Thursday, October 13, 2011

The budget just went to the dogs

I made an unexpected visit to the vet's office yesterday. I really hate going there. Not that I don't care about the dog's health, but it's impossible to get out without a humongous bill. Max had a cyst on his back that ruptured and needed antibiotics. And he was due for a couple of vaccines. And that's where it gets tricky - figuring out what he needs vs. what they're trying to sell. I turned down the bordetella vaccine - Max stays indoors and doesn't ever get boarded or socialize with other dogs. Then there was the blood panel to get a baseline for "senior" dogs and several other tests. When I declined, you would have thought I was signing his death certificate. I let them do a heartworm check, though I later regretted it. Max takes his heartworm pills and, again, stays indoors except for potty breaks.

It's so hard to draw the line when you're being looked at as the worst doggie mom in the world. The final bill listed the charges for what I had allowed. And then there were five or six items listed with DECLINED written beside them. I mean, what was the point of putting those on the bill if not to make sure I was feeling plenty guilty? The final bill was $225, which had to go on the credit card. Enough guilt there to cover everything else.

How do you decide how far is far enough when it comes to a furry friend?

Sarah

12 comments:

  1. That is a tough one and I have experienced the same attitudes as you have at the vet's. I once paid for the vet to try and save the life of a guinea pig my daughter had for about a week, to no avail of course though it cost me close to $400 so now I draw the line at "reviving"!!

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  2. I wish more people were my dentist. I go in, tell him what I want, and it gets done. No questions, no "but we can save the tooth." or whatever lines dentists use. Makes for happier customers/patients I believe. Hope Max gets well soon!

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  3. Heal up soon, Max! My vet (who I really like) does the same thing. This year my Bella, who is 8, went in for her regular yearly vaccines and then vet heard a heart irregularity. She told me a bunch of different options that I could do to check it out. I asked her how bad it was and she explained it all. In the end I choose to just keep a good eye on her. I think you have to have a vet you really trust and you have to use your best judgment. Some things just aren't necessary.

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  4. I have FINALLY found a great vet. She is a good country/farm girl with a practical city practice. My dog is vaccinated every 3 years as she recomends. IF there is heartworm in your area the test isn't a bad thing, but if you give Max pills to prevent on a regular basis I think they were just looking for more $$.
    When you don't have a dog that is romping in the fields and streams and with other dogs I don't believe that you need the full meal deal on him either.

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  5. I hate it when they try to sell you stuff like that. I mean, really? Our vet knows about my parent's dog, but more importantly, knows about my parents. So they are extremely reasonable and will work with both. They'll do check ups, and if there's extra stuff, they will tell them based on the dog's lifestyle whether it is something the dog needs, may need, or doesnt really need but the office is offering.

    That bill with 'declined' sounded a lot like my mechanic putting in all the services I didn't opt for...

    You seem to have very good judgment as to what your dog needs, declining vaccines for stuff he is not exposed to. I guess you know your dog best.

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  6. We had the same issue with our 10 at the time shepherd. The Dr said she felt that her spleen was enlarged, took expensive xrays, turned out she just hadn't pooped yet and it was her bowels she was feeling! So we paid over $100 to be told our dog was full of s@&t!
    This last visit was pushing the dental cleaning, which involves sedating the dog. She is 12 & 1/2, she can live with a bit of plague!

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  7. I'm with you, vets are expensive. My dogs need their yearly shots right now.

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  8. I dont have any pets right now but I agree with you some of those test aren't needed so why should you have them done. I think the doctors office of any kind is a weak point where people are afraid to say no.

    Congratulations on standing your ground!

    Judy

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  9. We have a traveling vet. She comes to the house. She even spays and neuters at your house with your assistance, I have raised (bottle fed kittens for her)she is very reasonable. I do not take my pets into a regular vet and I won't, unless the dog gets hit by a car. Then I would make the tough decision. Pets are expensive. But the bring us a lot of joy.

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  10. I was annoyed with Dads vet when he got sick, when I went through Dads bills I found out they'd been selling him the highest priced cat food for his cat for the last year or so! It was so overpriced, and DAD was so broke! Grrr...

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  11. I come from a rural background, and we've always had many pets. In my experience, most animals know how to take care of themselves and will let you know if something's wrong. As long as they have plenty of fresh air and room to run about (not cooped up all day) they really don't need all the shots/treatments vets try to sell you.

    My Nana's dog was always overweight, and she spent a FORTUNE on diet food and treatments at the vet (and on a pension, she really couldn't afford it), when all she needed to do was stop feeding her table scraps! A simple solution, but the vet was happy to keep taking her money.

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  12. I know exactly what you mean I have a thousand dollar kitty and my closing line with my 2 cats when I find them playing with something they shouldn't is "I can't afford your vet bilsl" as I take it way from them. Frankly I do the multi animal shot thing because I have 2 dogs and 3 cats but mostly for the other stuff I try to limit based on what it is, my cats don't go outside so that's my defining line. I have had emergency over night vet care to the tune of $700 last October. This is why I have a cat bills fund.

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