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$3,500!! What Would You Do?

March 5th, 2007 at 03:39 am



I took one of my two dogs to the vet Thursday. She's been coming up lame for more than a week. Although she's been to the vet before for the same sort of problem, she's never been lame for such a long period of time. This time, the swelling in her leg was down enough for the vet to find out that "Princess" has blown out one of her ligaments in her right rear knee.

The vet gave me two options:

One, just let it be and let her live with it, giving medicines to help reduce the pain.

Two, have it operated on...total knee replacement. Cost, $3,500!!!!

Princess is only 4 1/2 years old, an American Staffordshire Terrier, and one of the sweetest dogs you'll ever find. She was a rescued dog from a woman that could no longer keep her. I've had her about a year and half.

The vet said there's no real way to know what blew out her knee or when it happend. She said that Princess was such a muscular dog, that sometimes the ligaments just can't hold out against the power of the muscles. Princess LUVS to play frisbee and chase her sister (non-related) around the yard, even when her leg hurts.

It just kills me to see her in pain. The coated asprin and glucosamine she's been getting daily aren't working as they once were for her.

I'd like to get your thoughts. What would you do? Get the operation for her or let her live on stronger medicine?

6 Responses to “$3,500!! What Would You Do?”

  1. LuckyRobin Says:

    If you can afford it, do the surgery. If you can't, you can't. The vet might be willing to work with you on a payment program. She's a young dog, you don't want to make her suffer for several years if you can avoid it. What type of dog is that anyway? Is she part dalmation cause of the spots?

  2. Cheetahwoman7 Says:

    Hi Robin,

    She's an American Staffordshire Terrier. She's related to Pete the Pup from the Little Rascals. Yeppers, lots of spots, but purebred AmStaff.

  3. Ima saver Says:

    I am a real dog lover and I would have to get my dog's leg fixed. Maybe he could give you a payment plan.
    I took my doberman to a college vet. hospital 3 hours away and the cost was much cheaper for surgery, only $900. (but that was 12 years ago)
    I sure hope she gets to feeling better.

  4. Fern Says:

    What a nice doggie!

    I too am a big animal lover and i could not stand to allow my dog (or cat) to live with that kind of pain. Can you afford the surgery? Have you discussed payment options with the vet?

  5. scfr Says:

    What a pretty Princess!

    1. Know What You're Really Getting In To:
    Given her relatively young age, I would have the surgery done if I could at all afford it, but I'd want to know exactly what I was looking at financially, not just for the surgery but down the road:

    - Ask the vet about the total cost, not just the surgery but follow-up visits and everything. Will physical therapy be required? If so, what are the estimated costs of that?

    - Ask the vet about follow-up care instructions. Think them through, and ask yourself if you will you face any additional costs due to the extra care required post-surgery. [For example, if Princess won't be able to hang around outside during the day, are you going to have to hire a pet sitter to come to your house and let her out once a day? Are you going to have to send her "sister" to boarding for a few days to keep Princess' activity level down? Etc, Etc.] Follow-up care instructions often require cash outlays that vets simply don't think about.

    2. Look for Ways to Cut Down on the Costs: Ask your vet if there is anything you can do to reduce the charges, or as others have mentioned go on a payment plan (without interest hopefully). As Ima Saver mentioned, if there is a veterinary school in your area, they may be able to do the surgery for less.

    3. Look for Ways to Raise Outside Funds: Would the woman who you rescued her from be willing to chip in? If you got her through a rescue organization, ask them for ideas. And finally, this is a longshot but there is an organization called United Animal Nations that gives "lifeline grants" in a variety of cases, and one of them is in cases where Good Samaritans rescue dogs with medical conditions. It is possible you have had Princes for too long to qualify, but it wouldn't hurt to look. Their web address: http://www.uan.org/index.cfm?navid=161

    4. Protect Your "Investment": I'm sure you don't need reminding, but once the surgery is done, follow the after-care instructions meticulously to minimize the risk of reinjury.

    Good luck to you and Princess! Let us know how it goes!

  6. katwoman Says:

    Get a second opinion. Better yet, get one from a major veterinary school even if it means you have to travel one. No offense to any vets but major surgery should be done by vet surgeons who are up on the latest techniques. I didn't go to the vet school but I did have a well known surgeon perform the surgery on my dog even though I knew I had a competant local vet. The dog was my baby and well you know, only the BEST for him.

    Your doggie is beautiful, BTW.

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