Having seen some crazy posts recently about how much people and even rescues are spending to save sick animals – I thought this would be a great conversation to have!
We believe every life matters, but how much money would you spend to save your pet if they became very ill?
I was sucker punched by the pain of losing these two so close together – but they were old and had a fantastic long healthy life until those later years. Riley was filled with health issues from the time she was about 12 – from Lyme’s disease to Cushing’s we had a constant cabinet filled with medications to help ease her pain and discomfort. She passed out in my kitchen one day and we rushed her to the vet where we let her go based on our the recommendation of our vet.
Ginger on the other hand stayed healthy – well until Riley died.
After her sister passed she became lethargic and went downhill fast. We took her to the vet and found out she had a tumor – now keep in mind we had her in for a checkup about 6 months or so before and they found her happy and healthy.
She was just over 14 years old. Her sister was gone and she was showing a loss of love for life.
We could have treated her and tried to save her to get more time with her.
But, we didn’t.
We gave her pain meds – and waited until she told us she was “ready”.
Four months later she had a stroke – and we let her go.
It was hard – and sometimes I still wonder if we should have done more for her.
But between our 2 girls it is safe to say we spent well over $7K in the last 2 years of their lives. Most of that cost was for Riley.
Our Financial Choices!
All of the things below were considered with both our dogs in regards to what we would or would not do to help them.
Average Breed Lifespan
The average lifespan for a pit bull breed dog is 10-12 years, Ginger was a few months over 14 years when we got her tumor diagnosis, Riley was about 12 when we got her diagnosis of Cushing’s.
With both we gave thought to how much more life we would expect to get for either of them. They both lived very healthy – long lives, how much more could we really get with all the different medical innovations that are out there?
If you have a young dog – that will probably impact your decision, as it should. But for a senior dog that is at or past their lifespan expectancy does it make sense to spend thousands of dollars to help them live longer?
Pain & Suffering
Our dogs were both seniors – their bones ached, they were both losing control of their bladders, they were not walking as well as they had. Because I could not know for sure how much pain they were in – this was a tough one to consider!
Think about what they may currently be feeling – do you want to add to that? In my case for Ginger – we knew the tumor was causing some pain – would it be worth it to put her through surgery or cancer treatments and have her feel more pain? Would that pain turn into a better quality of life for her?
Because of her age – we did not think it would.
If your 5 year old pup is diagnosed with cancer – then the decision may be different since cancer treatment can potentially give them another 10 years or so of great life!
Can the treatment your pet is being suggested give them a good chance of survival? If a vet is saying it may give them a 20% chance of survival and the surgery is $5K – is it worth it?
Of course if it was 100% survival odds then absolutely!
This is a biggie – and of course everyones circumstances are different.
I do not feel we should JUDGE ANYONE for the choices they make and will not condone that. I have seen too many posts of people judging others – for spending too much or for not spending enough to care for their pets. Judging helps no one, so lets not do that please!
Everyone has different priorities in life – and while our pets are one of our top priorities in our own home, I would still not max out credit cards or take a loan to provide medical care that will not have a 100% certain outcome. Personally, we do not have a huge savings to dig into for these types of costs – the care we gave our girls happened because I worked extra to pay off the bill with our vet. That was the only way I was able to do what I was able to do for them.
If you have to go into debt to save your pet – then you should consider your decision carefully.
Outrageous Stories of Costly Vet Care
- Ten year old George is a goldfish that underwent surgery to remove a tumor on his head! His owner was so in love with him that apparently $200 was no problem to save his life and help him swim better and eat properly.
- Another lucky fish named Conquer who at just 1 year old was still a baby underwent a $500 surgery to remove a pebble he ingested. His very aware owner noticed he was acting differently and rushed him to the vet – where he received the surgery and went on to get back to his normal self.
- Bubbles was a rescue kitten who at the age of 7 developed colon disease and her parents were told he would die. Bubble’s owners had already spent $3K the prior year for vet care and medicines and now the only other option was a 4K surgery, which the couple decided to have done. So, over $7K was spent for the vet care to help Bubbles feel better – and thankfully the surgery worked and she is feeling great!
- Then there is the story of the NJ couple that took their 8 year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, named Remy, to Japan for heart surgery. After being diagnosed with mitral valve disease – the couple was told there was not many options to help him, but the couple decided that was not the answer they wanted. They later found a doctor and vet in Japan who could do a surgery to help their dog and they jumped all over it – at a cost of $17K – plus more for the travel needs to go to Japan to have it done.
What Are Your Thoughts?
How much would you do to save your pet?
Do you have a “plan” in place for emergency pet care?
Do you have a pet insurance plan in place?
What do you think about some of the outrageous stories above?