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How Much Would You Pay To Keep A Pet Alive?


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My step daughter took their old cat to the vet on Friday because it has a sore on it’s butt. I’m no veterinarian but I could tell by looking that it was probably cancerous. The vet took one look at the cat and wanted to take a biopsy and said the cost would be $1,100.00 for the biopsy and test!!! Any treatment would be additional. She brought the cat home un biopsied. 
 

My wife manages a avocado and citrus ranch and the elderly owner has an old black lab that has numerous medical issues, including cancer and in the last two years the vet bills have exceeded $13,000.00. The ranch pays the vet bills because it’s a ranch dog, anyway my wife thinks the dog should be put down but the ranch owner won’t go for it. The dog is obviously suffering as it has trouble walking and doesn’t move far anymore. 
 

I loved my dogs when they were alive and thankfully was never faced with any of the big dollar health issues but had I been it may have been tough to make the decision to put them down. How about you folks? Would you pay the medical costs to keep Rover or Tabby around a while longer?

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Hard question.  I grew up in surroundings where they got well or didn't from home care learned from taking care of livestock.   If they didn't then the price of care was the cost of a .22 shell.  Thats just the way it was.  I don't remember any pets ever being taken to the vet and I wish some had been.

 

In my later years I couldn't bear the tears of my daughters and pets went but only to a point.  The girls learned about when to let go.

 

Now in the winter of my life we spent over 5K on orthopedic surgery for a collie that tried to herd a UPS truck .   Who'd a thought but I went along cause it was the wifes pet.  Now that collie is gone and so's my wife.   So is my treasured German Shorthair..... I'm tired of losing things i love.  At this point another dog is out of the question.   

 

But if I had a choice on that shorthair I reckon I'd a spent whatever it took.

Edited by Yellowhouse Sam # 25171
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It’s my observation that high dollar procedures for pets are also those which are complex, lengthy, and painful to the pet. Cancer treatments with surgery and chemotherapy come to mind. 
 

When Dolly came down with cancer, our vet offered us those options, but we opted to send her forward peacefully. It wasn’t a cost decision at all. It was how much pain did we want her to go through, even if it was a pain that might have led to healing. She could not understand the concept of pain that leads to healing. We just didn’t want her in pain. 
 

Sorry for the rambling. Gotta go get the dust from my eyes. 

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First, I'll note that vet bills have gone way up since I adopted my Jack Russell Terrorist ten years ago, so $1100 for the biopsy and test doesn't sound too outrageous.  

 

There is no "right" answer, I'm currently in a similar position as my JRT's kidneys are only functioning at about 50%.  You have to decide what is best for your pet, as a pet owner we have an obligation to take care of them, but we also have the obligation to make sure they aren't suffering.

 

As to the rest, it's subjective and dependent on your income and how much more time you will get for your money.  Spending thousands for a couple of more days or a couple weeks probably isn't the best idea.

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I cannot tell you the amount of money we have spent on our pets in regards to Veterinarian care and medicines. Thousands of dollars. My dog Daisy got hit by a car. It cost over $6000 for her care in 1995. Our horse, Smokey Joe, $10,000 in one year. My dog Wilbur, $6000 in a year. 
I don’t look at it as “cost”. I look at it as helping or saving a member of my family. If I can save them without them suffering a great deal I will do so and gladly. But, each one is a judgment call in each instance. In regards to my dog Daisy, if the surgeon wouldn’t have been willing to let me make payments on her surgery I am afraid Daisy would have been euthanized. The same goes for our old horse. 
One also had to weigh the quality of life for the pet and for themselves. Also, if the monetary impact is extremely detrimental to the pet owner and the odds of the pet surviving and thriving are minimal the owner has to make some hard decisions. 

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Hard call.

I know some who have spent as much as $20k on vet bills/surgery...

We have, over 21 years spent maybe $900 on vet bills/surgery/spay/RIP for several pets.

The most spent was a tumor removal.

 

I am old school... doctoring up with what I had on hand.

From gunshot to rattlesnake.

 

We are told to be good stewards...

But I do believe there is a time to evaluate.

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We've spent much money on our pets, especially these two.

 

Obie the cat got very skinny and was drinking a lot of water. We found out he was diabetic, had to give him shots twice a day and feed him special (expensive food).

 

The dog got pneumonia less than a year after we got him. Then, when he was getting older he started having trouble walking and controlling his bowels. Many tests later, we had a vet make the final house call. :(

 

 

June 18 to 20 2010001.JPG

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2 hours ago, Charlie Harley, #14153 said:

 It wasn’t a cost decision at all. It was how much pain did we want her to go through, even if it was a pain that might have led to healing. She could not understand the concept of pain that leads to healing. We just didn’t want her in pain. 
 

This.

 

It's not about cost but quality of life. 

My pets have given me years of unquestioned love and obedience. 

I don't want to fail them.

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The most spent was on the last dog. A little over $3500. Seems it keeps adding up and after 2 weeks we end up putting them down anyway. But I have to try, they are my kids.

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One can shop for veterinary services a bit easier than for human health services.  In my experience, small town veterinary clinics that provide care to both pets and livestock tend to have lower fees.  It may be worth the drive.

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How much would I pay to keep a pet alive?

 

No more then what I paid for the animal.  Most I've paid was $5 for a German Shepperd mix.

 

One of the wife's indoor cats, age and kidney failure.  She brought it home from the Vet, Vet said $$$$$$$ or put her (the cat) to sleep.  I asked if she (the wife) wanted me to take care of the cat (Yellowhouse Sam's method) or the Vet?  She took it back to the Vet while I dug another grave in "our" backyard pet cemetery.

 

My chicken flock was old and the hens had stopped laying.  Burcher shop that would take live chickens went out of business.  Wife refused to eat the chickens.  I don't have a kettle large enough to scald the feathers off.  I decided to cull them last fall.

 

Sister-in-law made the comment how I love to kill things.  I corrected her, I don't enjoy it but will do what must be done.  

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My last pet was Jack, Captain Jack, or Jackson, his official name. Jack came from a shelter with latent medical  issues. 

These didn't manifest themselves until he had already established himself in our lives. He was with us about 10 years. 

Over the years we spent a fair amount of money on his wellbeing. Not a lot, but enough to keep him comfortable. 

When it became apparent that he was distressed, we took him on a one way trip to the Vet. The decision was strictly based 

upon what we perceived to be his best interest. It was one of the hardest days of my life. 

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We've put two down. Cuddles was suffering from kidney failure and just was time. Petted her until she was gone. Many tears, and I'm not afraid to admit it. Sadie got a uterine infection that we didn't get in time and went septic. She was a mess and suffering. The Emergency vet said they could try to save her at a cost of around 3 grand, but there  were no guaranties that it would work. Opted to put her down and held her until she was gone. Many,many tears. That one hurt bad. And still cost us a grand. There's two more senior dogs here now, the SIL:'s min-pin chihuahua who's a grumpy, arthritic old man at around 17 years, and Sadie's half sister, a long coat doxie who has problems walking and pooping( have to carry her outside to go now). Trying to just let them go on their own if possible:blush::(

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1 hour ago, J-BAR #18287 said:

One can shop for veterinary services a bit easier than for human health services.  In my experience, small town veterinary clinics that provide care to both pets and livestock tend to have lower fees.  It may be worth the drive.

I'll stick with our Vet, despite the Biden/Harris sticker on her car.

 

She only takes small animals. We had to have a horse/cow/goat vet euthanize my dog at home. 

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Tough call.

 

I have learned though that second opinions are worth their weight in gold. Chewy was a Papillon with very dainty legs. Playing with our other Papillon Billy he managed to break his left front very badly.  Closest vet was a Veterinary Centers of America. Cost $600.00 to find out that we would have to send him to another office 167 miles away for surgery with an estimated cost of 5 to 7 thousand dollars. That was way out of our budget so we had them immobilize the leg and we went home to agonize over what to do.

At work the next morning the office manager saw my long face and wanted to know what was wrong. Explained about Chewy and trying to figure out how to come up with the money. She made a call and told me about a vet in a small town 55 miles away that could save his leg for a whole lot less money. Took off work and spent an hour getting the x-ray from VCA.  Picked up the wife and dog and we were in his office by lunch.

 

Long story short he surgically repaired the leg and after the external wire cast was removed Chewy was a good as new. 

 

The best part is he did everything for a little over $700 dollars. He couldn't believe what VCA charged for the one x-ray.

 

I'll never darken the door of VCA ever again. 

Edited by Sedalia Dave
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My Sasha has had two expensive, to me, vet bills. 

One a stomach ache needing lots of tests to show there's nothing wrong.  $900.

The second, chasing a chicken under a moving Suburban.  $1,200.

My decision, when the question arises, will be based on the treatment effectiveness.  A complete 'repair' with return to normal life will get funded to just short of insolvency.  The beginning of a slide into life long suffering or disability, its time for euthanasia.  

Sorry, if that upsets anyone.

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As many have said, it depends upon the eventual outcome.

 

Custer contracted Parvo when he was a puppy. He required 24 hour care at an emergency clinic at night and at the vet's office during the day. He was treated and nourished intravenously. We almost lost him one night when his white cell count dropped to an almost fatal level. Fortunately, they were able to save him.

 

We would have spent whatever we were able to save him.

 

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Not much.

My daughter has a pair of $9,000 cats..
Each broke some weird hip phone, and the surgery for both came to right around $9k for the two.
Hell will become exothermic before I put out that kind of cash for a pet.

Edited by bgavin
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Chief Rick,

I agree.  Its about the quality of life.

 

I spent $1,000 on 2 separate occasions for a re-occuring problem on our 5 year old dog.  Benji was his name.

Great dog.   He and I played all the time.

 

When the SAME problem occurred the 3rd time in 5 years, with the doctors diagnoses it would probably keep occurring,

we decided to put Benji to sleep.

 

His problem was that he couldn't urinate and he suffered for days.  Only surgery would clear his urinary track

but it was only temporary.  

 

We didn't have the funds to keep paying serious money over and over for a temporary cure.

YES..... it broke my heart and I miss him.

 

..........Widder

 

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Hard to say. Most expensive, I had a horse that broke a bone in his pastern. Had to take him to Ohio State Vet clinic. Don't remember the cost, but they did right some of it off. My daughter had a mini Aussie that was diabetic. I would hate to think of what she spent on him.

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8 hours ago, Matthew Duncan said:

I corrected her, I don't enjoy it but will do what must be done.  

I was taught that I was under obligation to my pets for their health and comfort.  No excuses.

I had a 21 year old Siamese named Malcolm.  His kidneys failed and he lost 50% of his body weight in spite of the best diet and Vet advice available.

 I put a big towel in the dryer to get it warm. I wrapped him in the warm towel, took a shovel and a 22 pistol and we took a walk to the back of the place. I fulfilled my obligation.  I shed a lot of tears over the next few days, none for him but a lot for me.

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I was raised old school on it.   If you can't doctor it. Put it down.  My aunt literally went bankrupt paying for her dogs medical bills.  

  I care for every animal we have and have spent many sleepless nights with them .  I have several friends who are vets as well as being in the animal world most my life.  Stitched up many,  done c sections/pulled babies,  fixed prolapse, ruptures, etc   if it's something that I can't fix,  I do my best to comfort them then ease their pain. 

 The kids help butchering every year.  It keeps them grounded.  I personally hate killing things.  But I hunt and raise animals for food.  

 

  Genetics are key. You couldn't pay us to get an akc registered dog.  

  

Edited by evil dogooder
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Shortly after getting my pup, hje got sick.

 

Took him to the vet. $1,100 to get started (IV fluids, various X-rays, blood tests, etc.) Best guess was some sort of virus.

 

Took him to an old country vet... 2nd opinion. "Well, I'll tell ya, you can pay me a lot of money for tests and he might live and he might die. I can tell ya he is sick without the tests, but you know that already. If ya don't want to pay me a lot of many, try feeding him brown rice cooked in good (real, not canned crap) beef broth. He'll live or he'll die."

 

Hand fed him that for three days, trickled water into his mouth too (eyes and tongue showed he was dehydrated, saved $50 right there on a test). Fed him by hand for 3 days... He finally got up. Cost me $100 to adopt him in the first place. Wasn't going to put out big bucks, just can not do it.

 

But if there is a chance at quality of life, I'll do what I can. Cancer? Not gonna do it. Time to say good bye. Had one dog with seizures. Did the meds (cheap) for several years, but had to keep upping the dosage. Dog was no longer having fun. Time to say good bye.

 

There is no strict dollar limit in my mind, but common sense suggests reasonable limits. There is value in the training and socialization and familiarity. There is "replacement cost."

 

I see "replacement cost" as a floor, but resist over-valuing my investment in training and socialization. And if my pup is not enjoying life, my investment is already gone.

 

 

Edited by John Kloehr
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this may not sit well with some but - not as much as you - not because of the money at all , but because as a child i had a dog that died of distemper , i loved that dog and i lived the experience of his demise , i never want to go thru that kind of heartbreak again , do as you please ill never watch another of my family suffer such , 

 

i realise this is not the same - your post made me relive it and ive not thought of it in many decades 

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3 hours ago, Noz said:

I was taught that I was under obligation to my pets for their health and comfort.  No excuses.

I wrapped him in the warm towel, took a shovel and a 22 pistol and we took a walk to the back of the place. I fulfilled my obligation.  I shed a lot of tears over the next few days, none for him but a lot for me.

Yep.
Been there, done that.  It's just plain tough.
My last two cats and two chinchillas went to the vet for the Long Walk... every one of 'em took it like a man.
I did not.

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Throughout my life, the age of the pet and my financial situation dictated what to do....along with what is best for the animal.

My heart is a strange thing to me.   I have grieved over the passing of a family pet as much as I have grieved for the passing of human family members.  Somehow, those critters become family.

Ultimately there comes a time when the last act of love we can give to a loving and loyal pet is a graceful exit.

 

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Going through the cancer thing right now with an 8 year old lab.  Incidentally, I found out that 30% of labs will get cancer if they live long enough.  I don't know if that's normal for other breeds, it's just something I found while researching breeds for a new dog.  Double incidentally, I don't know why I research breeds because we always just go to the pound and get whatever mutt we like. 

 

OK back on topic.  It's not just cost, it's also dependent on prognosis.  As an example, I had a 14 year old shepherd who's kidneys were failing.  The doctor told me they could do a procedure and she'd have a 20% chance of it working.  That was fine with me, I was willing to spend the money but I asked him what exactly does "working" look like.  In this case it would give her a few months of normal life (not including however long it took her to recover), then a few months of deteriorating before she'd need the treatment again.  Rinse and repeat until that 20% chance finally caught up with her.  That didn't sound like living to me. 

 

With the lab we're 2 biopsies in and my wife wants to do a 3rd.  All since december.  I was going to take her to an oncologist, but then the snow storm hit and that got canceled and then I had to leave town for work. So when I get  home we'll go see what the treatment options are.  If we don't treat her, we'll find out about palliative care and make sure she's comfortable.  We get the vet to put our animals down.  That's not something I want to do.  I don't even want to watch but my wife makes me. 

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On 3/2/2021 at 7:16 AM, Charlie Harley, #14153 said:

It’s my observation that high dollar procedures for pets are also those which are complex, lengthy, and painful to the pet. Cancer treatments with surgery and chemotherapy come to mind. 
 

When Dolly came down with cancer, our vet offered us those options, but we opted to send her forward peacefully. It wasn’t a cost decision at all. It was how much pain did we want her to go through, even if it was a pain that might have led to healing. She could not understand the concept of pain that leads to healing. We just didn’t want her in pain. 
 

Sorry for the rambling. Gotta go get the dust from my eyes. 

Amen, my friend.  We've had to bite the bullet and help some good four legged family members go on ahead too many times.

 

It was almost as bad as telling the Doctor it was time to let my wife go.  She had said that was what she wanted and the rest of family honored her wish.

 

I expect no less when it's my time.

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19 hours ago, watab kid said:

this may not sit well with some but - not as much as you - not because of the money at all , but because as a child i had a dog that died of distemper , i loved that dog and i lived the experience of his demise , i never want to go thru that kind of heartbreak again , do as you please ill never watch another of my family suffer such , 

 

i realise this is not the same - your post made me relive it and ive not thought of it in many decades 

And yet we do, and we do it again and again. I'm not a fan of Kipling but he nailed this one:

 

The Power of the Dog

Rudyard Kipling - 1865-1936

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?


Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

 

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie—
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.


Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

 

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,


Then you will find—it’s your own affair—
But… you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.

 

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!).
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone—wherever it goes—for good,


You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

 

We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.


Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we’ve kept ’em, the more do we grieve:


For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long—
So why in—Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

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My only limit is avoiding the pet's pain. I have euthenized many pets when their quality of life has gone beyond the pale. Friday, my 20 year old 'Kitty"will have teeth cleaning and a extraction plus a general checkup. As long as she is lively and reasonably happy, I will do what she needs.

 

I had a 25 year old horse that I was glad to keep alive. I was out of the country on business when my cousin put her down because he thought she was too old and was worthless.

i never spoke a single word to him for the rest, of his, happily, short life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

idid not want

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This thread is kind of choking me up. We had to put down my girlfriend’s Doberman, Lady, almost two years ago now.

 

It started with a limp in her leg and yelping. A few x-rays later, and we had a rapidly growing mass into the poor thing’s spine. Stacy wanted to do hospice care at home for as long as she could, but when it got to the point of Lady having to drag her hindquarters unable to walk, I finally put my foot down and said I couldn’t watch it anymore.

 

I wasn’t mean about it. I just said that I couldn’t stomach watching her dog in that much pain, and we had a heart to heart on it. 
 

Our local pet hospital we go to referred a great country doc that came and did a home visit. I sat with Lady and him while I told Stacy to wait in the bedroom after the injection.

 

It’s a hard thing to go through, these furry friends that become part of our families. A few months later we adopted a rescue German Shepherd that my mom’s coworker couldn’t take care of anymore.

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On 3/2/2021 at 11:23 AM, Chief Rick said:

This.

 

It's not about cost but quality of life. 

My pets have given me years of unquestioned love and obedience. 

I don't want to fail them.

Sometimes I think people are thinking more about themselves than the animal. For me it’s about will my dogs be able to come back from the issues they are having? Or am I just prolonging the misery 

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On 3/2/2021 at 11:24 AM, Eyesa Horg said:

The most spent was on the last dog. A little over $3500. Seems it keeps adding up and after 2 weeks we end up putting them down anyway. But I have to try, they are my kids.

Forgot to mention the $3000 spent the year before to repair 2 torn ACL's ! It's never cheap to have kids, even furry ones.:) She tore them just walking down the hall.:(

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