Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pooches: Paranoia

Several years ago we went through a very trying time with Ms. M. Ms. M would randomly urinate in the house. There were even times that Ms. M didn't even know that she urinated and we would find Ms. M sitting in a pool of her own urine. So we took her to our vet, who recommended a blood test, a culture and an ultrasound. After over $1500 in tests, he recommended that we visit a kidney specialist up in the northern suburbs. After spending another $2000 on an ultrasound and tests with the specialist, we discovered that Ms. M has a congenital kidney disorder. Her kidneys are equal in size to that of a shih tzu's kidneys. The specialist prescribed a cocktail of drugs, including baby aspirin that would cost close to $200 a month for the rest of Ms. M's life. A's sister, a pediatrician, suggested that we forgo the drugs and see how far Ms. M goes, because the congenital kidney disorder hasn't been a problem in Ms. M's first 4 years. So here we are, 2 years later, and Ms. M seems fine. Soon after the whole kidney situation, we took the pooches in because Ms. M developed a large bump near the location she had her vaccinations and it looked like Mr. B was losing weight. After another several hundred dollars we discover that Ms. M's bump was just an allergic reaction to the shots and Mr. B was perfectly healthy. So in a span of one year we spent over $4000 in veterinary bills. Luckily most of it was covered by pet insurance. However, that year opened our eyes and made us realize that we tend to overreact when it comes to our pooches' health. A believes that Ms. M just had a urinary tract infection which led to her random urination and despite the discovery of her unusually small kidneys, Ms. M is still the same old spastic dog without the cocktail of drugs. Though we monitor the pooches, we are not so quick to visit the vet for every single problem now. We have even changed our vet to a person in the suburbs that is very thorough and knowledgeable, but at a fraction of the cost of our city vet. We wonder how often we should be bringing our pooches to the vet.

21 comments:

Mack said...

My mom is STILL looking for a vet that she likes...and trusts. Since her most fave vet retired a dozen years ago, she still hasn't found one she is really happy with!

mayziegal said...

My mom says she can totally understand where you're coming from. She says the first year they had Brudder Ranger, they were always rushin' him to the V-E-T. (First child and all.) Mom tries now to give everything 24-48 hours before breaking into a panic. But she's really not very good at it.

Oh, and I very most LUVS those pictures of Miss M on the couch. She sure has a big personality!

Wiggles & Wags,
Mayzie

Mindful said...

I love Mrs M's face, what a cutie!

Mack and Mia said...

Ms. M,

I think you are perfect, spastic and all. I used to sometimes pee randomly when Momma first got me and the v-e-t said I had seperation anxiety, but I'm good now momma declined all the medication and uses other techniques...and guess what?!sometimes I do it just to keep momma on her toes. hehe.

Wags and Woofs,
Mia

P.S. Doofus Mack says hello too!

Pibble said...

I think A was right - a bladder infection would explain the random urination, and the fact that it's passed without the cocktail of drugs, wouldn't it.

When I had Charlie spayed, the normally $300 operation tripled because one of her ovaries was attached to her kidney. So what should have been a simple operation with a tiny incision ended up being major, with an incision that ran from her ribcage all the way down to her...

When she was just over a year old, she ate a potholder (stained with yummy gravy from Thanksgiving), so that was a $4000 emergency operation for an intestinal blockage.

Then there was Buster and his osteosarcoma - on his ribcage; now THAT was a fun surgery - followed by chemotherapy and we're still continuing with follow-up visits/x-rays.

But I love my vet. I tried two others before settling on this one, and I'm very happy. They never push crazy things on us and always suggest that we wait and watch rather than jump right in, unless it's truly necessary.

You'd better catch Miss M - she's about to fall over!

The Bennett Blog said...

Where to start in the VET category. Mom and Dad spent over a thousand dollars just in the last two months. First Andy had her abcyssed Anal gland and then mom had to help her cross the bridge a month later. That was a whopping six hundred dollars. Then I ate some of mom's underpants and had to go to the VET for x-rays and an IV. Thankfully I passed them on my own and no surgery. That was still 300$ though. Boxen ate some rawhide when he was younger and had a 700$ trip to the ER and then we had to remove some cancer from his ribcage and that was almost a thousand. We do get a lot more expensive than we seem in the beginning. Mom did tend to Boxen when the fluid built up under his ribcage owie and busted open. She just cleaned him and rebandaged him. No trip to the vet for that. We do try to wait around here too. Just to make sure it is not serious first.

Boxer kisses
Bella

Kari in WeHo said...

I understand. I am learning to not freak out. I still have to learn that just because Mesa pukes, doesn't mean she has a stomach blockage! I need to wait for a pattern of repeat issues

Bobby said...

Dogs feel off as we do sometimes but we don't rush to the doctor all the time. So as long as they poo ok after they eat something that might block them up they will be okay.
If they do not then take them, I would also think that was a bladder infection.

Mary said...

I panic too about Levi's health! I am so well-versed on avian health, but I felt like a complete naif when it came to canine health. I knew the basic stuff, but Levi is my first dog as an adult and I wanted him to be healthy. Then you get into the question of how far do you want to go for diagnostics when it could be hard on the dog? We opted not to have a bump on his lip biopsied (diagnosed as canine papilloma) and it just went away. I definitely need to talk to my husband about pet insurance. Probably for our birds too because avian medicine ain't cheap either!

And Ms. M's FACE! I love her!

Dory and the Mama said...

We get our pups their annual check ups, shots and bloodwork...other than that...unless it is an emergency, we take the "wait a week and see" attitude. In most cases, after a week, whatever it was clears up.

Bilbo has hydrocephalus, but we have been lucky and it is a slight case, and he has been seizure free for almost 2 years now, so we soooooo get the $$$ on our furkids thing!

Twinkietinydog said...

We read this post with great interest. Our Linguini used to leak and she too was subjected to multiple tests. We stopped when the test started becoming very invasive. We'd rather clean up than mess with our girl. We still don't know what's causing it but we now use plastic bed sheets under her covers and that has improved all of our lives in here.
Twinkie

laura said...

My parents have (over) spent thousands of dollars at the vets, mostly because my mother loves going there. I hope Miss M continues to stay well and remember you can always use doggie diapers for flare ups. Tons of people make them and I think you can find them on etsy and ebay.
But doesn't she look so regal in her pictures. Just like a queen!

Kate said...

We've had to learn to not overreact too but I know we probably still go too often. Unfortunately, Melanie is such a lemon (I love her but it's true) that it usually turns out a vet trip is necessary. It's so hard when you love them and they start acting strange but they can't tell you why!

Mango said...

It is always hard to know what to do, isn't it? I think the most important thing is having a vet that you trust and who really knows you and your dog. We switched vets several years ago because our old one didn't really listen too well (learned that the hard way, long sad story).

The best part about our current vet is that they know how well I know my dogs and that I can see if they are off even if the vet doesn't. They also provide lots of different treatment options.

I guess I still go more than I have to, but I would rather spend dollars and know that everybody is OK than not spend them and have something really icky happen.

Mango Momma

Benny and Lily said...

Ut!...momma knows the feeling! Lily's allergies..$2000...do you know how many Nylabones that is!
Benny & Lily

Independent George said...

It's funny - I actually just signed up with Embrace last week. The main reason I opted for Embrace is that they're the only company I could find that offers a high-deductible plan; I'm relieved that you've had good experiences with them.

mastertealc said...

Tealc's mom here...

I know exactly what you mean! I was so lucky that I found a Vet in Sydney that is not only working for the money. I told her from the beginning that I don't want antibiotics for every little thing etc. and she was cool with it. I believe that for some things you definitely need a vet but sometimes it is also common sense and 24 hours... Too bad that our dogs can't talk, that would make things much easier :(
Anyway - I'm glad that your doggie is alright now.

parlance said...

I'm like that too - anxious at the least little thing, but trying to be tough with myself and wait and see.

One time I raced down the highway from my place in the hills and arrived at a city vet about three in the morning, saying Penny was breathing funny.

They were lovely. The girl on the desk gave her a thorough once-over and said she was breathing okay and to go home and see how she went.

They could have charged me the huge night-time rate but didn't. They said if I decided to pass the front counter I would have to pay (hundreds of dollars, if I remember right), but if I accepted that they thought she was fine, it would cost nothing.

I opted to drive the fifty kilometres home and she was fine.

But it was scary and a hard decision. I didn't care about the money itself, but by the time I got there (about an hour) she did indeed seem fine.

If only our dogs could tell us how they are feeling!

Shauna (Fido and Wino) said...

I hear you. We used to be quick to rush off to the vet, but now we are trying to be a bit more relaxed. I agree with Bobby, dogs, just like humans just feel "off" sometimes.

I have found that calling the emergency vet can be very helpful and can save you a trip (& $$$) with a "don't worry, your pup will be fine" (feels better coming from someone @ the vet).

Rinalia said...

It's easy to get over protected and paranoid when it comes to our dogs! I've gotten a lot better. :)

Glad you found a "better" vet.

Ms. M strikes very interesting poses. :)

kissa-bull said...

dont worry miss M i pee when i get excited or someone picks me up
our mommish just had no idea what to do so she ish still working on it
wee wiggles
lucky

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