what about people who can't afford medical care for their pet?

vacuumfreakJanuary 21, 2007

I have seen some posts on pet forums where the attitude of the poster was "If someone can't afford any medical treatment their pet needs, they don't need to have one." I patially agree... just not with the "any" part. If someone is going to neglect their pet or not do annual vet visits, then there is a problem. Or if someone can't hold down a steady job and is taking in a 6th cat or 2nd dog or whatever the case may be, THAT is irresponsible and selfish. I am a college student completely supporting myself... if something happened to my cat that required surgery that is over 500.00 I would not be able to pay for it. I would have to seriously condsider the alternative. Does that make me a bad pet owner? OF COURSE NOT! Unless you think my cat would have been better off getting euthanized at the shelter, or run over by a car on the street! At least the time we shared together was happy for both of us. If people have the money and don't want to spend it, that's one thing. But, if I have to choose between paying the bills or giving my cat heart transplant (or whatever he would need), I believe at that point MY survival would be more important. And of course pet insurance is always an option, before something goes wrong that is.

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Very thought-provoking topic, as usual VF.

Nothing against college students, but it's really not the time to have a pet. I was once a college student and back then I probably wouldn't see how it wasn't a good living situation for a pet but it really wasn't. I don't know much about cats or if they work the same way as dogs as far as needs but college students don't have any money, their living situation is very unstable. For some, residence changes every 6 months. There is little to no income other than what parents give or student aid or what you can scrounge up working part time. To most college students, $500 seems like a whole lot of money.

Now with that off my chest, someone that had everything going for them at the time they acquired their pet, a stable residence, income, and TIME, if they suddenly came across really hard times, you can't blame the person for not being able to prioritize bills over surgeries but unfortunately something else has to be realized. If the pet has a serious medical condition and the owner cannot afford to provide that medical care, even if they were once millionaires, then I hate to say it but the responsible thing to do would be to find a new home for the pet(s) as hard as that might be to do.

There is something else. If a vet said your old senior pet needs a $2,000 procedure and has a fairly high chance it will not survive anyway, this kind of scenario would not apply in my opinion.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 1:33PM
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LOL!!! ;~)I can remember a time back in the stone age when it was unheard of to take a pet to a vet. Probably would have been laughed out of town.

We can only do the best we can. Use a little comman sense. We treated our pet as we did ourselves. Using what ever knowledge we had.
That was usually all we had for ourselves and pets.

I could'nt in good conscious spend $5OOO Dollars on my beloved pets. When i would'nt spend 50,000 on heart surgery for myself. I beleive me and my pets
will have a better life after death anyway.

Its all a matter of beleif. I'm not meaning to be ugly.
Hug your pet today,

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 7:26AM
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I agree totally with what Oakleif said about "Me and my pets will have a better life after death anyway." Ya see, pets aren't afraid of dying...that's a human thing that we have in our brains...animals don't care if they die, we care if they die! If we can afford a $500 surgery that's fine but if we can't that doesn't make us bad. I believe it's much more important to give your pet love and care for the years it has on this earth and it's not required for us to spend thousands to cure an ailing pet. I believe that a dog owner that doesn't take their dogs on walks(if they don't have land to run on) daily is not doing what a responsible dog owner needs to do...JMHO!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 8:46AM
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Assuming it wasn't cosmetic surgery or botox injections but some treatment or meds for hypothyroidism or something common like that. There are health insurance plans for pets.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 8:50AM
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I have three dogs, which I recognize as my limit. It's huge amounts of work and money. Last January I lost my old girl. She had numerous issues, two severe.

I first started dealing with her problems when she was about 3 years old (hip dysplasia). The vet recommended surgery. I said no, even though it was a severe diagnosis. When ever this issue comes up for my dogs, I instantly say no, not because of the money, although of course it is about money. I really have a difficult time justifying putting the creature through all of that. In my mind, the Divine is in charge of the creature. The Divine will do protecting either here on earth, or in the another life.

The vet also said to not let her run. I also said no to this. Dogs gotta run!

She lived to be 14 years old. Why? I attribute it to good diet and exercise. My vet says I'm her poster child for keeping a dog going for so long with so many problems.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 9:39AM
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I think alot of people don't understand the cost of vaccines, blood work and preventative care. If you cannot afford the basic minimum then you should not have a pet.

Many communities offer low cost spay and neuter programs.

And another thing alot of people don't understand that pets get sick and need medical attention.

I don't necessarily think that pet owners need to provide costly surgeries for their pets, but I do think they need to be able to provide the basics and the occaisional emergency.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 10:33AM
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Well, I don't have the comfort of having the belief system that other members do, but I totally agree with Spiritual Gardener. A year ago, I was faced with having Toby in surgery to see if lumps were cancerous. Luckily, they weren't. That same day, my Megan was bleeding internally, my DF-in-Law called me home from work because she was in distress. The ER vet figured it was cancer, did surgery, and found she was filled with it. She was euthanized during surgery.

These incidents made me think a lot! Would I have put Toby through chemo or radiation? I am not sure. SG points out that he cannot understand what we are doing to him. It is one thing for me to chose this for myself, knowing that there is a reason for the "torture" I am putting myself through, but could I do this to a dog who could not understand why I was making him go through something that makes him feel sick?

On the other hand, I easily put Megan through that surgery. If there was a chance to save her with fixing something with a single surgery, that was definitely something I wanted to try. I also put Toby through the biopsy surgery. Sometimes just cutting out a tumor can fix the problem, and I did want to know what my options were for him. Luckily, it was a fatty tumor. He did get his teeth cleaned while under, too.

I do have health insurance for my dogs, so that gives me more options. I can decide to try these medical options without as much concern for my wallet, knowing I will get some of the cost back. Of course, you have to be fairly affluent to spend $200-$300 a year for the insurance and I know how lucky I am to be able to do this.

I know someone who recently sent their pug to a rescue because the dog was eliminating in the house when he got gated into the kitchen to keep him away from the crawling baby. The dog was older and the home very small, so the family had a hard time with the problem. Being overwhelmed with a 5 year-old and an infant, having parents who needed their help (emotionally, financially, and time), they just could not deal with the dog's problems. I so wished that they could have kept the dog and felt sorry that they did not have access to monetary help to care for the dog. Maybe the dog needed medical care, trainers, or even some day-care to wear him out more. The family was sad to lose the dog, but did the best they could to ensure he would get a good home. I know this family through my professional life, so I could not offer to help (if I had even known about the problem before the dog went to rescue). Once the dog was in rescue, I could send a donation, though. Wouldn't it be nice if I could have contributed to a charity that allowed the family to KEEP their dog, though? We need a fund that is a tax-deductible charity (so people will give $ to it) that will help families like this.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 10:56AM
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VF, your post shows that you carefully thought through the financial impact of adopting a pet. So, I don't think those posts apply to someone like yourself.

However, some people do not think about finances before they bring an animal home; instead they act because the animal is cute and cuddly, without thinking through the cost factor. And, then once the animal is home, they discover that an animal's routine annual vaccines/meds and wellness exam runs, say $250 a year, they opt to forgo some or all of the animal's medical costs. And, if the animal needs more (let's say he has a chronic condition that requires expensive meds), he is unlikely to get what he needs to be healthy.

Also, in life threatening situations some vets allow owners to pay the costs back in installments, at low or no interest. If anything bad ever happens to your pet, that you feel you cannot afford to fix, always be sure to ask this question.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 11:38AM
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I think joepyeweed says it right. I have three cats. One of them has had basic wellness exam plus vaccines, level 3 baseline (all blood tests, urine), dental cleaning with three extractions and full mouth xrays, and an xray on the bladder. I consider all of these except the bladder xray to be part of the basic care for a cat.

Not that all cats need regular teeth cleaning, but some do. Ours had two 'neck lessions' where the roots had almost dissolved and the sorrounding gums were red and painful. The other was a simple cavity.

The bladder xray was to rule out any possible issues related to finding blood in the urine (luckily nothing there).

This was a lot of money to do all this (about $900). I wouldn't consider any of it beyond the normal. Things like this all need to be taken into consideration. There can always be the unexpeted.

There are other costs with cats too. Some may need prescription food or medicine. One of ours takes medicine every day. These types of costs all need to be considered as part of basic care and basic treatment of problems. People neeed to consider these before adopting a pet.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 1:52PM
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But, I also believe that some vets also encourage pet owners to get medical treatment that a pet doesn't need or isn't going to necessarily help a sick pet. For example, I have a local vets office that recommends a vacinnation for lyme disease, even though I live in the city and my dogs are only outdoors to elimate and to go for walks. The same vets office often has dogs in every six months for teeth cleaning, despite the fact that many of these dogs don't need to have their teeth professionally cleaned that regularly. Also most rabies shots last 3 years, and the DTTP shots usually last for life. So I don't understand why would you pay to vaccinate an animal every year of it's life when it doesn't need it. I totally believe in regular care, and getting your pet a yearly check-up, keeping a pet on heartworm preventative, etc., but I don't believe in over vaccination or trying to treat animals like humans.

If one of my dogs developed cancer, I would happily pay for surgery if there was a relatively good indication that my dog wouldn't be overly stressed and would recover. However, after seeing what chemo and radiation does to humans, I wouldn't ever put one of my pets through that.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 5:44PM
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Annual rabies vaccines is required under the law here.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 6:44PM
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Here, you may get the three year version, luckily.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 8:29PM
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There are some state programs that may help if you cant afford to help your animal. Usually the local animal shelter and places like this will give you numbers of vets who may perform the procedures for less.
You can always try asking vets if they will work with you with some sort of payment plan.
I dont have insurance for myself,but I have dished out 300 dollars easy to help my pet before. They way I see it is,they are part of the family and you do what you cant to help.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 11:14PM
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But, I also believe that some vets also encourage pet owners to get medical treatment that a pet doesn't need or isn't going to necessarily help a sick pet.

This is very true. There are vets out there who care more about their profit margin than about the health and well being of their clients. There are human doctors who do the same thing.

When seeing a vet/MD, you should always ask the question...does my animal (or do I) really need this?

The rabies vaccine is a great example. When my dogs get their vaccines, I get a certificate from them that expires in 3 years. I can use it to renew licenses for this year and the next 2. So, they do not need annual rabies shots to be "legal". If my vet wanted to give "boosters" the following year, I would ask why it was necessary. I would also sayr point blank that cost is an issue. And, I would probably go and find another vet if the answer was not satisfactory.

Some people, when faced with such a situation might opt to quit taking their dog to the vet, because of the cost. People stop going to see their MDs for the same reason.

As an aside, I have found many caring vets who do take cost into account when discussing an animal's options for treatment. They are out there, you just have to find them.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 9:22AM
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Well the annual vaccinations are required here but that's the license. The tag you get. There's no other license.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 10:10AM
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I think whenever you take a pet into your home you should look at the long term commentment of that pet. There are costs that are necessary to maintaining a healthy pet thru the 12 or 15 years of their lives. Why would you get a car if you could not afford gas or tires? Why have a pet if you cannot afford good food, preventives, and medical care? I do not think your average veterinarian is in it for the money, after all, they paid just as much money for their degree as a "human" doctor but he or she cannot charge the same prices that "human" practioners can. Rather most offer ALL options regardless of price and because most do not have the equipement necessary will often have to "refer" clients to speciality hospitals therefore make no money on "high priced" procedures.

I guess what I really want to say is - "Think before you adopt!" It is not cheap and it is not free. Your pet deserves the same treatment, medically, as you do!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 5:44PM
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emma1420- I just wanted to comment on your belief that animals have a hard time with chemo or radiation treatment.

About radiation: First of all, only extrememly wealthy people can even consider it. A round of radiation treatment at school would cost about $4000 to start, assuming the animal only needed one round. In most cases, radiation is used in conjunction with other modalities such as after surgery (factor in another $2000 for that) and/or chemotherapy (very variable cost). In most cases, the area being irradiated is not the gut, which is where most people run into trouble with GI sickness. Most animals do just fine and the only way you'd know they were receiving treatment is the permanent blue marker showing where they are being irradiated and some hair loss. Of course, dogs don't care what they look like LOL!

About chemotherapy: that is a VERY broad term. For example, the simplest chemotherapy treatment for feline GI lymphoma is prednisolone. Not only is it very inexpensive, but the owner can easily administer it at home. And not only do the cats not feel bad while on the pred, it actually makes them feel pretty darn GOOD. Animals tolerate chemo a LOT better than humans.

That isn't to say that there are not risks. Certain drugs can cause GI upset, but the dose can be tapered next time so that doesn't happen. Some drugs can cause anemia or neutropenia, but again the dose can be tapered or the vet may elect to delay the next treatment.

But on a whole, animals fare very well with most types of radiation and chemotherapy. Please, if you are ever faced with that decision, and I certainly hope not, don't automatically not consider all of your options without asking about the specific drugs or radiation treatment and potential side effects first. You may be surprised how well animals do under treatment.

Now that THAT's cleared up LOL!

I totally agree with joepyeweed. Any pet owner should be expected to provide reasonable preventative care at least.

I have absolutely NO tolerance for people who allow animals to suffer because they can't afford medical care. Rotten teeth hurt. You don't have to do a dental every six months (probably- I know some animals who do), but if there is gingivitis and loose teeth, that hurts. There is no excuse for not relieving that animal's suffering, either by administering pain medication, getting the teeth cleaned, giving up the animal for adoption by someone who will care for it properly, or humanely euthanizing the animal to end its suffering.

I also have absolutely no tolerance for people who instead of allowing the vet to humanely euthanize an animal that has a progressive terminal disease, taking that animal home and "letting nature take its course" without addressing pain and suffering. I can't imagine anything more cruel besides outright torture. There is no reason on earth that a pet who has loved you unconditionally for so long should have to go home and slowly starve or otherwise suffer until death just because you don't have the money to fix the problem or are too guilt-ridden to have the animal gently relieved of suffering. They deserve better than that. If you are going to take the animal home, you better be prepared to relieve suffering and pain.

There is no right and wrong for how much to spend on problems. I am lucky being in the vet business that many things can be done cheap or free. Even so, I managed to spend over $6000 in the last 3 years for major pet diseases. That doesn't include routine stuff at all. I certainly don't expect that everyone can do that, and that's fine. I understand that $500 is a lot of money for some people. I understand that $50 is a lot of money for some people. And that's fine too, as long as the owner takes responsibility for the health and quality of life of their pet, not allowing the animal to suffer or to be in pain.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 8:20PM
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Rabies are required by law in most states I think. Ours used to be the three year version but just changed to one year - they indicate that their research shows less risk with the one year shot. For cats, there is a risk of developing cancer at the spot of the injection, and they indicated less with the one year. I think for other vaccines - it depends. For instance, we do skip the FeLV for our strictly indoor cats - but it also meant that when we introduced a stray to our house we had to be careful to keep them apart for 10 weeks. An initial negative doesn't always mean negative.

As for other things, I used to think our vet was trying to sell too much. For instance the teeth cleaning and extractions on the one. But all I had to do was look at the xrays and painful red gums around the tooth to see that it was needed. For the other two cats, they have not yet had their teeth cleaned and the vet does not push it.

I used to think the baseline testing was a waste. But then posed the question on this forum and was told that most thought it was a good thing. And, think about it, I get bloodwork myself each year. And, after the scare about blood being in the urine of our one cat, I plan on doing it annually going forward.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 8:26PM
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Great post meghane...

    Bookmark   January 24, 2007 at 4:22PM
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Total agreement with Meghan.

nova writes: "do not think your average veterinarian is in it for the money, after all, they paid just as much money for their degree as a "human" doctor but he or she cannot charge the same prices that "human" practioners can. Rather most offer ALL options regardless of price and because most do not have the equipement necessary will often have to "refer" clients to speciality hospitals therefore make no money on "high priced" procedures."

I respectfully disagree. It is the way they make their living. Each vet has a different benchmark for what kind of lifestyle they are trying to keep themselves accumstomed.

I know for a fact that my former vet was highly inflating prices of medicines and procedures. The significant difference in price drove me to seek care for my pets with another practice. I happened upon this practice because my daughter was volunteering there, and she saw that the practice was a good one and the entire staff very dedicated and compassionate. Every time I am there (often between picking up meds and visits), the office is always full and there are 4 vets working. I have never felt rushed at any appointment. All of the vets give you the opportunity to ask questions and be given answers that a layman can understand. There is no waiting as you might expect with such a busy practice. I really think the dedication of the entire staff of the practice really makes it a good experience for all of their clients.

I planned on changing all of my pets, but I was nervous about changing old gal's vet with her having so many health issues. It was a pleasant transition except for the transferring of the records from the former vet. Old gal has now been with our new vet for two years. They have been more accommodating, have emergency service (old vet used to have emergency service, but then changed to directing emergencies to a service at least 45 minutes away).

The difference is just unbelievable. Every medication is at least 30-50 percent cheaper with our new vet. I was paying for the new building and "bells and whistles" of the old vet's practice, i.e.; nice furniture and decor, etc. I shouldn't have to pay her vet school bills.

Old vet constantly "over-treated" things and everything was starting to be attributed to allergies. This allergy thing was not just my experience but several family, friends and acquaintances I referred to this woman. I was so disgusted at the last visit with her, and her conclusion that my pet was experiencing allergies, I told her straight out that I was hearing from many of her clients (people I sent her) that she was recommending all kinds of allergy related testing, foods, etc. It was ridiculous. I realize there are animals with allergies, but every single person I referred to her had a pet with an allergy???

I am also curious why she chose to make a 50 percent mark up on medication.

So my point is that there are vets out there who are making money off the backs of pet owners, and there are some really good vets who are making a living, but not raping their clients.

If you can't afford the cost of proper care for your pet, you should not have the pet. An animal can't seek its own care and you as the owner (mom) are the advocate for your pet and if circumstances arise where you cannot do that anymore, it might be the time to think of another plan for your pet. I have also found that a majority of vets will work out a payment plan with an established client if an emergency or expensive situation arises. Ask, you may be pleasantly surprised that the vet will set up a payment schedule with you.

My "new" vet takes a different tact. He knows I have 6 pets and want the best for them. He and his entire staff of vets use practical reasonable solutions. Most times they start off with a blood work as a baseline, but I don't see all of the testing recommendations that the old vet was ordering. She was spending my money. It was especially obvious when my DH would attend a vet appointment that she was able to "manage" him into spending more money. When I would attend the visit, I would ask more questions, what are the alternatives, etc. She couldn't work me like she did DH.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2007 at 7:01PM
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I think each person has to evaluate their own vets. In our case we did evaluate ours as we they are more expensive than others in the area. But decided that most of what they were "pushing" (see above) was really normal care. Also, as for being more expensive, we go to a cat only clinic and the clinic has the only veterinarians in the state of Wisconsin who are board certified in Feline Practice. So, figured they are entitled to charge a little higher. One of ours has major health issues so for now at least will stay where we are.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2007 at 8:39PM
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Wanted to explain my earlier post. I did'nt mean i would'nt do ordinary care. My dogs get their shots and a check up once a year and take heart worm medicine,flea and tick repellant,but i could'nt pay for a major surgery or extensive health care. Med Ins is expensive for animal or man.
I'm on Medicare and medicine Ins(the cheapest) and thats it. If i would have to have a surgery or extended health care that would leave me with a big bill, I would decline to have treatment. I go to doctor but that don't mean i'll do everything he says. Oh and i do take flu shots.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 3:23PM
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Cat Sooty went to the Vet this morning - routine vaccinations: 3 year rabies and 3 year FeRCP&Leuk; she had a routine limited Office Exam, ears were clean, teeth perfect, weight just right; as a routine she got a dose of pyrantel and also a dose of Revolution, primarily because mites are endemic in my location. It all cost $62.98 and now she is good for three years, unless, of course, she comes up with signs of illness. In that event she will be seeing the vet.
Like Vickie, I am on fixed income and Medicare. Personally I don't do yearly check-ups either, don't feel the need for them as long as I am in good health.
Maybe I should not have my pets: Sooty, born of a feral mother, Taffy, whom I raised with a bottle when he didn't even have his eyes open, Taschi, a min-pin type, who was a gift from a friend, and Gussie, a formerly working cow-dog, who had been abused or at least treated harschly and whose
owner was going to shoot her because she didn't work out.
All these animals would have been dead if it wasn't for me giving them homes.
Cats are inddor/outdoor, I have no fenced yard for the dogs - they just like to stick around, and Gussie sleeps in an Igloo outdoors, because she can't be trusted in the house when I am not around.
Tell me that I am not a responsible pet owner.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 3:22PM
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lilod - your pets don't go for yearly check ups? I never heard of a 3 yr. FRCP and Leuk. What about distemper and other vaccinations that are given yearly? Also, the Revolution dose is only good for one month. Do you refill it and give it monthly? The price you paid was very reasonable for a check up, shots and a dose of Revolution.

If the cats are outdoor/indoors, I would think they would be better off seen and vaccinated yearly. Perhaps I misread or misunderstood the post?

Do the dogs go for yearly check ups?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 3:36PM
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Wasn't sure about that either as lilod also mentions 'as long as I am in good health'......

However, my vet uses a FVRCP intranasal vaccine that is good for three years. Can't say about FeLV as we don't do that since our cats are indoors only.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 4:26PM
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FYI only - regarding what my vet mentioned about rabies vaccines. Did a search on the internet and found this:

A new canarypox vector rabies vaccine is available that has minimal tissue irritation and so it may be less likely to be associated with soft tissue sarcomas. However, this hypothesis has not been proven.The canarypox vector rabies vaccine is currently only approved for intervals of 1 year.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 4:41PM
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All I can say is that my vet, though he is a country vet, keeps up with seminars and continuing education, he is of the opinion that is is not necessary to vaccinate yearly.
Revolution for cats doesn't have to be done monthly, I like to keep it up more in summer when we have mosquitoes. The dogs get it every month.
Dog vacs come from the feed-store, my daughter works there. She gives her and my dogs and her horse the required shots.
My dogs stay pretty much on the property, Taschi is 13 years old, Gussie is five years old and she was, as I said, a ranch dog, unspayed, never tested for heartworm and never vaccinated for anything. She was also extremely shy, never had been in a house, so the first trauma was vet: heartworm check, and appointment for spay, shots; she survived, still lives mostly under my desk in the daytime, but follows me when I am outside and has a job: checking the fence around the goat-area to make sure the goats stay behind the fence; she loves it. This is a bit OT, please forgive me.
Actually I am told I "spoil" my animals, There is a certain Cowboy attitude around, which says" Why waste money on a vet - a bullet costs only a nickel"

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 5:01PM
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Oh - labmomma - the FVCRP vaccine I mention covers distemper.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 5:16PM
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silvergold - yes I understand but is it effective for 3 years. I guess I am missing something. We go for yearly visits. Rabies is every 3 years but the rest of the vaccines are yearly???

Has something changed?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 6:14PM
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Yes things are changing in the inoculation world. There is evidence that distemper is pretty much a lifetime shot, in dogs. Think about it. We get Measles, Mumps and Rubella only when we are young, and we are fine for life. Mumps are very bad for adults, but we do not get boosters. The pneumonia shot was a 20-year vaccine, and they are doing it more frequently now-but not yearly! The only reason we get flu shots yearly is because each year they do different strains, based on expected outbreaks.

Conservative pet owners are now getting blood tests done to test how much immunity is still left for a given disease. When the titer shows vulnerability, THEN the animal gets reinoculated.

I believe that iliod was saying that SHE does not go to the doctor yearly - she goes when something is wrong. She does the same for the animals, except that she does stick to a 3-year vet exam schedule for them - more medical care than she provides for herself.

Iliod, I don't know your area and how much danger there is to your dogs when they are outside (like from death on the road), but it sounds like you are giving them a good and happy life. If I were queen of the world, I'd say you deserve to keep your pets!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 8:23PM
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Thank you, Nancy!
A good and happy life is all they want, and all I can give them...

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 10:17PM
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I think, for me, that this issue boils down to this. As a pet owner, you should be able to do the following two things:

1) Take your animal to the vet for the necessary annual exams and vaccinations

2) Take your animal to the vet when they have a clear medical issue, and at least get it examined to see what the problem is

It's #2 that is often the sticking point. How often do we see on these forums people whose animals are throwing up, bleeding, or otherwise badly in need of medical attention, and the people posting (or posting for a "friend") saying "I can't afford to take them to the vet right now." If you can't afford to take them to vet to take care of basic medical care in an emergency, then no, I don't think you should have a pet -- it's not fair to them to them to be put through misery and pain because you won't take them to the vet because you don't have the money. And not to open up the euthanasia can of worms again, but I don't think it's fair to euthanise an animal that might have been saved with $200 of medical care (either preventative or emergency).

Let me very clear here: I am not talking about thousand dollar procedures. I'm talking about basic medical emergency care, or simple diagnostics being done, so that you can then make an informed decision. But a lot of people don't do that, because they don't even have that much money.

I can completely understand why not everyone would spend thousands of dollars on a pet, like I did this last summer on my cat dying of liver failure. Not everyone has that kind of money to spend. But if you don't have at least $200-$300 lying around in case of emergency, or have some way to access that kind of money through credit cards, then you shouldn't have a pet.

Pets are a luxury, not a necessity. And they are expensive. You should be thinking long and hard about whether or not you have the financial resources to take on the responsibility of another living being before you adopt one.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 12:59PM
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Pets are a luxary not a necessity, this is true but what do you do during a reverse of fortune? There was a time in my life I had gone in busness with a partner who imbezzled all the money and left a big irs debt. I had to sell my house (which we built ourselves and we dug the foundation by hand so we had alot of ourselves in it) and land just to get out of the deal. My dh was a horseshoer but it was winter so there was not much horseshoeing. I was working at the business so I didn't have a job. We only ate every three days but our animals never missed a meal. We had three horses, two dogs, three cats, two goats, and six chickens. The dogs did eat a food called DOG FOOD and the cats ate a food called CAT FOOD which we upgraded with goat milk. Now I was no longer a good animal owner?? Should I have had them destroyed because at that time the best vet care I could afford was none?? At that time it was 100 mile round trip to the nearest vet we had no local large animal vet so it was up to us.

It is diffrent now we have a local small animal vet, three large animal vets to call who will come out$90 just to come. I have my own house(a not so moble home) a job well three part time jobs. $hit happens.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 1:50PM
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what do you do during a reverse of fortune?...Should I have had them destroyed because at that time the best vet care I could afford was none??

If I was in that kind of dire straights, personally, I would have found new homes for my pets.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 2:23PM
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People, please be real. Thousands and thousands of pets are euthanized because no one takes them from the shelters in the first place. If dear Iliod and Acorn can provide LIFE, is that not better than dying young? Or would you rather that their animals had never been adopted and were killed instead? You can SAY to give them away, but with healthy young animals being killed every day because nobody wants them, who is going to take their old, sick castaways?

How about an animal relief fund that helps these people continue to care for and love their precious pets because the more affluent among us have donated to a charity (and gotten a tax deduction) to provide for unplanned vet care!

Heck, we almost have health insurance available for all children in the US. Once that is completed, no one will be able to say that these vet care funds could help some poor child instead of an "animal". Since we good Americans think that all adults should just grab hold of their bootstraps and pull, no one will mind that universal health care is not yet available to adults. Let's each start a 401 3c charity for the health care of loved pets in our area and quit trying to make poverty into a MORAL debate!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 2:48PM
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Or would you rather that their animals had never been adopted and were killed instead?

It depends...in the cases of lilod and Acorn, their animals are lucky. Their animals apparantly haven't been sick.

But what happens when they do get sick?

I imagine based on their posts here that lilod and Acorn are very nice people and will do the right thing, and somehow find medical care for their animals.

But recognize this: some people that do NOT have money do NOT get medical care for their animals when they are sick. And those animals suffer. That's what concerns me. Do you think that those animals are better off living in pain and misery in the last weeks or months of their life? Maybe it would have been better off if they HAD been euthanized rather than adopted out.

I don't love that idea, but honestly, I don't know what the solution is. What I don't like is the fact that animals are being adopted out to some people, and then not getting the medical care that they need when they do eventually get sick -- which, if they're not getting any sort of annual checkups or vaccinations, is all the more likely.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 3:11PM
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It is not always about money - I know of instances where the people took overseas pleasure trips, have wonderful homes and rec-rooms and still would not find the money for vet-care, because they were "short of funds".
Both acorn and I live rural, there are more horses and dogs and cats, so who would take your dear pets?
In the same instance, you may not have the money for your children's health care - would you adopt them out?
For a while there was a homeless man with three dogs wandering on the Highway. His dogs were leashed, they looked well taken care of, probably ate out of dumpsters along with their owner. I gave him some money for dogfood once, and he said without those dogs to look after, he would not be alive.
Well-meaning animal lovers managed to get the dogs taken from him and put in the shelter (did they survive? I don't know) and the man was found dead a while later, malnourished, cold and dead.
Yes, they did the "right" thing, don't you think? I don't.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 3:59PM
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Thank you Nancy

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 4:04PM
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Found new homes for my pets, One of those cats lived 21 years, another 16 years. My horse Mira lived with me 30 years, her son Ralph is still with me at 29, he was born in my arms. The dogs one lived 16 years and the other 14 years. To me that would be like putting your children in foster care because you couldn't afford a play station.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 5:52PM
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I'm not sure if there is such a group for other breeds or for pet owners in general but for Dobermans there is a group called Special Needs Dobermans, you can visit their website at www.doberman911.org Thru auctions run on ebay and private donations they raise funds to pay for medical treatments for both owned dogs and dogs in rescue. The cases submited are checked out to be sure the need is real.


    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 7:36PM
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I'm just saying what I would have done as far as giving the animals away. Not everyone could or would do that, and I'm not going to judge you as a person or as a pet owner if you couldn't do that. If you had such circumstances happen to you, so long as you were able to find some way to get medical treatment for your pets should circumstances arise, then more power to you. Frankly, I think that's a side issue.

Obviously, $hit happens. You don't know when you get a pet if your finances are going to go into the crapper eventually. But you DO know if your finances currently are in the crapper when you FIRST adopt a pet, and whether or not you are the kind of person who is going to do what is necessary to get medical care for your pet. If your finances are not able to handle the possibility of an emergency medical situation, and you're not willing to find some means of getting the medical care that is necessary, then you shouldn't get a pet, in my opinion.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 8:42PM
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Well i don't mean to be disrespectful and it's probably just me. but to think pets are a luxuary
gives me cold chills. Things are a luxuary. Pets are not things. I personally have seen healthy happy pets owned by very poor people and skinny half dead pets owned by rich people. Who's to judge? Why can't we just do the best we can.
We had a dog that bit the electric cord to a power saw when we built our home. He looked dead. i shook him and called his name loudly,just like i would a human. He came right out of it. and i would have tried mouth to mouth as i would a human. He would'nt have made it to a vet if i had'nt done something.

I just don't think a statement can be made "What about people who can't afford medical care for their pets" "My opinion"

Before someone says "why was dog around live electric cord?" This dog was with us in everything we did around home and at age 5 had never attempted to even show interest in an electric cord before.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 9:35AM
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oaklief I think your looking at it the wrong way.
It's like saying if someone is down & out/ broke, not a penny to their name, would it be the ideal time to have children?
of course not

    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 11:46AM
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Exactly, quirky.

Obviously, some people on this board are making it work. Again, I think that a lot of you are responsible pet owners that IF your pet required medical attention, and even if you didn't have the money, you would somehow, someway, find a way for them to get it, even if you had to borrow the money from someone.

But a lot of other people who are in the same circumstances would not do the same. That's the point I keep trying to make, and somehow it's getting ignored...

    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 1:38PM
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Yes, labmomma, the intranasal vaccine is good for three years. The latest research shows that there may be less risk in a specific annual form of rabbies vaccine. I did several searches on the internet and found information to back up what my vet has told us.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 2:42PM
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If you have the funds for basic health care, I say yes, have a pet... well, that's what I would have said yesterday.

If you can't afford an emergency vet visit and you have to call Mom on a Sunday evening because your dog got lose and ran down the street and in front of a car, his leg is gashed open while the snow is pouring down, and can't put any weight on it, and you need the money for the initial ER visit, and you're worried his hip is broken and maybe has internal injuries, then I say no, you can't afford pets. Mom has her own vet bills, thank you.

(Miracle is, the dog has no bad injuries and is home doing fine. Other than that, I can't say. Son wasn't exactly eager to talk to me. :)

    Bookmark   January 29, 2007 at 3:13PM
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To the poster who doesn't think a college student should have a pet I disagree. My DD left for college and because she couldn't get into the dorms she had to rent a place by herself since she didn't know anyone. She was in another state. So I offered her my 2 cats to take with her so she wouldn't be lonely. According to her they made the transition to independence much easier.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 4:39PM
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"Why would you get a car if you could not afford gas or tires? Why have a pet if you cannot afford good food, preventives, and medical care?"

Our cat doesnt have health insurance.Yet,we didnt exactly buy him either.If we didnt bring him home,he'd already be dead. He was living with a friend of mine whose cat had kittens. They had a 4 year old boy who threw the cats down the stairs,put them in the microwave,and flushed them in the toilet.
Our cat was malnorished and had his tail broken in three places when we got him at only age 6 weeks.
All the other kittens given to "friends" have either been killed or run away.Ours is the last surviving one out of the litter.
He is now 6,and more spoiled then most animals.
No,I cant afford health insurance for him.But he has his shots,gets his flea medicine,and is neutered.I have also paid quite a bit to rid him of tapeworm once.
So,it's kind of unfair to say that just cuz you dont have health insurance for a animal that you shouldnt have one.
I may not be able to pay for a serious surgery,but I do the best I can for my boy.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 2:36AM
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What about when its too late to not get a pet? I have one and he was recently diagnosed with epilepsy, this was after $3000 worth of test and that was our last bit of money. now he's getting bad seizures and we had to do emergency vet care that we knew we couldn't afford and we are now another $600 in the hole and this is just the beginning. we can't afford this. We love our dog and are broken up over this and we don't know what to do. we are worried we won't be able to find someone to take him from us that can care for him properly and we know that we can no longer care for him properly. So far we can't find anyone to take him and if we keep him that means when he has more problems or more seizures since the medicine doesn't completely keep them from happening it just controls them to make them less severe, so when he does have them we can't afford to take him in to the hospital when he has more than 4 in a day (he has cluster seizures). We are very torn as to what to do, it seems as though euthanizing him may an option because what kind of life is that if he needs medical attention we can't give him because we don't have the money.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 10:09AM
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