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Old 09-15-2011, 02:52 PM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,697 posts, read 23,672,920 times
Reputation: 35449

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We all know that having a pet is good for us in so many ways. But today I just found one way that is not so great.

It cost me $400 today at the vet's for my kitty. And all she had was her "Senior Exam" and some tests for a few old age problems she is having.

Not that I begrudge the money. The veterinary hospital I take her to is top notch and she gets the best of care. I have spent more in the past on my other cats but was working at the time so I could afford it.

Now that I am on a tight fixed income I wonder how, if she really gets a bad illness, I would be able to pay for her treatment. Or would I just let her go.

I have had cats for pets all my adult life. But I am thinking after Gracie goes to the Rainbow Bridge, she may be my last due to the cost of taking care of a pet.

Has anyone else faced this problem?
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Old 09-15-2011, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,982,141 times
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Unless my dog is obviously ill (which, knock on wood, she hasn't been), I never ever take her to the vet. I don't do the annual "wellness check" stuff. When a dog gets really old and infirm, I don't do the outrageously expensive and usually unnecessary round of tests to tell me what I already know: Fido is old.

The vets here will not give any shots unless an animal undergoes the several hundred dollar "wellness exam." I'm sure they have their reasons, but I have mine. I go to Petco (animal store) for the rabies and other shots, never cost me more than $25 at one time (no office visit charge). I did have my elderly dog euthanized by a vet. She wanted to do all sorts of tests that would have costs thousands. The poor dog was 15 (life expectancy for her breed: 14), half blind and deaf,n and had noncurable vestibular syndrome. Why on earth would I run tests??

I have friends who have spent thousands on their cats just for tests that were, according to them, "nonconclusive." I have learned that when an animal doesn't feel well, s/he stops eating. I never give a pet any animal treats when they're ill. Nine times out of ten, their fasting makes them pull out of what ails them.

That said, I would not hesitate to rush my pet to the vet if there were any kind of obvious emergency.

If enough seniors ask their vets for senior discounts, maybe the vets will "get the picture" and give us a discount (like at the movies). There may be clinics with sliding scale in your area; none around here.
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Old 09-15-2011, 03:34 PM
 
Location: SW MO
23,605 posts, read 31,497,588 times
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Love our two cats and have had dogs and cats (one lived to be 26) all my life but when it's their time, it's just that. Thousands won't make their end life appreciably better. It will just, maybe, prolong the inevitable. Time for them to go!
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Old 09-15-2011, 04:48 PM
 
Location: Bar Harbor, ME
1,922 posts, read 3,780,331 times
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I would find another vet.

I've never had any charges like that ever at my vet. When the vet had to euthanize our 6 month old lab for incredible dangerous aggressive behavior he did it for free.

In my experience this is not normal behavior for a vet unless you live in Hollywood, CA.
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Old 09-15-2011, 04:56 PM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,697 posts, read 23,672,920 times
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I only take my kitty in once a year for her shots and a check up. The clinic always asks if I want to give her a Senior Exam or just a check up which does not cost nearly as much. They will give her immunizations without it.

The problem I had recently was that she was not behaving her normal self and I was worried there was something seriously wrong. I did discover she is developing arthritis in her back. They did a few tests to rule out other problems she may have but in each case asked me if I wanted her to have them. I will get the results within the next few days.

I guess I got carried away and said "Yes" to everything. I kind of forgot that these things do not come cheap.

I would not spend thousands of dollars to keep her alive if she had anything serious. She is not a good patient and would be miserable taking shots and pills and traveling to the vet for checkups. And I couldn't afford it.

My 75 year old neighbor who also goes to this clinic is in the same boat as I am but her kitty does have more serious medical problems. She told the people at the clinic that she couldn't afford to keep her kitty alive at any cost and they did not try to talk her into anything. So I do trust them. And that will be Gracie's fate as well.

I like the idea of a possible Senior discount. Maybe that will happen some day. In my town we do have a nearby clinic that is cheaper than most. But I have heard some bad things about them so I don't want to take a chance and change vets at this point.

So I guess I will be hearing from them as to how her general health is. If there is anything serious, I will have to decide if I want to go ahead with any type of treatment.
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Old 09-15-2011, 06:45 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,982,141 times
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I have some natural wellness books for pets. The American Red Cross also publishes a pet first aid book, for emergencies. If I got a bill for $400 from a vet I'd pay it off a few bucks at a time. How long did you observe the cat's unwellness before you went to the vet? Unless it's an obvious emergency I wouldn't rush. I'd also look into what I was feeding my cat. A lot of cat food is really poor quality and can cause all kinds of illnesses. MIght be better to invest in the highest quality natural foods (or make your own), over paying those kinds of vet bills. Just a suggestion.
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Old 09-15-2011, 06:55 PM
Status: "Amityville Summer" (set 16 days ago)
 
Location: in my living room
1,131 posts, read 1,872,343 times
Reputation: 1723
I'm also on a fixed income. With 14 cats and 2 dogs there will come a day when I have to decide what to do in case of illness or what have you. I've been very lucky so far, just some URI's. I took one cat to the vet and told her I had 6 more at home with it. I got the meds for all of them, cost $60 total. That was 60 I could have used elsewhere, but these are my babies.
A senior discount would be great. Not that I'm complaining about the $60. But what happens when something more costly arises? It's something that I have thought about. For now, I just take it one day at a time.
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Old 09-15-2011, 06:59 PM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,697 posts, read 23,672,920 times
Reputation: 35449
Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
I have some natural wellness books for pets. The American Red Cross also publishes a pet first aid book, for emergencies. If I got a bill for $400 from a vet I'd pay it off a few bucks at a time. How long did you observe the cat's unwellness before you went to the vet? Unless it's an obvious emergency I wouldn't rush. I'd also look into what I was feeding my cat. A lot of cat food is really poor quality and can cause all kinds of illnesses. MIght be better to invest in the highest quality natural foods (or make your own), over paying those kinds of vet bills. Just a suggestion.

Good sugestions. She gets good quality cat food from a pet supply store and only eats a bit of dairy as a treat. The veterinary hospital would be fine with my paying off the bill in increments but I wanted to get it over with.

Ironically, I had set the money aside to pay the balance on my own medical bills. So now I am going to negotiate with my medical providers to pay those bills off in stages. They have a setup where people can do this.

I forgot to mention they also treated her for an ear infection I did not know she had. She has been slowing down and gaining weight since Spring. She was also due for her check-up and immunizations next month so I would have brought her in anyway.

What they discovered is she has spondylosis in her back and that was slowing her down and creating a weight problem because she doesn't get enough excercise. After the blood tests are done, we will talk about a formulary medicine that may help her since kitties cannot take NSAIDs that would be used to treat dogs and people.

She is healthy on the whole as far as I know. I got her from the Humane Society where she had been brought in as a stray at the estimated age of two. I have had her for ten years. So I don't know her medical background except she became very ill right after I adopted her and I almost lost her. So I guess I go a little nuts when it comes to her health.

But in the future, I may just change vets if I can find a less expensive one in my area. I am also going to look into whether or not there are any who give Senior discounts for Senior people and Senior kitties.
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Old 09-15-2011, 09:12 PM
 
4,132 posts, read 13,315,365 times
Reputation: 3783
OUrs does give a senior discount for pets and also for multiple pets - but you have to ask - when it comes to discounts, they don't volunteer anything. It's very nominal though but it helps. I remember getting annoyed once when they cleaned their ears and wanted to charge me for the bottle (to bring home) - w/ 4 dogs, I had the same thing home (and their ear cleaning was unneeded as they werent dirty) - another time they assumed we wanted vacc's and had the needles laying on the table in anticipation - I think sometimes they just see dollar signs. A friend in the midwest went to a vet where you could have a quick visit for a substantial discount, I think it was called a mini-visit and it very reasonable - most places don't do that though, I wish they did b/c there's so many pets needing homes and so many seniors who could provide loving homes but the bottom line is vet expenses which easily add up.
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Old 09-15-2011, 10:55 PM
GLS
 
1,985 posts, read 4,848,058 times
Reputation: 2408
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minervah View Post
We all know that having a pet is good for us in so many ways. But today I just found one way that is not so great.

It cost me $400 today at the vet's for my kitty. And all she had was her "Senior Exam" and some tests for a few old age problems she is having.

Not that I begrudge the money. The veterinary hospital I take her to is top notch and she gets the best of care. I have spent more in the past on my other cats but was working at the time so I could afford it.

Now that I am on a tight fixed income I wonder how, if she really gets a bad illness, I would be able to pay for her treatment. Or would I just let her go.

I have had cats for pets all my adult life. But I am thinking after Gracie goes to the Rainbow Bridge, she may be my last due to the cost of taking care of a pet.

Has anyone else faced this problem?

Not sure if it is applicable to your situation, but medical insurance policies for pets are becoming popular. You might research this option.
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