Dog needs TPLO for $$$. Am I SOL?
October 10, 2006 12:31 PM   Subscribe

Dog needs TPLO surgery, but I can't afford it! What do I do?!

Our 4-5 year-old pitbull has been walking on three legs of late. He ripped a cranial cruciate ligament according to a trusted vet who performed tests for lateral movement in the knee under sedation and also x-rayed the joint. She recommended a TPLO (tibial plateau leveling) procedure to save the dog from arthritis and lots of pain in the future. She can't do the procedure, and she referred us to ASEC in West L.A., which she estimated could do it for $2.5K. I called them, and it's actually $4.5K!

I'm calling around for less premium surgeons, but I have no idea whether they're any good. I'd much rather go to a place that somebody can vouch for.

Is there any hope of getting this doggie his surgery at a price I can afford?
posted by evil holiday magic to Pets & Animals (6 answers total)
Well, my dog needed spinal surgery done (she was hit by a car) and it was about that much. The place that did the surgery had several options for financing it. The primary one was a credit line offered by an outside company, whereas I chose the in house line that only gave me three months, but no interest on it (and I knew that in my case, the three months would be enough). So you might want to speak to the vet (that would be doing the operation) about their financing options
posted by KirTakat at 12:55 PM on October 10, 2006

Here is my wife, she has been a surgery tech for a specialty surgery practice: My suggestion would be to discuss your financial concerns with your vet. While the TPLO may be considered the best solution to some it is certainly not consisered the best by all. I have worked for boarded surgeons for years and they have mixed opinions. Regular "old" ACL release surgeries have worked well for a lot of our patients. The recovery time for a TPLO is longer than the regular release ,also. It is said that active dogs , such as a pitbull, need the stabilization of the TPLO. The bottom line is that a regular ACL release can be significantly less expensive. Keep in mind, however, whichever way you go the chance is there that your dog may blow the other cruciate. We often see repeat offenders with ths type of injury. Also, to help you financially, I would ask about Care Credit. This is a credit card that you can use for vet services. Not all hospitals except it, but you can shop around. You fill out the application at the animal hospital and they can tell you if you are approved in a few minutes. The rate is not bad at all as long as you pay it back within a year or so. I know it has saved many of our patients from having to be euthanizd. Also, ask your vet about any funds the hospital may have to help you out. A lot of places will have money set aside for this type of circumstance. So, in summary; regular ACL=cheaper, similar if not same outcome in some instances. Care Credit=good. Hospital funds=even better. Talk to your vet. Most of them really want to do what is best for the pet. Good luck....STRICT REST FOR YOUR CUTE DOG!LOL
posted by Rock Steady at 1:07 PM on October 10, 2006

I'm sorry to hear about your dog. I'm not near L.A. so I can't vouch for anyone. I would definitely talk to the vet about financing arrangements, and generally follow Rock Steady's wife's counsel. Maybe also try asking your local SPCA/humane society? They might have an established relationship with someone that they can recommend and who might be less expensive, or they might have additional ideas about how to pay for it.
posted by KAS at 2:45 PM on October 10, 2006

This article from the Humane Society has some good and some obvious ideas about how to pay for pet care. There may be a non-profit in your area that helps individuals pay for vet services, for instance, there's the AAHA.
posted by Skwirl at 4:17 PM on October 10, 2006

Discussed similar situation with a neighbor this eve. His dog needs stomach surgery, LA clinic wants $4-5k. On advice of another neighbor he called a clinic in Bakersfield, described exactly what the LA vet had said and what the procedures were. Bakersfield vet quoted him between $1.2k and $1.6k for exact same procedures.
posted by johngumbo at 7:13 PM on October 10, 2006

I know you are a long way from Davis, but you might consider contacting the vet school for an estimate. In some states the vet school's animal hospital is subsidized enough by the state that the cost of surgery is significantly less than at private hospitals. (The surgeries are performed by board certified surgeons, not students, so don't worry about that.) The difference in price might make a trip to Davis worth it for you. Just a thought.

I'd like to second Care Credit, as mentioned by others. Good luck!
posted by shakobe at 11:46 AM on October 12, 2006

« Older Best way to send/manage monthly e-newsletter to...   |   Exactly how great were Pip's expectations? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.