My Beautiful Trouble

My Beautiful Trouble

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What It Costs To Love Special Needs Dogs

For anyone who has ever loved and cared for a special needs animal companion, you know what an emotional and financial burden this can be. Vet visits, tests, wheelchairs, orthopedic braces, amputations, multiple surgeries, holistic and western medical care for cancer are what people who are devoted to their pets face time and time again.
To give you an idea of what these costs are, I will describe the costs for my two beautiful dogs who died from cancer.

Prior to their cancer (osteosarcoma), between the two of them:

3 TPLOs (tibial plateau leveling osteotomies) for torn ACLs (about $2100.00 for each one....$6,300.00)
2 implant removals (about $400.00 each... $800.00)
cancer care for both of them including amputation, MRIs, ultrasounds, chiropractic care, acupuncture, herbal supplements, pain meds, biopsies, needle aspirations, chemotherapy, radiation, blood tests, etc, etc... $10,000.00.

This is not to mention the time off from work to care for these special needs family members and the gasoline and food expenses from traveling out of state to receive the treatments.

So for two of my beloved animal companions, Fly and Trouble, whom I lost within a year of each other, $10,000.00 was spent on cancer care alone.

I sought legal advice (due to the fact that the non-medical grade metal implants used in their TPLO surgeries had corroded into their tibias) but was told dogs are only "property" here in PA. Also, the company responsible for making and using the non-medical grade metal implants filed for bankruptcy once they were notified by the attorney who contacted them concerning this issue with my dogs and the other ones. You are only entitled to the "value of the dog" and because they are "property" you cannot collect damages due to "property".... only the value of the dog. Of course to someone who loves their animals as I do, THEY ARE PRICELESS! I am very familiar with this out of date and ridiculous law, because my very first German Shepherd dog was killed while being boarded with a veterinarian. They let her get hit by a car the day I went away, and didn't try to save her life until the day after she was hit. She had a punctured lung, broken ribs, ruptured bladder, and more. When the vet finally did surgery, my dog had three cardiac arrests coming out of the anesthesia and died. She was only 13 months old. Legally, I was entitled to $20.00 because that's what I paid for her.

Something is just not right with this picture. And recently, I took my Kimber to the vet for her annual check up... ready for this one??? $772.00! For what? Bloodwork and x-rays... to tell me what I already know... that her bloodwork is good, her titers are good, and that she has arthritis. Was all this necessary? Who did it benefit.... my dog... or my vet? I'm beginning to think that the only way I will find an ethical, honest, caring veterinarian who honors the Hippocratic Oath taken is if I go to veterinarian school and become a veterinarian myself.