How much is too much to spend on a dog's health?
October 24, 2011 5:08 PM Subscribe
Our dog is ailing -- how does one determine how much to spend on her treatment(s)? More wrinkles to the situation inside...
posted by theplatypus to Pets & Animals (33 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Here's the situation: Our 7 year old lab-mix has been having issues, stumbling around a bit (ataxia), having trouble with the placement of her feet, and appears to be in a fair amount of pain, walking around hunched over, having accidents in the house. She'll wince/whimper every now and then when she turns her head. She's the sunshine of our lives, always happy, always waggy and wiggly, and kind of a happy dumb (in the best way possible) oaf... however, it appears that the only avenue now is to get her an MRI and almost inevitably, some sort of neck surgery. It appears that the average neck MRI for a dog costs around $1500, and the surgery could be over $4000, excluding any therapy she'll need. She's otherwise healthy, but getting worse daily to where she is stumbling all over the place and losing her appetite (she's on painkillers and anti-inflammatories that are quickly losing their effectiveness).
The problem isn't that we can't afford the surgery -- as with many other things in life, we're blessed to be in a position where we have some money in the bank, but not a whole lot, and it's only there because we've been prudent with our spending -- it's that I can't get enough perspective on the situation to know whether it's a good idea to spend $5000 (or likely more) on a surgery that will also require a significant amount of follow-up and no guaranteed results.
Before anybody judges me as a heartless bastard who can't pony up a few thousand dollars on the the "sunshine" of our lives -- I know she would happily sacrifice herself for us if the situation was reversed... I should note that we (my wife and I) are also suffering the extreme fatigue (physical and emotional) of my wife's (malignant) brain tumor, and the depression/cognitive issues that have come with it (not to mention the dark cloud of significant medical costs for her eventually).
So, that said, does anyone have any advice on how to approach the situation? How much is too much? (I'm sure the more morbid question is easily devined here...)