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August 22, 2008


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$100 max. I don't get attached to animals though. My wife may be willing to spend more like $200. But when it's time for them to go, then I will let them go. I would never spend $18 grand on any animal. But then again, the guy did say his wife died and he had no children so I don't think he's crazy for doing it.

Great topic!

My wife and I are willing to spend just about anything for our pets (2 cats and a dog), so long as the treatment has a reasonable chance of working and the animal isn't suffering (that would be cruel). Even if the treatment would have minimal impact on their longevity but to reduce their suffering I would spend just about anything.

A case in point: A couple of years ago our male cat kept throwing up shortly after eating. After several days of this on a Sunday morning we took him to the local animal emergency hospital. After the vet chastized us for waiting do long to bring him in she said they'd have to run tests. It could be cancer, a tumor, a blockage, feline leukemia, feline AIDs - basically all the worst conditions you can think of. So what could we do? We agreed. Well....$900 in tests later we got the answer: This little SOB was badly constipated! :-) They ended up giving him a kitty laxetive and then a kitty enema (I'm sure he didn't appreciate that!). Bottom line: Cost me about $1,100. And I gladly paid for it!!!

ps- There is pet health insurance too that is really very good and not expensive at all. At a minimum I think all pet owners should have the emergency/accident coverage.

Wow, $100 - big spender (I'm thiking that "Wise Money Matters" doesn't even give his animals routine veterinary care with that budget). I will readily admit that I am a dog person and have set the amount of my emergency fund with the possibility that one of my dogs may need serious care in the future. While money is no object to me when it comes to my pets, their comfort and happiness is. Sometimes we forget that animals can't expressly tell us when they want to be let go. That fellow in the article, while well intentioned, is putting his pet through hell for rather selfish reasons.

Not sure what the upper limit is - it would probably be a function of what I could afford to spend without jeopardizing the rest of family, including the other 2 dogs and the three birds. It would also be a function of quality of life. When my 15 year old dog came down with lymphoma, we decided to let her go because the chemo would have been very stressful for an older dog and there was still a 30% chance of recurrence.

I find limits like $100 and $110 pretty troubling. My vet gets $65 for a visit, and he is far from the most expensive in my area. Hope your pets never get sick, for their sake.

Last year our male cat was diagnosed with diabetes. He needs daily insulin injections, blood glucose monitoring, and a special high protien/low carb food that can only be purchased through a vet (I have looked around for alternatives).

We pay $50/month for the food, about $50/month for the insulin (1 bottle lasts about 6 months at present dosage), and about $25/month for the insulin suringes. Plus the cost of the blood monitoring tool (a one time cost of about $65), and the test strips.

So annualized We spend in the neighborhood of $1,400-$1,500. Plus annual vet visit and shots, and special boarding for the cat if we need to go away.

He will be 10 years old in December.

Some might call it foolish - I call it Love.

$100 wouldn't even pay for my dog's annual vaccinations and office visit. I hope you are talking about a goldfish or gerbil or something similar.

Honestly, I'm not sure what my limit would be. The big factors for me would be what the disease was, what effect the treatment would have and the quality of life expected after the procedure. For me, it probably wouldn't make much sense to do what the guy in Mass. did, but I certainly understand his reasoning.

I think MasterPo and I are on the exact same page. Just last month, one of my cats was badly constipated and he cost us $400 as a result. We didn't even blink at that amount. I think the cost would have to be in the several thousands of dollars before not getting the treatment would even be an option.

I love my cats but probably wouldn't spend more than maybe $500 on each of them for any procedure. The way I look at it is, they were strays to begin with and would probably already have died if I didn't adopt them, so by loving them for as many years as I can and prolonging their life, I've already done them a favor. Spending tons of money on something that you don't even know will prolong their life seems foolish to me. That being said, people should definitely consider the cost of food and regular vet visits before they take on the responsibility of a pet.

I have 2 cats who are seemingly in excellent health at about 1.5 years of age. They have been around long enough for me to know their personalities, but they still have almost their entire (normal) lives in front of them.

What could I afford to spend on them without going into debt or spending retirement savings? That would be my absolute maximum. I don't feel like telling the world that number, but it's >$10,000.

Working down from that number, I realized that I would never pay $10k, even for both of them. My maximum number would be more like $2,000 per cat, or $4000 total. That's just my gut feeling.

From there, I would discount based on the likelihood of the treatment's success, the likelihood that followups would be necessary, cat's quality of life from then on, etc. I think that for a typical situation (i.e. about 75% chance it works, increased medical expenses in the future and shorter life expectancy) I would pay about $1000 to $1250 per cat.

If I get richer, I would be willing to pay more. But once the cats get pretty old, I would pay less.

My Mother In Law has spent several thousand at least on one of their dogs. It's had a torn ACL twice and had surgury both of those times. It's also on a constant stream of medication.

I suppose it's their dog and their money, but in my mind it's a waste (especially for that particular dog!).

This is a very tough question for me.

I don't have an exact figure bit I think it is in the $1000 to $5000 range. I need to discuss it with my wife though, cause I am guessing she'd support a higher amount than me. If needed it would come out of the general emergency fund.

It would be great if I could just get a pet insurance policy to cover the unfortunate possibility of very high vet bill. But I've looked into pet insurance before but the policies I found had relatively low pay out limits so they didn't really seem worth it. BTW, if anyone knows a good pet insurance plan that has a higher payout maximums then please let me know.

If someone with less income has a ill pet they should ask the vet about lower rates or if there are any assistance programs. Here is an article with a list of orgnaizations that might help pay vet bills if you have financial need:


we spent almost $2000 to save my dogs life earlier this year. We have emergency savings for emergencies and that was an emergency. The dog is stable with a treatable condition controlled by monthly injections shot $75 each. The meds and food and misc expenses run just about $125 a month. We get a lot more enjoyment from that dog than spending that on dining out, drinks, other disposable expenses.
People who spend $100 max can't cover basic shots. Not a great life for the pet.

I have no idea, we spent ~2800$ to fix an ACL on our dog a few months ago (and that was with my wife being a Veterinarian and getting a discount). Luckily there's a 40% chance that the other one knee won't blow too. :(

I have a feeling it would be 10k+ but only if the life the dog would have following the procedure would be worth it. In other words, if our dog is past her expected lifespan with little to gain from invasive or painful procedures, I doubt we'll do it.

We have five (yes, that's right FIVE) cats, all taken in as stray kittens. We spend quite a bit every year on food, litter and preventative care, but we budget for that as well as some emergencies or illness. In the past, when I had purebreds, they had a lot of health problems, and I started considering whether it was worth it when the bills topped $500 at a whack. But even more than the money was the fact that when you start talking about that kind of money for an animal's treatment, you are *usually* talking about treatments that are going to be very hard on an animal, and need to take into consideration the outcome and the animal's quality of life.

Bottom line, I'd probably spend a thousand or so on an animal in a single medical incident *IF* it had a good chance of a happy and healthy life afterwards. I'd probably double my current monthly expenses for critters, maybe triple if again they were happy and healthy with the treatments. The minute they were not happy and healthy, or the cost of care jeopardised my human family's well being, we'd have to take other options.

An equally interesting question is how much would you pay to save your own life?

I suggest this has as much to do with your belief in the efficacy of medicine as with your affection for your pet. Most things cure themselves, a few are easily treatable, and many have little effective treatment. As much as I love my dog, having lost others, I realize life is not a curable condition.

I would agree with not spending more than the dog cost. But my dogs are quite expensive. No way would i fork out money if my doggies quality of life would go down after having a procedure/treatment? Why torture them. Not to mention what you just spent to fix your animal (they may suffer anyways depending on disease) you could have bought you a brand new one much younger. That seems harsh but have you ever had an animal you didnt love?

I adore my dog and have pet insurance on him. So it would cover a few thousand. And I would spend a few thousand more. I couldn't say for sure until the event occurred.

A few years ago we popped for $3K. But all the non-monetary factors were in our favor: 5 years old, 99% chance of rapid recovery, and slim chance of recurrence.

I'm not sure what the upper limit would have been, but I'd think procedures that cost over a few thousand dollars are uncommon. The few I've heard of were part of a bigger problem towards old age, which kind of takes care of the math for you.

Now with an older dog and a baby on the way, we'd have to question larger expenses more. But we can't complain about the surgery cost. If ever there was a perfect dog for kids, we have that dog. If only she can slow down enough to grow old gracefully.

This same question could be asked about humans, too. I think it's hard to put a price on the value of the life of a loved one, whether 2-legged or 4-legged. I'd spent a lot of money to try to save any of my pets, but I'm sure at some point I'd reach a limit. I don't know what that is, though.

Interesting question, Early Retirement Exreme.

I'm still doing Herceptin biological treatments for HER2/neu positive breast cancer. (The hard part of treatment is done--chemo, radiation.) Herceptin makes treatment effective because the HER2/neu factor protects cancer cells against treatment! Herceptin strips it away.

Recently, some family were visiting from England. My aunts (one a retired doctor) said I was really lucky to be getting Herceptin. Not many of the regional boards of the National Health Service were approving it for their patients because of rationing and fixed budgets (preferring to spend their money elsewhere). Patients could not elect to pay for their own Herceptin treatment without going off NHS coverage entirely.

What a raw deal! Why should NHS bother paying for treatment at all, if they are denying Herceptin? That's spending massive amounts of money on futile treatment.

If I had to, I could probably pay for my own Herceptin, but not the entire course of treatment. I'm a half-million dollar baby. The NHS is screwing the English people.

For me, it would depend on the likelyhood of successful treatment, the age of the dog, and whether I liked the dog. If the dog was already 10-14 years old, I'd say my goodbyes for anything major.

We just dealt with this and more just last week.

After a second surgery a week ago to repair an ACL rupture, we had to put our dog down after only four years. He ended up getting an ACL rupture on the other leg, overcompensating for the slow healing knee. It forced a beautiful 70 pound dog to try to walk on two front legs.

We spent over $1,500 so far, and it was more than owrth it. However, it was more the idea that we were making him go through this for our enjoyment, as opposed to doing this for his well-being.

I like Jake's answer (1:02pm). It's logical and calculable, with a little wiggle room of course.

I think if you have to go into debt or tap retirement or home equity, then you shouldn't be doing it (a more stringent standard than with human medical care). Similarly, if you HAVE no savings or retirement then you shouldn't be spending unnecessary money on pets (which is basically anything other than food).

After that, limit further by your comfort level and account for how much longer/better the animal will reasonable live with treatment.

Over the course of 10 months my English Mastiff cost me around 7,000 dollars total. If we were told this all at once we might have opted to euthanize since we are just starting out but 300 here and 500 there seemed doable. We have to euthanize her this Tuesday since the behavior problems we've been working to fix for so long are only getting worse and now she is not only dangerous, she is very dangerous. I would spend 7,000 more if I thought she'd get better. My puppies are my life and I couldn't put a price on them. I don't have anything saved up (more accurately I'm in debt from her past procedures) but carecredit has been a lifesaver. I have a 4,500 limit on that so I should be able to cover most any accident that is thrown my way.

If any of my dogs or cats needed medical attention, and there was a good probability of them recovering and living years more happily and heathily, I would empty my bank account for them. Literally. I would spend 50k to save one of their lives in a heartbeat, they are my family!

If there wasn't a good chance of recovery, or it would only prolong their life a few unhealthy months (the case with my recently passed dog) I would not spend the money, just for the animal's sake. But I would do as much as I would for a child as I would my precious pets.

I would spend as much as i can afford !!

i spend 5 thousand this year on my chichi and 3 grand perviously on a surgery !!
and 3 grand for MRI scans and hospitalization for my cavalier ( My dogs had a rough year this year ) ! some people thinks i am insane. ( this includes my mom) at one point the vet thought the vet bill for my chi chi could easily have gone up to 10,000- to 20,000 ( i got an estimation of 7 grand and it was going to go up.. i prayed night after night and suddenly he healed :) !! ) .. I would stop trying if living is painful for them but i would never stop on saving them because i can't afford. I have a saving fund for my dogs and personally i feel if you can;t afford the medical fees dont take on the responsibility of owning a pet, he could have been with another family who would be willing to save him at all cost.. :'( * i personally hate people who says " oh, it cost too much, i can;t take him to the vet" -if u want a pet then please be responsible, u can't just toss responsibility away when it cost u money... it is inhumane ! ! my friends thought i was insane +___+

I guess we were very fortunate. Forty - fifty years ago while our children were young we owned two male pedigree shetland sheep dogs (not at the same time). They both lived the normal lifespan, one suddenly dropped dead one morning, probably from a heart attack. The other, at the age of 12, developed a serious internal problem and the vet suggested that he be euthanized, which we went along with. Dogs need to be fed a high quality dry dog food. Feeding them people food is killing them with misdirected kindness.

Other people's cats that attempt to use my vegetable garden as a latrine are very unwelcome and I take steps to strongly discourage them - it works pretty well.

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