the financial implications of getting a pet. I am simply making the same argument about children.

I do not have a high paying job by any means, but my wife and I both have college educations, own a nice house and two cars and are only a few years away from being debt free. How did we pull it off? By being smart in our financial choices, sure, but not having the expense of children is by far the biggest contributor to our financial freedom. A $1200 vet bill would not set us back far at all. But I can think of a lot of things having children would present that would set us back decades. Just something to consider for those who don't have children yet but want financial freedom.

David --

It's an issue because you used it to bring up a point about parents and kids.

I've had pets that I've loved dearly and I also have children. I would do almost anything for my pets, but there comes a point that I wouldn't go any farther (like my co-worker above -- she let her cat be put to sleep.) On the other hand, I would do anything to save my kids.

To bring it to a financial issue, what would you spend to save your pets? $10,000? $100,000? Anything? Most people have a limit that they would say beyond that they wouldn't spend any more to save a pet. On the other hand, they would do whatever it takes -- spend whatever it takes -- to save their kids.

Even look at society's value on a pet's life versus a child's life. The same? Hardly.

I will certainly give you the point that kids are expensive (I've written about it several times.) But it's a pet peeve of mine when people say that kids and pets are basically the same (your exact words were "I have two dogs that I love as much as most parents love their kids.") I just don't believe this is true.

BTW, as far as I know, I've never heard this sort of comment from a parent. (unless you are a parent yourself.)

I've thought about getting a dog someday. Probably as a child-substitute...because I don't know if I'll ever be psychologically fit to be a parent.

(and to preempt FMF, I'll add that I don't think having a pet would be the same as a child. Otherwise I wouldn't get one....because that's kind of the point.)

Anyway, this is one of the big sticking-points for me. If I were to have a child, I'm sure I'd spare no expense. But I've known various dogs who rack up large health bills and I'm not sure what my limit would be on paying those.

I wouldn't get one until we had more money and lived in a place that let us have pets, so I suppose it's something we'd figure out at the time. Maybe put some savings aside just in case.

FMF,

There are a lot of issues coming to bear here, like whether it might actually be more compassionate to put a suffering pet to sleep than is the typical practice of doing anything to save your kid were he/she in a similar state of suffering. I could probably write for hours exploring the reasons behind those attitudes but I will refrain.

I can honestly say that a decision to end a pet's suffering would not come down to monetary considerations. Most people may have a limit, but I don't. What else can I say?

Also, society's values have no bearing on my feelings toward this issue. I have an uncommon love for animals that most do not. And I am not the slightest bit ashamed of that fact.

Childfree folks would probaby take umbrage with the assertion that pets are no different than children. Something about the very idea illustrating that not having children creates a void and pets are a sad attempt to fill that.

However, that is not the issue with me. My pets do not replace children. For starters, one brings me joy; the other would not. You have your pet peeve (which is not exactly correct; I'm not saying pets are the same as kids, I'm saying I love mine as much), but mine is people who view animals as nothing more than objects to discard when they become inconvenient. I cannot fathom that attitude. I've had hamsters that were like a best friend. I guess it's about perspective. I'm happy with mine.

I really wish more people thought about the cost of owning a pet before they got one, too many people dump their animals the minute they get sick. Dogs and cats are a luxury and if you can't afford them, that's fine just don't get them to begin with. That being said I have two boston terriers, but I waited until I was in good financial shape before I got them (and owned my own home cause trying to find a rental with pets is the pits). One had emergency surgery and spent 5 days in the hospital, that set me back over $3k. I was so glad at the time that I didn't have to worry about how am I going to pay for this, I only worried about getting him better. Then my other one has been diagnosed with epilepsy, which means a lifetime of vet visits, blood tests and daily medication - he was dumped at the pound as a 8 month old puppy cause the owners could not afford to care for him. This was before his epilepsy showed up, they couldn't even afford the cheap dog food they had him on, I'm sure he would have been dumped either way as soon as he got sick. I love them like members of the family and would spend as much as it takes to keep them healthy and happy, you have to realize that while vet care can be quite expensive it is dirt cheap compared to human health care. Even the most complicated amd expensive operations are less than $5k, so it'd be pretty impossible to wrack up 10's of thousands of dollars. If you're one of those people who says they'll put down a dog if they require more than X amount of dollars, please never get a dog. Dog care is a line item in my budget, I set money aside for both routine care and to cover the unexpected. Oh, and if you want a dog and are worried about the expense, smaller dogs usually equal smaller expense since they eat less and boarding, flea preventative, medications and surgeries are often based on weight.

David --

I understand what you're saying. Glad that you've found having pets can be so rewarding.


I find the pet rants of Johnny One-Note hypocritical in light of his choice to "own" children, who are far more expensive than pets (and far less rewarding, IMO).

Suffice it to say that everyone has a choice in the matter and if he can't afford either one he shouldn't take on the burden of "ownership."

David,

I don't mean to pick on you, but I find your attitude toward animals fascinating. I'm curious, does it generalize? Suppose we're not talking about your pets or your children, but rather some strange dog and some strange child. Suppose you're driving and they each simultaneously run out into the street, one on your left and one on your right. There isn't enough room to stop, but you can swerve and choose one to save. Which way do you swerve?

My dog (he's 8 years old) nearly died a month ago. He was lethargic and didn't eat for nearly a week, we took him to the vet. They said kidney failure, might be treatable if he responds to a "jump start" of IV fluids overnight and then a change in diet. We picked him up the next day, it was obvious he was feeling better but not great. After 4 more days of not eating, having lost more than 10% of his body weight and was too weak to walk, we went back to the vet. I called in sick, I was crying hysterically because I felt powerless to help him. It was truly awful. The vet's office was amazingly positive, optimistic, ran a couple more tests and found he has Addison's Disease, which is an Adrenal Gland Disease and totally treatable. Within 48 hours of receiving his first monthly injection, he was back to his normal personality.

Yes, we spent about $1200 on the two overnights and the testing. And the monthly treatment and special food bring his monthly costs to about $150. But we can blow $150 on way dumber things that don't give us nearly as much joy. And the $1200 was a no brainer because we not only have emergency savings for such emergencies (as any responsible pet owner should) but also because we got that stimulus package for about the same amount. Seemed like common sense to spend that with a local business for a service that will continue to bring us joy and happiness for years to come.

As for the dog, he is doing great. We went camping and hiking for memorial day weekend, and watching him run and frolic in the woods like a puppy was really amazing, especially since a month ago we got in the car thinking it was his last trip to the vet. I would absolutely make the same choice again. Even if the outcome hadn't been the same. If he had kidney failure and we had to put him down, we would have done so. But we would have at least tried to save him. And because we did, he's doing great and should have many more years of happiness.

Matt,

Your example doesn't really work because it deals with what type of life I value more, and that isn't the issue here. I'm simply talking about how much I love my pets, not how much I love animals in general. I'm not one of those who say animals should be protected at the expense of humans. It depends on the situation, I guess. In your example, I would swerve and hit the dog. But if you replace the strange dog with my own dog in that example, I'd hit the kid. Sorry.


If not for the issue of liability, I'd swerve and hit the kid. I'm not a PETA nut or anything, but hitting a dog (or a cat) would just be awful.

Oh God, how sad!! That is terrible. But that may be a good reason to have pet insurance. Some only cost $30 a month and will cover really expensive surgeries. I currently have a wellness plan with Banfield, which is in Petsmart, that saves me a TON of money on office visits, vaccines, check-ups, dental cleanings and the basics, though I almost considered getting real pet insurance with another company. It was a little more than I wanted to spend, though if my cat or dog ends up needing $1200 surgery out of the blue, I'm sure I will regret not getting the insurance, which covers all the big expenses.

That story's really sad--but I completely understand. I ended up spending $8000 on my current dog during the first year I had him, during which he ended up having numerous vet visits, a major surgery, and multiple tests for diagnosis. His "yearly maintenance" cost is an average of $300/month--far more than I had planned when I had adopted him (that's $150/month for 3 prescription medications he is on for life and prescription food, and a $500-$600 vet bill a few times a year). (My previous dog had cost me about $100/month on average to maintain, other than the last three months of his life.) Thank goodness I can (barely) afford him--by working a second part-time job. If he had an illness that was likely to be terminal, I'd have him put down, but to save him the suffering and not to save me the money. As it is, he is pretty much fine and happy most of the time, so it is worth it to me to keep him around. I'd be a basket case if I could ever not support him.

So, do be prepared for the expenses, and the emotional tumult that can result. Vet insurance is only for conditions that are not "preexisting," so it doesn't help me much with this dog. I had vet insurance with the previous dog and it helped some, but not hugely. There are limitations on how much the insurance covers and unlike with human health insurance where the doctor often waives the part of his/her fee that is above what insurance will reimburse, vets don't tend to do that.

Being raised in a rural area, it's hard to imagine a cat worth $1200 (or $12). We used to laugh at the "city-folk" who would move out to the country (for the more natural living), pay $$$ to get their pet a series of shots, fixed, etc. and watch them become roadkill two weeks later. There's something very disturbing to me about most urban human-pet relationships.

the best remedy and it works, for urinary tract infection in cats is, CRANBERRY JUICE MIXED IN SOFT FISHY FOOD LIKE SALMON OR TUNA,URINARY TRACT formula by PURINA also works well, but i couldn't always get it so that is when i tried cranberry juice thats what humans use, so why not cats. I know this works because I have 3 cats that has reacurring uti. there's no reason to put an animal down for this unless it"s gotten to the end where its so blocked up its jaundice.

I do not know what type of "surgery" this vet did. But I would surely look around for another vet. Your story tears my heart out. I have done cat rescue on my own for over 20yrs and have gone thru the blocking up of male cats several times, 3 of them having had about $2000 surgery. I know it can be done for less. The last 2 were done at a university teaching hospital, they charge "a lot". It is very unusual, rare at best, if they did the rerouting of the urinary tract for permanent unblocking, for them to ever get blocked. They may be somewhat prone to get urinary infections, but not to get blocked again. Natural urine acidifiers can be purchased that can help to keep prone cats that have been unblocked, but not had surgery, to keep from getting blocked again. I do not know how well these work. Probably not a guarantee, but I just about a week ago had to pay an emergency fee and took my Mickey in because he was blocked-total bill was less than $300, but he was able to come home 2 days later. Depends how quickly they start urinating on their own after a catheter is placed to unblock them and no bloodwork was done for Mickey, altho I realize it would have been a good idea. I did not oppose it. They just did not do it. My finances are in pretty poor shape right now, so I am going to try to get something natural off the internet to help so he doesn't reblock. I am so very sorry for your loss. Check out the website Shirley's Wellness Cafe-lots of good cat,dog,horse,etc info. I wish you the best!!

P.S. A typical unblock for a cat, if that may have been what this vet termed "surgery" should never have caused $1200. I would do some checking, reviewing by means of internet to find a reliable, experienced, reputable, moderately priced vet that has references of quality in case of a future emergency, if you have other pets.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Disclaimer


  • Any information shared on Free Money Finance does not constitute financial advice. The Website is intended to provide general information only and does not attempt to give you advice that relates to your specific circumstances. You are advised to discuss your specific requirements with an independent financial adviser. Per FTC guidelines, this website may be compensated by companies mentioned through advertising, affiliate programs or otherwise. All posts are © 2005-2012, Free Money Finance.

Stats