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Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

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Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

Old 11-18-10, 12:30 PM
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Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

So my border collie hadn't been feeling good, and started getting a bloated stomach, was weak, couldn't stand, throwing up anything he drank, etc., so I took him to the pet ER at 3am this morning. A few hundred dollars later, they told me to take him home and take him to my regular vet this morning.

After the vet looked him over and took some X-rays, he basically said it didn't look good - probably some sort of liver issue. They still have him there now, doing some more blood work and whatever else to try and figure out just what is wrong...this will be at least $300-400 more.

He also ate some rocks back in August that ended up costing about $600 to be taken care of. Of course that's on top of all the regular vaccines and whatnot.

It's so hard for me to put a dollar value on my dog, I live alone and work from home, so he's constantly with me, and when it comes right down to it he is my best friend. But the fact is he's "just" a dog, and there has to be a point at which I just have to say enough is enough - I'm assuming even if whatever issue he has is treatable, it's going to cost into the thousands of dollars, and even then I don't know what kind of quality of life he'll have. If you know border collies, you know they would be miserable if they couldn't run around and have fun all the time.

If I had a ton of money I would definitely spend a lot to try to get him back to 100%, but I'm in the somewhat early stages of trying to get my business growing, so don't have a lot laying around. My parents would help me if I wanted, but I'm not sure if I feel comfortable with that.

So for those of you who have had to deal with expensive treatment for your pets, where did you or where would you draw the line? Was/would your decision be easier if you knew the chances of a full recovery and regular quality of life?

It's just so damned hard to say, "no, I'm not spending anything more to save my best friend." Tucker's not even 2 yet, I can only imagine how hard this decision would be if he'd been with me for many more years. And the vet said what it will probably come down to is do you want a dog, or do you want this dog? Ugh.
Old 11-18-10, 01:04 PM
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Re: Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

My heart goes out to you. I have five cats and up until last month had six. The oldest one had to be put to sleep because she had either a stroke or a blood clot which caused her to lose the use of her hind legs. I could have spent a lot of money figuring out what was wrong, but the upshot was she was at least 14 years old (never knew for sure cuz she was a rescued stray) and wasn't going to get any better. So I let her go.

For me, it's a matter of how much you can afford to spend. If you have given a pet a good life, and if you are there till the very end when s/he gets the shot that will put her out of suffering, I wouldn't judge you for declining to go into major debt. Along with quality of life issues for the animal, your own quality of life should be a factor in your decision.

Because I am a person of modest circumstances, and because I have multiple pets, I have made the decision that if any of my cats develops cancer, diabetes or some other condition that will lead to daily medicating or expensive treatment, I will let him or her go. I have given my pets a good life and have no regrets about the money I've spent on them (for example, two years ago one had some growths on her tummy. I spent over $1,000 to learn that they were benign and have them removed).

A two-year-old collie is not an old dog, however. I would not necessarily give up at this point. That's just me. I hope that whatever decision you make, you will find peace. If you have given your dog two years of happiness and love, that's not a bad thing to have had.
Old 11-18-10, 01:28 PM
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Re: Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

Thanks Vib...I've had dogs my whole life, but this is the first one that's my own, the rest were on the farm growing up, and all lived to their mid-teens and died pretty much naturally, so it's really hard with it being my first go-round.

Just heard from the vet, and at least I have an answer to what is wrong: he has Addison's Disease (apparently JFK had the human version?) - http://www.addisonsdiseaseindogs.com/

He's in severe shock and dehydrated, so I gave the go ahead to keep him alive and get his strength back ($850)...but treatment for Addison's is life-long, he'd need a shot (which I can give) every 24-30 days which costs from $45-75 (depending on dosage) every month. So that's at least $540 a year.

I'm leaning towards doing it, but I'm obviously emotional now and will talk with family and friends for their advice. But one thing I'm going to be sure to figure out is if he will be able to "be" a border collie, and not just a house dog who can't get too much exercise.

Obligatory:


Last edited by aktick; 11-18-10 at 01:35 PM.
Old 11-18-10, 02:33 PM
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Re: Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

My parents had a dog that had a hole in her heart (she was the runt of the litter). She was not even more than a year old yet when diagnosed and the treatment meant surgery at a specialist in Colorado which would have been > $9000. My folks decided against it and opted for meds and quality of life and the vet gave her 6 months to live. She lived to be 8 years old.
Old 11-18-10, 02:49 PM
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Re: Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

Only you can answer that question. Don't say "it's only a dog" if you don't believe that. You said yourself that you live alone and that your dog is your best friend. Obviously, the dog is not a person, but to many people, and maybe you're one of them, your dog is MUCH more than "just a dog". For example I care about my dog more than I care about many people. Assholes on the street mean nothing to me. Murderers, rapists and people like that are completely worthless to me and are much lower on the ladder than my dog, in my personal opinion.

I don't know if I could answer that question if it were posed to me right now. How much would I spend on my dog? Right now I have no idea. I love my dog and couldn't imagine just letting her go simply due to money reasons. My dog does mean a lot to me so for me it would probably be more of a question of the chances of her recovering rather than how much it would cost. If I could get an almost guarantee that she'd recover fully but it would be very expensive I would most likely go for it. However, if the prognosis was that recovery was slim to none I would probably let her go and, in turn, save the money. Even though the money aspect wouldn't be my biggest concern, saving the money would be a benefit I guess.

So, really it's up to you. How much does your dog mean to you and are you willing to spend a lot of money to keep your dog alive?
Old 11-18-10, 02:55 PM
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Re: Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

[kvrdave]if it costs more than a bullet, it's too much![/kvrdave]
Old 11-18-10, 03:02 PM
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Re: Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

I just spent over $1000 on my dog. She was diagnosed with a tumor on her spleen and I was told that there was a 75% chance it was cancerous. Long story short she was one of the lucky ones because it came back benign and she is still with me. Vet had take out her spleen and the total of the whole procedure was over two grand. Luckily my x-husband splits the costs of my two dogs that we got when we were together.
I don't think $540 a year for shots is unreasonable, but that's just me.
Old 11-18-10, 03:10 PM
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Re: Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

Tough call and I feel your pain.

After paying to treat one dog after drinking antifreeze that some fool was flushing into the storm sewer, after paying to surgically repair two torn acl's on another dog, we took out pet insurance on our third dog.

Having said that, it is a personal choice but in my family I imagine it would run into several thousand dollars before we would not pay.
Old 11-18-10, 03:29 PM
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Re: Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

Depends how old the dog is. My 14 year old, I'll spend enough to make her comfortable but won't try and save her life. My 3 year old - probably a lot more. It also depends on if the treatment will work or not. No sense making the dog suffer for something that probably won't work.
Old 11-18-10, 03:31 PM
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Re: Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

I feel for you man, I have had the same decision before. I was told that my cat who was in tremendous amounts of pain would need a 400 dollar surgery which I didn't have and could not get no matter how much I tried so I had no choice. On top of that he told me they couldn't even do the surgery until 3 days later and he only had 2 days to live so it wouldn't have mattered either way. I had them put him down as he was in a lot of pain and I wanted that to end. It was very hard on me so I feel your pain. Good luck in whatever you decide to do.
Old 11-18-10, 03:34 PM
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Re: Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

That's fucked up. A vet told you with a straight face that the surgery couldn't be done for three days but the cat only had two days left? I'd find a new vet.
Old 11-18-10, 03:42 PM
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Re: Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

Originally Posted by CRM114 View Post
That's fucked up. A vet told you with a straight face that the surgery couldn't be done for three days but the cat only had two days left? I'd find a new vet.
It was the only emergency place on a Saturday morning and all the other places i checked were closed. If he was right then I would have waited until Monday and he would have died anyways, and then had to live through 2 days of excruciating pain. I didn't want to see him in pain any longer. That's even if I could have come up with the money. As stated I had no access to that kind of money on such short notice.
Old 11-18-10, 03:53 PM
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Re: Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

Medical spending on past pets and watching them suffer as they got older is the sole reason I don't have pets anymore.
Old 11-18-10, 04:45 PM
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Re: Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

Sad and Uplifting:
http://whatikilledtoday.blogspot.com/
Old 11-18-10, 06:18 PM
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Re: Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

Thanks for the words, guys.

Sounds like he had an up and down afternoon - seizing for a couple minutes, happy the next. Some GI bleeding that's worrying the doc (and I'm inclined to think he's being optimistic when explaining things to me over the phone)...the worst thing is he's gone at 6:30, said he'd try to stop in overnight and check on him, but if something happens while he's gone, my buddy's basically SOL. I just don't want him to suffer and die all alone in a strange place.
Old 11-18-10, 06:23 PM
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Re: Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

I would spend every penny I have and go without whatever I needed to for my kitty.
Old 11-18-10, 06:45 PM
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Re: Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

I spent over 3k on Meesha. She died anyway. It sucked.
Old 11-18-10, 07:57 PM
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Re: Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

I would take the dog's age, what you're able to afford comfortably, and the effectiveness of the treatment into account. For such a young animal, though, I'd probably place less importance on the latter two and do everything in my power to get the dog through it.
Old 11-18-10, 08:02 PM
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Re: Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

Tough question. I get very attached to the dogs I've had and would do pretty much anything within my power for them. That said, after spending close to 7 grand on my first dog when he was essentially nearing the end of his life, I think I'm now able to accept that dogs aren't going to live forever, no matter how much money I spend. My current dog is now 9, and is still very active and healthy - but I know he's going to start slowing down at some point. I'll do whatever I can to maintain his quality of life, and when it gets to the point where I need to let go, I won't let him suffer. I so totally dread that day.
Old 11-18-10, 10:50 PM
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Re: Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

Personally, I don't know but it would be less than the $1,500 or so you've spent (including the rocks).
Old 11-18-10, 11:10 PM
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Re: Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

Originally Posted by Bronkster View Post
Tough question. I get very attached to the dogs I've had and would do pretty much anything within my power for them. That said, after spending close to 7 grand on my first dog when he was essentially nearing the end of his life, I think I'm now able to accept that dogs aren't going to live forever, no matter how much money I spend. My current dog is now 9, and is still very active and healthy - but I know he's going to start slowing down at some point. I'll do whatever I can to maintain his quality of life, and when it gets to the point where I need to let go, I won't let him suffer. I so totally dread that day.
I already have dreaded that day once. Knowing I will have to do it again is something I don't like to think about. I will just have to remember that I was given more time and hope that can comfort me a little.
Old 11-19-10, 02:40 AM
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Re: Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

Stories like this are the reason I don't have pets. If I had a dog/cat I'd probably cave in and spend the money even if I didn't have it.

Medical bills are just too damn high.
Old 11-19-10, 05:24 AM
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Re: Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

Just got the dreaded call...Tucker passed away sometime after midnight. Worst thing is he was all alone, I just pray he was drugged up and wasn't in pain and feeling all alone.

RIP buddy...
Old 11-19-10, 06:28 AM
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Re: Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

damn im so sorry to hear that. i have 3 dogs who i care about more than i do most people. shit im fighting back tears here.
Old 11-19-10, 08:43 AM
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Re: Where do you draw the line on medical treatment spending for your pets?

Aw, man, I'm so sorry. I'm gonna just defer to Lemmy's comment 'cuz I'm not handling this well.

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