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  1. #1
    ang79 is online now Ruby level (4000+ posts)
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    Default Pets and vet bills......where do you draw the line?

    We have three cats, all were strays that we took in. They stay inside all the time, but we do take them for yearly vet check ups, rabies shots, and other shots if needed. Normally all is well (other than the male has ongoing IBD issues, but we just deal with the messes). Took all three in today to our normal clinic but saw a different doctor. We were told last year that the youngest has a slight heart murmer and what symptoms of distress to look for, so I mentioned that. The vet today agrees that it is a low grade murmer and then recommended doing tests to get a baseline picture of the heart, roughly $300. Which is doable, but she is still very young and the problem is very mild, so we decided to take a wait and see approach. Then my 13 yr. male cat was diagnosed with several teeth that need to be extracted. And because he is elderly, they need to do additional bloodwork to ensure that his heart and liver can withstand the anesthesia needed for the oral surgery. Total estimate is $1300-$1600! Other than that he is healthy for his age (minus the IBD issues). He does not appear to be in pain and is still eating normally. I love my cat, but that's a lot of money! And I just found out that both of my kids need to start expanders at the orthodontist and we have no ortho coverage. And I also need ortho work because my teeth are shifting. At what point do decide a vet bill is too much? That is a huge bill but we could probably swing it, it would just mean holding off on our many house projects for awhile. But, he is 13 yrs. old, is it worth it? Any vets on here who can chime in with advice? I asked the tech what the outcome is if we choose to not extract the teeth and he just said the problem will worsen and get more expensive, but he couldn't really say how fast the problem would grow or how long til the cat is showing signs of pain.

  2. #2
    niccig is offline Clean Sweep forum moderator
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    Default Pets and vet bills......where do you draw the line?

    I don't know. DH took our dog in as he peed multiple times in a short period of time all over the place and we worried about UTI. Several hundred dollars later, tests are normal, dog never peed that much again, then we found out he had eaten entire bag of salami DS had left out. So we're now taking a wait and see approach rather than rushing to vet.

    Our previous dog had 2 root canals, but she was younger and had many years left. It's hard to know what to do.


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    Last edited by niccig; 06-20-2017 at 12:10 AM.

  3. #3
    mackmama is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    This is such a personal decision. Our dog just needed his teeth cleaned due to very stinky breath, and we were told one extraction was likely necessary (our total was going to be $2500). We really debated doing it. But the vet explained to us that the loose tooth was due to decay and that a more serious infection could occur if we didn't clean it/treat it (still not sure if this was true or just a sales pitch, but we didn't want to risk an infection). They cleaned the teeth and decided the extraction wasn't necessary. Apparently they irrigated it will and applied a topical antibiotic to it in addition to some sort of sealant or something that we were told would tighten the tooth back up. He was also put on oral antibiotics. So you might want to ask if a cleaning/sealant could suffice.

  4. #4
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    the problem with bad teeth is they can abscess and cause severe pain. I had a tooth abscess and it was seriously more painful then when I had natural childbirth! And the infection can travel via the blood and damage heart muscle.

    That being said, 1500 for us right now would be out of the question for teeth. I guess we'd do what we had to but I doubt we honestly could make it work for dental on a 13yo animal. .... and this is from a person who spent 5000 for back surgery + rehab and chiropractic appts for the next 7 years on a dog. We were simply in a different financial position then and could manage it.

    So do what you can live with and dont be afraid to shop around.
    dd1 10/05
    dd2 11/09
    and 2 cocker spaniels

  5. #5
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    I suppose my first question is why they need extracted. Are they falling out? Causing severe pain? Affecting food intake? But, it would be a hard sell. Like I'd consider wet food first.

  6. #6
    ang79 is online now Ruby level (4000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by lalasmama View Post
    I suppose my first question is why they need extracted. Are they falling out? Causing severe pain? Affecting food intake? But, it would be a hard sell. Like I'd consider wet food first.
    During the exam she mentioned that he had several loose teeth (not sure how loose). He also has very stinky breath all the time.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by lalasmama View Post
    I suppose my first question is why they need extracted. Are they falling out? Causing severe pain? Affecting food intake? But, it would be a hard sell. Like I'd consider wet food first.
    Wet food won't help teeth problems. Pet dental care can help a cat or dog stay healthier longer and cats can live much longer than 13 years. But pet dental care is also has one of the widest price ranges and many people we know go to a lower cost vet for dental work. For OP, I would consider it but ask around and get another estimate. It is responsible and standard to do blood work before anesthesia. But prices can vary hugely for dental.


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  8. #8
    khalloc is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Yeah sorry, I would not be spending $1300+ on my cat to have teeth removed. I'd let it go and he'll probably be fine.
    DD 11/2005
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  9. #9
    bisous is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    My brother was responsible for a kitten and he let it out by accident. It ended up getting terribly injured by falling. Locally EVERYONE said the kitten needed to be put down, that the surgery he'd need would cost thousands of dollars and it might not even work but my brother just couldn't let it go. He ended up finding a veterinary school 5 hours away that would do the surgery for a fraction of the cost because it was a learning opportunity. He paid the money, the surgery worked great and the cat has lived an active and happy life! I guess the moral is to look around if the cost is a lot. I'd be hard pressed not to treat a pet because of cost but cost would be very concerning for me. It is hard and I'm sorry OP!

    ETA: 13 years old is really nothing for a cat! I had two cats growing up that lived to be over 20 years. They live much longer than dogs IME.

  10. #10
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    minnie-zb is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Thirteen is not that old for a cat. I think it's a personal decision for everyone. Me, I would do it as I would not feel okay with being responsible for shortening the cat's lifespan. But that is my decision and I know not everyone feels the same way.

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