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Was this $500 a Stupid Expense?

Mr. BFS and I own two dogs right now.  Mr. Pug is a 100% inbred Pug that we adopted in 2009 from PugHearts Rescue and he is around 9 years old.  I write about him the most since developed allergy issues in 2010 that cost about $2000 to clear up over a year and he still has to take a daily steroid pill and eat special vegetarian dog food since he is allergic to meat, dairy, soy, wheat, and corn.  Miss Doxie is a Dachshund mutt that we adopted in 2005 from the Houston SPCA.  She is around 15 years old and has never had many problems.  But she had surgery yesterday.

Quick Miss Doxie History

Miss Doxie came to us in 2005 pretty healthy except for her teeth.  We spent a few hundred on her then to have some rotten teeth removed and the rest cleaned.  Since then, her only vet bills have been for basic checkups and pneumonia that Oreo gave her a couple of years ago.  She has the very beginnings of cataracts, but there is nothing they can do about it at this stage.  And she has had a lump on her belly for a few years.  They did a quick scraping in 2009 and made a guess based on a microscope view that it was non-malignant cancer.  Since she didn’t seem to notice the lump, she was 12 years old, and it was growing slowly, we decided to ignore it unless it started hurting her.

$500 in a Week

Last week (the Sunday before this past one), she started licking at the lump regularly and actually licked a raw spot on her skin by the end of the week that looked really red.  So last Friday, I took her to the vet to get a general checkup and to ask about removing the lump since it was obviously annoying her at least.  They agreed that it needed to be removed, so we scheduled her surgery for yesterday and they sent her home over the weekend with some antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines to take to make sure the infection wouldn’t spread in the 4 days between visits.  So Friday’s vet visit was around $130.

Since she was being put under anesthesia, we decided to have her teeth cleaned for $40 yesterday as well (they had a $25 off special for February).  Between the pre-op liver and kidney checkup, the anesthesia, the lumpectomy, the teeth cleaning, the vacinnations she needed to be current for the surgery, and the post-op pain meds, the total bill came to about $370.

Was This Stupid?

So I spent $500 on a 15 year old dog over the last 7 days and have mixed feelings about it.  On one hand, I hope this means that she won’t be in pain because of that stupid lump.  I also think that we have the responsibility to take care of our pets.  But I am not sure if lumpectomies on 15 year old dogs are exactly in that category.

For example, they asked to charge an extra $35-$50 to have the lump sent off to find out if it was malignant or not for sure and I declined since the point is moot.  If it isn’t malignant, I just wasted $35-$50.  If it is malignant, I still wouldn’t pay for cancer treatments.  So, it really didn’t need to be checked out.  I have no mental hang-ups on that decision…but the lumpectomy and all of the other stuff…I don’t know.

Anyway, as I try to point out in all of my pet posts, please remember that they cost money and time.  I am a huge fan and proponent of having pets, but make sure you can afford it before jumping in.  If we didn’t have spare cash for pets, we wouldn’t have them.  I’d suggest that for anybody.

So, what say you?  :-)  $500 well spent or well wasted?

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19 comments to Was this $500 a Stupid Expense?

  • I think you did what we would have. You made sure your pet was comfortable as best as you could without wasting money on information that wouldn’t have changed your decision process.

  • I am not a pet lover, but if I were and had a dog, I would have done the same thing. You love your dog, and don’t want to see her in pain, so getting the lump removed was a good thing.

  • My dog is getting up there as well Crystal….Not looking forward to it! But we spend (decent) money on people (animals) we love!

  • You did the right thing. Just because she is an older dog doesn’t make her life less important. She may live two more weeks or two more years… you don’t know, but you owe it to her to keep her comfortable.

  • I don’t have a dog either, mainly because I love them and our lifestyle doesn’t support having pets. Now, if this lump hadn’t been bothering your dog, I’d say: forget about it and leave it alone. But she was obviously bothered and probably was in some pain with it.

    I think you did exactly the right thing.

  • I probably would have done the same thing. When we put one of my dogs down last year it was the hardest thing ever, and if I’d had a way to give her more time being comfortable and happy I would have done it. I don’t know that I’m the type of person who would ever pay for cancer treatment for a dog, but if my puppy is telling me that he’s in pain or discomfort I’m going to do what I can and what’s reasonable to me to help him.

  • You did the right thing to make her more comfortable. We adopted a 10 year old golden retriever last fall. She had mammary tumor removed and we declined to have it sent off as well.

  • retired

    You made the call, it must have been what you wanted to do. We have an Old English Sheepdog who is 13 and a retriever mix that is about the same or older. Both have lumps. Our dogs are larger, and the minimum for a surgery and recovery is over $1000. I am not taking them in to have the lumps checked out or removed, because they stand a good chance of dying in the surgery. They both weigh over 80 pounds. Paying for a surgery for a dead dog would really not make me happy. The dogs don’t care. They live each day as it comes. They hurt themselves and keep on going. They are there for me, I am there for them; but even though I can afford it, I am not going to spend more on their health care than I do on mine. I do help them up to use the bathroom, feed them, groom them, worm them and enjoy their company. But we all have to go from something, if the lumps get them, so be it. They have had them for 5 years, the lumps stopped growing when we started feeding them a home made diet several years ago. Dogs don’t need premium care to be happy, just don’t abuse them or PLAN to put them down when you get tired of them. I do not think you should have to be wealthy to be a pet owner. Any purchase that provides YOU with positive feelings, where you feel you got value, and which did not cause you undue pain, is a good purchase. To your own self be true.

  • If it was causing my dog paid, then yes I would have paid the money. Even if my dog were 15, I can only imagine that it will be hard to decide when is the “right” time for that.
    Heck, my dog is 9 now and every now and then I’ll cry at the thought of not having him around forever. We spent about $300 just because our dog hadn’t eaten in a few days. I think it turned out it was stomach bug. And my husband wasn’t working at the time, so it was tough on finances, ut we made it through.

  • You did what you wanted, because you could. That’s one of the advantages of being financially responsible: you’re able to afford going with your heart. Sad to say (and it really is) but if you’re not financially responsible, you probably shouldn’t be owning a pet, because things like these are the way of life.

    That’s just one those unspoken benefits if spending less than you earn, getting those debts out of the way and allowing yourself flexibility for these things. You can’t really call them unforeseen, because as Tony alluded to above, when your pets gets old (and sometimes even before) these situations come up and you’d best be prepared for them.

  • I don’t think there’s any question that you have a responsibility to get these things checked out and you definitely did the right thing.

    Pets aren’t for everybody, but if you make the decision to take on the responsibility of pets, you have to be prepared to pay if/when they need help.

    I hope she lives another 15 years!

  • @Mrs. Pop, thanks. :-)

    @Call Me, yeah. Thanks. And I totally thought you were a cat person, lol.

    @Tony, yeah, it’s just hard to know what is right and what will just make us feel less guilty…

    @Denise, yeah, it definitely changed our minds when she started licking at it…

    @Georgene, thanks. :-)

    @Sheryl, yeah, that was our line too – discomfort…

    @Mindy, I sort of gave the vet a crazy look…I wonder how many older pet owners find out their dogs have cancer and put them through chemo…

    @retired, I know your two dogs and yeah, I don’t think they would make it through surgery anyway since they are very well-aged for their breeds, lol. I can’t believe the little puppy we got in 1998 is still around. For Miss Doxie, it would have just been ignored if she hadn’t started licking it all of the time…

    @Newlyweds, sounds like you have a really great dog. :-) I hope it lives healthy forever for you. :-)

    @William, yeah, but I really hate wasting money…but I think in this case, we made the right choice. Just slap me upside the head if I ever talk about getting a 15 year old dog cancer treatments…

    @Daniel, thank you. :-)

  • I say you did the right thing. If your dog was in pain I would get it removed. You would do something if your kid was in pain and dogs are family too :)

  • I sometimes wonder about the necessity of such treatments also. Not only because of cost, but also because of what the animal has to go through with surgery. I think you did the right thing though. I would have done the same. Our pets bring us so much joy and life that we really do owe it to them to give them the best care. I wish someone would study up more on how vaccinations and surgeries affect our pets, and if they are really necessary. I know in the hospital they often leave tumors in humans alone if they aren’t causing problems. But again, if in doubt go with your instinct. Your dog is lucky to have an owner that cares.

  • I’d love to say it’s a waste, but we spent about that much on a 12 year old cat when her scent glands got infected and her butt exploded last year.

  • I would have done the same thing, but it would have cost twice as much here. One drawback of a small town is expensive vet care. Not enough competition I guess. No matter what the age, if it will improve quality of life and the dog is healthy, I’d go for it within reason.

  • Nancy Black

    A HIGH FIVE to you! $500 well spent..We owe it to our pets to take care of them to the best of our ability… It really doesn’t matter how old they are they deserve to be comfortable and healthy.

  • Have to agree with the money well spent.. but requirement to have spare cash for pets.. not 100% on.. we have 2 rescue dogs and the way i see it is, they are lucky to have a home and be alive as opposed to being put down in a shelter.. So it’s all bonus for them..

    I guess defining spare cash would help:P i don’t spend much to keep 2 dogs alive i’m guessing $320/yr or just under $27/month for total food and basic vet checkups..

    I would be willing to bet that people that spend more money acquiring there pet would spend more money on health care if the need arose.. does that make them better pet owners? i don’t think so..

    If don’t have a limit could spend thousands of dollars trying to save a pet that is in a lot of pain.. At end of the day we all have our limit.. just my 2 cents..

  • […] two and a half months ago, I wrote about spending about $500 on our 15 year old dog, Miss Doxie.  She had a lump removed from her belly and I was really hoping it wasn’t a […]