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Old 09-17-2009, 12:45 PM
315 posts, read 687,910 times
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My best friend has a small dog. Not sure what breed, cute little guy. He and is wife are at odds to the point of seperation. The dog has a bad rear leg and it requires surgery. The dog is 10 years old. the surgery is complex and will run almost $2000.

Five years ago, the dog broke his leg and required $1400 surgery, and my friend never said a word, was happy to pay for it. This time not so.

He argues with his wife that the dog is 10 years old and his best years are well behind him. They are, like most people in a not so good financial situation.

His wife, who thinks of the dog as her child, has said she will spend any amount of money to keep the dog going.

The vet said the dog has a good 2-3 years left of quality life if the leg is fixed, but said during those 2-3 years, he is likely to need more higher end vet bills as he is old.

They are at a total standoff here. I am leaning towards agreeing with my friend. The furry little guy is old and spending $2000 seems to be too much for a dog that at best case has 2-3 years left.

Your thoughts?
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Old 09-17-2009, 12:59 PM
Location: Montreal -> CT -> MA -> Montreal -> Ottawa
16,666 posts, read 26,726,373 times
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It's definitely a dilemma if they absolutely do not have the money. That said, if the money IS there -- even if they have it earmarked for something else -- I feel that they should have the surgery done.

I know that if Artie required surgery and I didn't have the money, I'd move heaven and earth to GET the money. No ifs, ands or buts about it. He's my responsibility. He's my baby. I would do whatever it took to take care of him. But that's me... The alternative is not in my realm of thinking.

Question: Is the dog in pain without the surgery? If they don't perform the surgery -- and don't have him put to sleep -- will the little guy suffer?
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Old 09-17-2009, 01:03 PM
Location: NW AR
809 posts, read 145,880 times
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One day I heard a vet talking to a lady who owned a little furry baby that was sick, but not to the point of needing to be put down. His advice has stuck in my mind ever since.

He told the lady, "As long as you love this little one, and he loves you and is not in any great pain, keep him alive." With that, she walked out with her little friend very much alive.

Tough decision that can't be made with haste. If they choose surgery, perhaps they could make arrangements with their vet to pay this bill out.

Just my thoughts, and as always.....Free!
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Old 09-17-2009, 01:21 PM
Location: Stuck in NE GA right now
4,585 posts, read 10,838,809 times
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I think it's a real personal choice, if they have the money OK, however, it doesn't sound like they do. Many many people are now being faced with these types of issues, so I hope if they choose not to have the surgery that they don't feel bad.
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Old 09-17-2009, 01:58 PM
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
9,354 posts, read 16,824,797 times
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it is apparent that the wife feels as strongly about the dog as many of us in here feel about our own .....

if they do NOT do whatever they can to help him, then my guess is she will be guilt-ridden over it for a VERY long time..... and possibly resentful towards the husband.......

many vets have payment plans and there is something called care credit....

your friend should also know that it is not unusual for smaller dogs to live very long lives, well into their teens..... so ruling out any other health issues, i'm thinking that 2-3 years life span is a pretty short estimate on the vet's part.....

tough situation that is happening more and more with the crappy economy.....
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Old 09-17-2009, 02:02 PM
Location: SW Kansas
1,787 posts, read 3,426,567 times
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For me it would really require more information. For example, is his rear leg injury a torn ACL? That's not unusual for a dog, and, they don't have to have it fixed. It's best if they do, but if they are confined the same as they would be following surgery the ACL can heal. The benefit of surgery is it will lesson the likelyhood of arthritis. Arthritis is a strong possibility anyway, given the dogs age. I had this conversation 6 months ago with my vet, and his advice was not to have the surgery done on my 13 y/o dog.

The other consideration I would have to have more information on is what kind of dog is this? Many small breeds live easily into their teens. I would not want to end my beloved pets life if his life expectancy could be so much longer.

They are separating, she wants to have the surgery, he does not. Will she get custody and can she afford it? If she can't, can she get a loan or will the vet take payments? So many variables.

For me the bottom line was quality of life. My dog Callie was fine without the ACL repair, in fact, she healed remarkably quickly. If the surgery had been required and recommended, I would have gotten it for her no matter what. She was my very best friend, my "baby". It was only a few months later and she was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma and I had to make the awful decision to euthanize her. It wasn't about the money, but at her age, the mean survival rate of the disease and the risks of the surgery there was no hope. Even knowing I did the right thing for Callie I've suffered greatly for having to make the choice to end her life. I would never force another person to make that decision against their will, I don't know if it would be an easy thing for either of them to have to live with.
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Old 09-17-2009, 02:14 PM
532 posts, read 1,101,804 times
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If the husband goes ahead and puts the dog to sleep without his wifes blessing, he'd be better of being put to sleep with the dog rather than sustain a lifetime of resentment and nagigng. It could be a mercy killing. They'd be better off keeping the dog and putting the husband down.
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Old 09-17-2009, 02:23 PM
13,313 posts, read 25,542,533 times
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If the marriage is strained to the point of separating specifically over the expensive surgery, I'd say they have other marital issues. Of course, money problems never did a marriage any good, either, so probably there are a lot of tensions.
I would consider what the dog's life/options are like without the surgery, and also that he needed it before and now needs it again, and his general health. I agree that 2-3 years seems short for a small dog (especially if he's a mutt) so maybe there's something else going on?
I would not want a marriage to end strictly over this issue, however, if it is a possibility, then the marriage might have some deeper problems.
I have always said I wouldn't let a man dictate by "dog life," however, I already have the dogs, and don't have the man, so...
I hope the person mentioned can do the best she can do, and live with the results. I mean, some people do want to keep their loved ones (people, animals) alive at almost all costs because they can't stand to see the loved one die, and that's not realistic either.
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Old 09-17-2009, 02:25 PM
Location: NJ
24,103 posts, read 30,219,984 times
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its a difficult decision and for 2k im sure id keep my dog alive. however, it is important that people think with their brains and not their hearts. a lot of people are already stretched thin and taking on additional debt with ridiculous interest rates isnt wise. there is a lot of guilt that comes along with letting a dog die. my mom still feels guilty about putting her dog to sleep, and she was suffering and couldnt have had more than a couple months to live anyway.
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Old 09-17-2009, 02:25 PM
1,688 posts, read 6,907,055 times
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Originally Posted by WilliamHarman View Post
They are at a total standoff here.
Yikes. Not good for anyone concerned.

First of all, I honestly do not believe there is a right or a wrong answer here. People have different priorities, end of story. And, human nature being what it is, once you throw money into the fray... things seem to deteriorate rapidly.

Still, I'm a great one for trying to find middle ground. Sometimes it's possible, sometimes it isn't.

For example, have they asked the vet about a low/no interest payment plan? If the issue is cash flow rather than the outright cost, this might help. There's been mentioned on some posts here some sort of third party that does this for veterinary expenses, but the name escapes me.

However, while that might cover the initial whack, it's not going to solve the problem of the dogs upcoming years because then it's going to become a whole different question - then it's going to become "Where do we draw the line? At what point do we say, "Enough"?

Again, there isn't a right or a wrong. Some might be willing to go into bankruptcy, others wouldn't be.

It sounds as if what's needed is a mediator - it's too emotive otherwise.

I do hope their relationship weathers the storm.
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