Monday, February 11, 2008

Never Send A Pregnant Woman To. . .

...Take your dog to the vet to be put under anesthesia.

I was a sucker. That vet could have sold me anything for the "well-being" of our pooch. Voodoo, hoodoo, good medicine, whatever you want to call it, I was buying. Sign me up for two, please.

I am normally no fool. I know from various sources (including my mother-in-law, who has worked at a vet for twenty years) that vets make most of their money on the "extras." For example, the bloood work that is recommended before your be put under is usually unnecessary. Unless your pet is geriatric (over 8 years old) or has a documented underlying health problem, there should be no issues with general anesthesia. Even humans don't have this blood work done! If your dog has been put under before with no complications, that should remain the case. Yet for another $100, they will charge you for this bloodwork. And if you don't want the bloodwork, they paint all sorts of scary scenarios in which your pet can die of unexpected complications.

Now, if you have followed my blog for any length of time, you know that our pets are our "furbabies." When people have asked in the past if we have children, they usually get the response of "Three, would you like to see pictures?" and are shown the dogs and cat. So, please don't think me heartless that I usually refuse the extra bloodwork. My dogs and cat have always been fine.

Then, there is the matter of the EKG lead. Now, when your pet is normally put under, they have a their pulse measured through their tongue. For the bargain price of $48, they can add the EKG lead, which will add another three minute lead time if a heart murmur should happen while they are out. While I am sure this is of benefit if your animal has a heart murmur, my big dog is as healthy as a horse. But there's always that small chance. . .

My big dog has been my baby since his mother's milk was not enough to sustain him at 3 weeks old. I bottle fed that baby pup from his status as the runt of the litter to one of the faster growing puppies. At his full grown weight of 65 pounds, he still thinks he is my "little one" and isn't shy about clamouring into my lap for some lovin'. Cheesy as this sounds, I made up a lullabye for him when he was a wee thing and when he is sick or even just cuddling, I can still sing the song for him and you can feel his whole body relax and his hearbeat slow. Yeah, I know. But what can I say, my animals light up my life. They are here for me, thick and thin. Rocky's fur has caught more of my tears than I can even count, and in the days following my D&C last year, he wouldn't leave my side as I grieved.

All of this to say that I was dead meat when I walked into that vet's office today. With pregnancy hormones in full gear, every time they would come to an option that I usually turn down flat, I was a blubbering mess thinking about my sweet dog losing his life over $48 here and $100 there. But of course, all that adds up. Our original estimate for today's procedure was $325. By the time all the extras added up, we were at $498.

My husband laughed at me, but said that from now on, he was answering the phone for all telemarketers (another post for another day) and taking the furbabies in for their checkups and procedures. I think for the sake of our pocketbook, that's a good idea.

16 comments:

alison said...

I'm giggling at you! That is silly to me. Our dogs haven't (knock on wood) had to go to the vet for anything more serious than an ear infection so far. But the day they do, I will be a blubbering mess, pregnant or not! :)

Jen said...

OMG, I'm totally with you on the furbabies. I'm not even going to tell you how much I spend on my dog's allergy medication alone! So I can definitely so how combining pregnancy hormones with a vet looking to make a but could be dangerous!

Fertilize Me said...

you poor girl - but i agree we shouldn't have to deal with all this when it comes to pregnancy! Too many hormones involved!

Maria said...

Oh no, I'm so sorry that the hormones got in the way!!

So sweet about the lullaby, that brought tears to my eyes. You have a very special bond with your animals. It's so sweet.

My Reality said...

I would have dished out the extra money, too!

Geohde said...

Oh, totally understandable. I'd be a sucker for all the extra monitoring too.

J

Amy said...

I too did the same thing when I was pregnant. 400+ on an urn and cremation for my beloved cat, Sam. $498 for our AmEsk, Sasha to have her teeth cleaned and $500 for our AmEsk/Pom, Lilly to have her teeth cleaned! Sucker I am! Although, the urn and cremation would have cost the same either way, prego or not!

I understand, that unconditional love thing is amazing where our furbabies are concerned!

Laura said...

That is hysterical! I know I would do the same thing! :)

Adriane said...

Too funny! Of course you got the extras. Those hormones are dangerous! :-)

Waiting Amy said...

Katie, I have to respectfully disagree about the additional monitoring being "extras" that the vet uses to make more money. As a vet who worked in both emergency with very critically ill animals, and in general practice with typically healthy pets, I can tell you that anesthetic problems can be very difficult to predict.

You are correct that most younger, healthy animals often have normal blood tests. But please remember that our patients are genetically built to hide illness and can't tell us about vague symptoms. Also, humans generally always have BOTH pulse ox (for oxygen levels and pulse) along with ECG for ANY sedations or procedures. ECG actually monitors electrical activity in the heart, not mumurs which are due to blood flow. There can be serious electrical problems that will not show up with the pulse ox.

I'm sorry to get on the soap box for a minute. I've just had even healthy patients with all the tests and all the monitoring who still had unexpected complications. So a GOOD vet will always offer the full boat of monitoring to insure that the one in thousands pet who does have a complication has the best chance. Today we can offer a higher standard of care, unfortunately it does come with a price. I never tried to make anyone feel badly if they could not afford it. But we would be remiss not to offer it.

It sounds like your furbaby is in great hands. So I'll be glad to hear when he is home and well. Sorry again for the long comment.

Tracy said...

If it makes you feel any better, I'm crying as I read your post.

Damn hormones.

Searching said...

Aw, you poor thing! Although, even not pregnant I can assure you I do everything for my critters. My dad once had to spend $80 at the emergency vet for one of my bunnies' broken toe. Yes, a tiny broken toe I deemed an absolute emergency in the middle of the night. They didn't have anythign they could do about it and she was fine. But, I understand. My big dog is like yours, currently an 85lb mass of quivering lab meat under my desk due to the "scary" storm we are having. He thinks he is a tiny puppy still and crawls up in our laps all the time. He squeezes himself under the bed every night to sleep to be near us. I show off pics of my pups with Santa if anyone asks if I have kids. :) So if you ever feel like it, I'm always up for more pup pics!

Optimistic said...

Sounds JUST like me. So funny!

Ally said...

Bless your heart, Katie. I know it was an expensive trip to the vet, but I just think you are too cute! I don't blame you one bit for going all out on your puppy!

Ivonne said...

I would have done the same thing if I'd been in your shoes too, which is probably why my husband insisted last week to take them for annual shots......

gracechild said...

Now i just can't wait to hear what happened with the telemarketers