By: Revanche

Money floweth like water: out the (dog) door

July 8, 2014

Doggle gets a very generous annual allowance in our budget, something of a reminder-to-self that it’s an expensive prospect having pets [just ask Funny About Money about her Ruby!]. At this point, I suppose you really could indeed put a price on all the hugs and kisses I force on the hapless, long-suffering Doggle.

We actually rarely spend the amount set aside for him, but overspending in other categories [ahem. food. lots of food. travel.] tends to eat into the unspent allowance so the annual spend sort of evens out.  This year, however, we literally cannot afford to do that.

Our routine visit to the vet turned into anything but. I opted to do the full senior package: exam, bloodwork, urinalysis, fecal test. I normally would have passed on it but we needed the bloodwork anyway in anticipation of having his teeth cleaned, and we were a bit concerned about whether he had another issue going on. The senior package came with a 15% discount for follow-up labwork, and considering the possible follow-ups we’d need to do, I decided to go with it. $333 later, we found…

He didn’t have a chronic gland problem but instead we found an asymptomatic infection so we’ve been treating that to the tune of $317 for a two week supply of antibiotics. *faint* I immediately compared the clinic pharmacy price to the cost online and found that we weren’t being seriously overcharged, we would have paid very close to that price if I’d ordered from say, 1-800-petmeds.

Two weeks of exhausted Doggle on meds later, our follow-up labwork ($130) showed that he STILL had an infection.  On the merest brighter side of the ledger, I insisted that the receptionist follow up with the vet to confirm that the 15% discount should have applied to that charge, so we scraped back a whole $19.50. Much good that’ll do us in the face of a second round of antibiotics ($150) and another lab test after that. At least we’ll save another $19.59 on the third test. *skeptical brow*

When we finally lick this infection, we’ll then fork over nearly $1000 for his dental. He’s in dire need of a really good cleaning, probably never having had one, as his teeth look dodgy, breath smells worse, and I am pretty sure there are broken teeth that need checking.  He’s going to love that. And probably will have to have yet another round of antibiotics if the teeth have to come out.

Where are we, that’s about $2000?  Well. Of course, that’s not the end of the story – why would it be?

But I think I’ll have to save that for another post. This one just takes the wind out of my sails as it is.

12 Responses to “Money floweth like water: out the (dog) door”

  1. Wow! That really seems excessive. Being the paranoid type, I’m kinda suspicious of vets who want to go on fishing expeditions, looking for something — anything — they can treat. I wonder if the animal would have done just as well and lived just as long if left alone.

    Some time back, a professor at the Stanford medical school published a study inveighing against annual physical exams for humans. He said that with the exception of Pap tests and colonoscopy, regular, repeated physicals tend to cause more harm than good, in the form of increasingly invasive tests and unnecessary treatment for asymptomatic and often benign conditions. He stated that for most conditions, most individuals are better off going to the doctor when symptoms arise, rather than searching for trouble on a regular basis. It’s taken decades, but the profession is slowly coming around to that point of view.

    IMHO, the same applies to our pets. It may be best to take the animal to the vet when something is clearly wrong, rather than being talked into expensive panels of tests just because the dog or cat is XX number of years old.

    BTW, I met a naturopathic vet here (she does have a DVM from a respected veterinary school & so doesn’t seem to be a fly-by-night type) who clued me to the fact that it’s possible to get your dog’s teeth cleaned without knocking the animal out. If the dog’s teeth are not too dirty, there are practitioners who can clean them in a no-anaesthetic procedure.
    Funny about Money recently posted…Some Vacation…My Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I’m right there with you but I’ve also had years of experience working with vets so I know there are some things that do have to be treated, asymptomatic or not, and UTIs are one of them. Left untreated it can lead to some even more severe problems like kidney damage, etc. And Doggle is notoriously stoic (he literally didn’t show pain when he dislocated a disc in his spine – that’s a SERIOUS problem) so it’s very possible he does have symptoms we didn’t associate with it b/c he didn’t act uncomfortable (drinking more, urinating more, licking himself).

      Otherwise he’d just have an annual exam because we can’t get his medication without it 😛

  2. Athena says:

    Poor doggle. I hope he feels ( and gets) better soon. This reminds me of last year when I had Olive the cat and Hey Jude and I had to take her to the vet because she had gotten sick. We set a price that we were both comfortable with, depending on what was wrong with her, but in the end we didn’t care. Your pet becomes a part of your family and you’ll do whatever you can to maintain their health, just like they were a person. Come to think of it, I like a lot of pets better than people I know anyways. 🙂
    Athena recently posted…Tunes Tuesday- R & B EditionMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Thanks! We hope so too! They have allowances but I think we all know that when it’s important, I will spend the money on them, period.

      Come to think of it, I like a lot of pets better than people I know anyways. 🙂
      You speak only the truth! 😉

  3. NZ Muse says:

    Oh. blimey. All my sympathies. I have a UTI that’s just about cleared up but it was the worst I’ve ever had, plus a possible stomach bug (either that or that was part and parcel of the UTI fun fair). No bueno.
    NZ Muse recently posted…Career tip: Play to your strengthsMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Oof I’m glad you’re getting better too! This guy is so stoic it’s hard to tell if he’s in pain but that wouldn’t mean he wasn’t experiencing any!

  4. […] If you’ve been paying attention, you know that many of the vaccines we’ve been told our pets must have, over and over world without end, lest they die of some dread disease are truly unnecessary. Endless annual booster shots operate, at many veterinaries, as a tool to get you back in the door, where you can be subjected to the Big Upsell: persuaded that any number of unnecessary procedures, from expensive dental cleaning to daily medications that require expensive semi-annual blood tests to routine over-vaccination…to god only knows what. These procedures, many of which may be unnecessary, cost pet owners some very big bucks. […]

  5. Karen says:

    Wow, $1000 for teeth cleaning? Mine is need of that , too. The lab work plus the cleaning, I think, runs around $300+. I tried brushing her teeth but that fell by the wayside. Too annoying. For us both!

    • Revanche says:

      Nearly so, yeah – Allison of Insomniac Lab Rat told me she had to pay a similar amount and she’s in the Midwest where I imagine everything is more reasonable so I felt … not BETTER about it precisely but not quite as bad. And now you’ve beat both our prices all to hell 🙂
      Doggle won’t allow us to LOOK in his mouth if he can help it, forget brushing his teeth. I’m wiling to wrestle him for an ear cleaning but teeth brushing is a whole other thing.

  6. Disco Diva says:

    Pet costs are a pain…but a necessary evil. 🙁
    Disco Diva recently posted…A dream deferred…My Profile

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