PET LOVERS, How Much to Spend on Medical Bills???

Updated on December 11, 2011
J.B. asks from Katy, TX
40 answers

We are a pet loving family, 1 cat and 2 dogs (rescue pets) and 1 Chihuahua full blood. Well last night the Chihuahua who is 1.5 yrs old started having seizures. This carried on through the night and into the morning. The vet is running a battery of test and the dog is on i.v meds now. We are looking at around $600 as it stands. The vet advised us the next step, if none of this helps, would be to take her to a neurological doctor. And the starting bill would be $1500, with no guarantees.
This is more me just talking it through, I know the decision depends on our finances etc. But I just wanted to get a feel of what ya'll think.

I don't want to hear from the "pets are people too" group,"it's your responsibility so spend whatever it takes" I get it. We love her and that's why we rescue pets but the humans in the house come first.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

I can not thank you all enough for allowing me to share. We brought her home tonight with some meds, no need in letting her sit at the hospital alone. Now what.... We left the vet with the intent of having her there in the a.m for more i.v meds and monitoring. But after extensive internet searching there really isn't much that can be done in the grand scheme of things. The neurological dr. would be to determine the 'cause' of the seizure for example brain tumor. I'm not sure we will go that route. We have her with us tonight and will see how she is in the a.m. We will look into the seizure meds. But I will tell you this, she is not the same dog we used to have. This changed her and makes me very sad. Thanks again

UPDATE! We had her home all night. We stayed with her and honestly don't think she slept much. She did potty but it seemed more of a loss of bladder control than a calculated event. There is a constant twitching in her ears and mouth area. And the drool is constant. She doesnt' react to us and doesn't really seem to know us. We just got back from the dr. with the plans of leaving her there to monitor seizures. We spoke at length with a different doctor who shed some more light on this. Her condition now is the RESULT of the seizures. She could have more but for now they have subsided. Seizure med for her size, 3.8lbs would be extremely difficult to 'get right'. The Dr. also told us the options in seeing the neurologist, 1. find the cause and treat it 2. find the cause, untreatable 3. find NOTHING.
Money isn't really the concern, I mean it is, but you know what I mean, that being said, we aren't gamblers either.
The vet gave her i.v valium to help her sleep and we have come home to let her rest. Time will tell. And again, I can't thank the powers that be enough for this avenue to express myself. Thanks for the kind words from everyone.

More Answers


answers from Dallas on

I agree whole heartedly with your sentiment. You do the absolute best you can for your pets, but at the end of the day, the people come 1st.

I would pay what is owed and ask the vet to make the dog as comfortable as possible. If he can give her anti-seizure meds and something for pain, I would take her home and begin talking to the kids about potentially losing her. If there is nothing he can do for her and she is in pain, I would have her put down. It's a hard choice, but that's what I would do. I'm sending up a puppy prayer for you.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

It's tough i just had a friend fork out 3grand just to put her dog down the same day. Honestly I love my dogs but i think 1500 is probably my limit. Maybe pushing 3k but that is if there is a chance. Cant your vet just put the dog on anti siezure meds my sisters dog was on those and never went to the neurological dr, so is my sil's dog.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I'm an only child and was raised by a single mom who LOVED and had TONS of animals (and still does). She always told me to NEVER jeopardize your family finances for a pet, no matter how much you love and care for them. So honestly, in this day and age, I would have put her down already. Most of the time after spending tons of money, the pet usually doesn't live anyway. I know its super hard, but honestly, your pet would not want you to have any kind of hardship because of them. Good luck.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I'm so sorry. We're a pet-loving family who takes in rescue animals as well, and have spent a small fortune on many of our animals. However, with no guarantees, and the starting amount being $1500 (in addition to the $600 you've already spent), I'm afraid we would probably ask the vet to make her as comfortable as possible, but would not seek further treatment. That's a lot of money to spend without knowing if it would help long term, and you could end up spending a fortune given that the dog is so young. She may end up needing medication or other treatments for the rest of her life. This is such a difficult decision, and it's impossible to know how I would truly react without going through it, but just considering what you've shared, I think this is what I would do.

I'm really sorry you and your family are going through this.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

To me, it would depend on what is causing the seizures. There are many causes of seizures and some are more treatable than others. Tests are needed to try to narrow down the reason for the seizures and sometimes a consult with a neurologist is needed if owners are thinking of pursuing a CT scan or MR imaging of the brain. Some dogs can have seizures due to metabolic abnormalities, such as low blood sugar or another condition called hepatic encephalopathy (more common in small toy breeds). Some dogs have brain tumors (more common in older dogs). Some dogs have epilepsy, which is what is typically suspected when all other reasons for seizures have been ruled-out. If epilepsy is suspected, many general practice vets will try anti-convulsant medication for the owner to give at home. If the pet is still having seizures, they may need to adjust the dosage or try a different medication. When I worked in general practice, I would refer cases to a neurologist when it appeared to be more complicated and less straight-forward then I was able to manage on my own, if I thought something else was going on and a neuro consult was needed. Some people will pursue the neuro consult, but do not want to do further (and more expensive) diagnostics.

Thing is, everyone as a different bottom line. I don't believe anyone should jeopardize or ruin their family's finances because of a pet. I do think that there are things that can be done which are reasonable, don't cost crazy money, and can improve the pet's quality of life. Many pets with epilepsy can live a long happy life if their seizures can be controlled and the medications and periodic blood testing/monitoring usually is not that expensive (IMO). If your vet can identify what he/she most strongly feels is the cause of the seizures, and can offer options ranging from low-cost to high-cost, then you can make a decision from there. If it becomes apparent that a neuro consult is the next step, you can always have the appointment, listen to what they have to say, and see what you want to do. I used to work at a neurology specialty practice as an emergency doctor, so this was something I am very familiar with. For us, the cost of the consult appointment with the neurologist was $125 - then an estimate was given based on what the neurologist felt was needed next. If her seizures cannot be controlled and you do not wish to pursue the neuro consult, then at that point the kindest thing would be to have her euthanized. I know that's a very difficult thing to have to consider, but sometimes it's not even about money - I've seen people spend upwards to $10,000 to $15,000 trying to save their pet, but unfortunately it was a very poor prognosis to begin with. Hopefully in your dog's case, she's young, and healthy, and if needed, she can be on anti-seizure meds and be fine. But I don't judge anyone who feels that there is a limit to what they can spend on a pet, so long as the pet is not allowed to suffer. The point is that, we have OPTIONS for our pets - what one person would do is not necessarily what another person would do, and in the end it's our choice as to how aggressively or conservatively to treat a pet.

Good luck to you - I know these are tough decisions for pet owners to have to make. I hope she does well.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I worked at a vet and I truly love animals, all of mine are rescues. I know some people who spend over $1000 a month on animals with ongoing medical problems. As much as I would love to do that, I would be living in a van down by the river if it ever came to that and my own children would be wearing tissue boxes for shoes and eating ramen noodles every day of their life.

Diagnostic testing can be very expensive, I have seen people in shock and cry over prices I have quoted them. I have felt similarly, when I paid almost $400 in only one month due to my dog's allergies/bacterial infection.

The good thing about diagnostic testing, is that it usually only happens once. After that, you are able to gauge what the course of treatment can be. Sometimes, it is pretty affordable, though it is a constant monthly payment for meds and such. Other times, it can put a family in the poor house. If it is a constant, ongoing and painful condition, especially in senior pets, sometimes the most humane thing to do is put the animal to sleep.

So, you have to decide what you as a family can afford. Your vet can give you ideas on treatments, some may not cure the problem, but may help the animal have some relative peace. Your dog can likely just take some anti-seizure meds like phenobarbital without going to the neurologist, though it will not diagnose the underlying cause of the seizures, so you will only be treating a symptom. He/she will need to come in every 4 months or so for blood tests to see if it if it is contributing to liver damage in order to refill and adjust the prescription.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

If it was my Maximus, I would pay the money, but he's only 5 and a pugs average life span is 16 years so I'm looking at possibly having 11 more years with him. However, when my dog growing up was 13 and diagnosed with cancer and was going to have crazy high bills and there was no money to pay them, I understood why we put her down. Whatever decision you make, will be the right one for your family.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I have always been a pet person from my birth I think. We had pets all my life and now I have a dog and a cat and guinea pig. I was raised on a farm and it was everyday I dragged a new animal into the house. It always depended on how attached to the animal, and what that animal meant to us, as to how much we would spend on it.
We had 4 cats at one time. All rescues, 2 bottle fed and 2 saved from the streets. Each one had a limit. One of them I would have sold my kidneys for and thankfully that one lived till 22 no health issues. The other 3 were varying. One landed in the category of make comfortable and if suffering at all, he was going to be put to sleep. He also made it to a ripe age and then passed of natural causes. The dogs were up to about 1000 or sometimes more if we felt they were going to pull through. However we are not going to be strapped by an animal. I dont believe in going broke over a pet. If you are that attached them its a personal choice. I think one dog we hit 5,000 due to a series of unfortunate events. Then when we decided not to put any more into her she pulled through just fine.
At the moment we have one cat, that we saved from the neighbor beating him to death with a garden hose. A dog that was saved as a puppy from a busy highway where her brothers were already killed, and 2 guinea pigs that were thrown in a dumpster cause the owner couldnt find them homes before moving. Threw them away in the cage and everything. SO sad. Thats it for now I didnt want a single animal for 2 year after moving in our home, but that didnt happen, we ended up getting them 2 MONTHS after moving in cause my husband and I are softies.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

This is SUCH a tough call. We stopped counting but I seriously think we spent between 5 and 6 thousand on trying to save our beloved cat several years ago. The last time we saw him at the vet ER, I was going to tell DH to let him go. His quality of life was gone. He was suffering. The cat didn't wait for us to get home. He was gone before we were two miles down the road.

Had I a do-over, he would not have been at the vet for that last effort to save his life. We would have let him go before then. We found out later he probably had cancer, poor boy.

I would have a serious talk with the vet. I would ask him/her what, after the tests, the vet truly thinks the chances are and what quality of life the dog has. Can you afford the initial treatment? If it doesn't work, would you let the dog go? If you can't afford the treatment and the dog is suffering, it is probably kindest (though so hard, I know) to say good-bye.

I'm so sorry you have to make this call.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

It all comes down to how much you adore your dog. To some people, they are like their children, and they would spend any amount, as they would on their children.

For me, I've had many pets of all kinds, and I love my pets, but there is a limit. These days just walking in the door of a vet and having a couple of tests run costs a minimum of $400, so $600 isn't that much.

But $1,500 is a lot of money, and I wouldn't go there right away. I personally can't afford to keep a sickly animal alive. I would probably spend the day researching the possible causes of seizures, and the effect (pain, discomfort etc.) of seizures on dogs, and then make my decision from there.

And then this might sound cold, but if I knew we were looking at many thousands of dollars, and the dog is young and has many years to go, well...

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I am not in the category you described (pets are people too, etc.), so I'll share my story:

About 6 years ago we adopted our big gray Gus Kitty. He was sick (unbeknownst to anyone) and before we'd had him for 6 weeks, we had accrued close to $4,000 in bills for him. The animal hospital offered a credit plan which we qualified for, or we wouldn't have been able to afford it. We had to tube-feed that poor guy for about a month or so before he was back up to fighting strength.

It was a hard choice, but it all worked out. Gus learned quickly that he would *have* to depend on us for his survival. That said, we knew that we had to do what we could for him, and that his chances of survival were reasonable. (this word 'reasonable' is subjective, huh?) I don't regret a penny of it... esp. at night, when our now 14 year old gentleman Gus Kitty snuggles up at night with us. He's wonderful and is part of our family.

I think you have to do what feels right for your entire family, and that includes the finances you can afford. We could afford it only because of the credit extended to us. No judgment toward you on my end....

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

have you heard of Care Credit? It's a credit card that will charge no interest if you pay it off within a certain amount of time. the higher the amount the longer the time to pay it off. if you decide to spend the 1500, this is a good way to do it. make sure your vet accepts the card first! when my son was 10 we got him a dog for xmas...turned out she had pneumonia. we spent 2000 + at the vet (thats how we found out about care credit!) two of our cats have been bitten by rattlesnakes at 600-800 a pop, both survived. I am now at the point that we are not getting any more animals - we just cant afford it when things go wrong. we have two goats, three dogs, four cats. my first thought when you said seizure was epilepsy. it's quite common in animals. have you looked into vet schools for a neurological doc? we have a large vet program here at UC Davis, ask your vet if theres a teaching school in your area. sometimes they will cut you a break. good luck and so sorry you have to deal with this....

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I just read somewhere that the average pet bill can run $1,000. That made me grateful that we are allergic. I do not know how pet owners do it. We run a tight budget and I could not imagine having that kind of expense pop up especially for a beloved pet.

Good luck with your decision. I do not envy you or anyone in that situation.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Allentown on

I am wondering if they can't treat the symptoms without all the tests. what might the tests show and then what would be involved in treating them?

I really don't know what my limit would be -- we are paycheck to paycheck now but then the cat gets sick and off to the vet he goes (hello credit card). Love love love our pets. But there would be a limit at some point. I haven't had to pay more than $400 yet.

HEY!! Just Googled Chihuahua seizures. this is what i found. Hope it's this, seems very treatable!!

Due to their small size and high energy levels, chihuahuas are at an increased risk of experiencing certain types of medical problems, such as low blood sugar, according to DogTime, a website for dog lovers. Low blood sugar, a condition also called hypoglycemia, can cause seizure symptoms to occur in certain chihuahuas. A chihuahua who displays any seizure symptoms requires immediate care from a veterinarian.

Restlessness, Wandering or Hiding

Prior to having a seizure, a chihuahua can become unusually restless as a symptom of this condition, explains The chihuahua may wander through the house aimlessly, or may hide under the bed or in a closet. These chihuahua seizure symptoms can be difficult to detect in certain dogs and may persist for several days before a seizure takes place.

Read more:

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answers from Seattle on

It obviously depends on your disposable income.
As much as I love pets, they are not people, they are animals. If you can afford pricey treatment for them fine! In my opinion that is a luxury and if you can't afford it I would put the pet down.

I know nowadays people especially in western countries disagree, but pets are in my opinion no different from livestock. Just instead of keeping them for food we keep them for company (well and some people actually work them...).

I probably would not spend $1500 for a dog. Not to buy one and not on medical expenses.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

I have been on both ends of the spectrum here. I had a dog that swallowed a toy that became obstructed in his intestine. He was only about a year old...when said and done, this emergency vet bill ended up being around 5K. This was a young, otherwise healthy dog...and the bill kept creeping up. Once you are into it, you almost have to continue or you completely loose all of your money on this. HOWEVER, we did not have children at the time either.

Fast forward a few years...we had a cat that ended up with a autoimmune blood disease. I spent $600-700 dollars trying to diagnose his condition. This cat had urinary tract issues as well...we had managed them fairly inexpensively for several years. The vet was giving us the option of going to the emergency vet for blood transfusions. She did admit that we could spend thousands of dollars and still not have a positive outcome. We had one child by that time and I just had to make the decision to put the cat down. It broke my heart, but I just could NOT do another $5K vet bill.

Now that we have 2 children and our pets are getting older, I just cannot see spending money like that again. It is just not in the budget. I hate to be like that, but I just can't put pet's needs before my children's.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

It would depend on the circumstances.
1 - How much money do I have or can I can my hands on? We had a cat who got hit by a car and had a broken leg that had to be surgically pinned back together. It cost $600. I have known my vet since I was a kid and he let me make $50 payments to him every payday until the bill was paid in full.
2 - What will be the animal's quality of life with and without treatment? If treatment isn't going to help much, then it isn't worth it. I had adopted a stray years ago who contracted feline leukemia before there was a vaccine for it. She could have been kept alive for a while with repeated transfusions, but her quality of life would have been nil.

And those are the same criteria I use in making decisions regarding my own medical care.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fort Wayne on

Well I am hoping this is just a one time occurance for your little guy. But I have a more realistic approach, yes they are part of the family but there is a point where its rent/car pmt or have a big medical bill for fido. I would first see if the vet is willing to work with us is not it a quality of life thing. Sometimes you just have to make the sad desicion to put the friend down. I worked for a family that had a very sweet Chessepek (sp) that had to have a double hip replacement almost 10g's for it with all of the thearapy she had to go through also. They had the money to do it. I myself saw no change in the pooch after all was said and done and still had problems getting up and down moved really slow.

We have been lucky not to have any of our pets gets sick or hurt. We dont vaccinate every year maybe every 3 bc studies have showen that over vacs can lead to cancers. They do get flea/tick heartworm summer/fall. That's pretty much it. I hope for the best for your dog, gl.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Biloxi on

It is horrible when our furry friends are sick. If it makes you feel any better, I currently have a kitty with renal failure and a $700 vet bill. To save some money on vet fees I do her sub-q treatments at home - gotta' love having an IV bag hanging over the kitchen table. While I don't mind being the vet tech at home, I have cut back on the blood tests and expensive tests for this kitty as renal failure is not curable - just postponable - so I will keep her comfy and happy until such time when these treatments stop working. I really don't need a weekly reading of her blood levels - I know they ate not in the normal range. I consider the quality of life of pet and make my decision accordingly.

I have spent thousands of dollars on medical bills for our various pets over the years. I am blessed to have a vet that works with me while continuing to care for my pets. But, as much as I love our pets, and as much as they are an integral part of our family, I have a mortgage to pay and must take care of my son. So sometimes, like now, I have to weigh financial considerations with quality of life and pet care.

Ultimately, you have to do what is comfortable for your family financially and emotionally and within those considerations afford your pet the best quality of life that you can.

God Bless



answers from Houston on

I had a rescue dog, cocker spaniel-chow mix, who had his own set of problems when I adopted him. Then a few months into my ownership he chewed an electric cord to my space heater in the bathroom and got the shock of his life. Shortly thereafter, he started having seizures. He spent about a week in the vet with them trying to figure out what was wrong. Thought it might be distemper, he was a puppy and had not had all of his shots yet. Finally, one of the vets at the office told me that if it was distemper, it was the weirdest case he had ever seen. So, I took him home with a prescription for phenobarbital.

Over time he would still have seizures periodically, always when he was in a deep sleep. I would put him in a warm bath to relax his muscles. Then I would put him on a leash and stand in one spot while he walked circles around me until he came completely out of it and would show signs of "his normal" self.

Odd thing with him is that after I moved out of the house I was sharing at the time, he never had another seizure. I know my roomie didn't care for the dog. She had 2 dogs and a cat of her own. After a couple of years of us never seeing a seizure, my boyfriend suggested we take him off the medication, we did, and he never had another seizure. That little dog lived about 9 years, which I thought was great for the traumatized way his life began.

I can tell you that had the vet told me he needed to be seen by a neurological doc and it would have cost that much, I would have passed. I agree with you, I love my pets and they are part of my family, but they are also just animals, they are not humans.



answers from Waco on

J., first I am SO sorry you are going through this. Pets really are part of the family and it is so difficult to deal with things like this.

I would like to share a couple of things. We have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that suffers from grand mal seizures on occasion. What sticks out to me is that you said your chihuahua was having seizures all night. Did it really go on all night or did the dog perhaps have one seizure and then was in an "altered" state after the seizure? I know every scenario is different but typically when one of our dogs has had a seizure (we've had other dogs in the past with seizure disorders), they would have one big seizure (the CKC's are usually 5 minutes long) and then spend a rather lengthy amount of time (usually hours) being in a nervous-like state. Then they crash from exhaustion.

We also take all of our pets to a "country" vet. He is VERY practical and his overhead is much lower than vets in the "big city" so his prices are very reasonable. For instance, we've never put any of our animals on seizure medication. We have always kept written records of when our animals have had seizures, but according to our vet, once you start medication you are committed to it for the rest of the pet's life. Going off the medication will almost always trigger more frequent and often worse episodes of seizures. He has asked us to keep records of when our dogs have had seizures. None of them has had seizures more than once or maybe twice a month, which he says does not cause him enough concern to put them on medication. If this is your dogs first episode, I would want more information.

With one of our other dogs, we did end up taking her to the Vet School at TAMU. It turned out that she had cancer. After speaking with an oncologist there, we decided to take her home and make her comfortable. We had her put to sleep about 1 month after that visit. Going to TAMU was a WONDERFUL experience. They did a battery of tests on her and the bill, including some pretty expensive medication was less than $400. I'm sure they have a neurology team so you might inquire about whether or not he would refer you there. I'm sure you could get a cost estimate up front and if you're in Katy, that wouldn't be a big trip to head up to B/CS for the day.

All that being said, in all my years of pet ownership, I have never had a vet bill over $500. We've dealt with everything from allergies, bug and snake bites, torn ACL surgery, dogs eating rat poison, dogs eating human prescription medication, seizures, cancer... you name it, we've probably been through it. If it were me, I would start asking lots of questions. That's my 2 cents for the day! HTH! :)



answers from San Antonio on

I am sorry you, your family and the pet is going thru this. Just a quick bit of advice from a mom who has a son with seizure disorder. Even in humans, a good neurologist cannot always determine the cause of seizures. With regard to my son, we know it is NOT a tumor or not related to blood sugar or recent head injury. After thousands and thousands of dollars, we have been told there is a chance he could have more in the future.

You may have already made your decision, since I saw this late, but here's what we do for pets when we commit to their ownership:

We decide upfront and as a family that we will minimize animal suffering to the extent it does not endanger our finances.

Our cat (that was dumped on our street 7 yrs ago when 'those people' saw children playing outdoors on a summer morning) has teeth that are cracking and breaking. it is painful and keeps her from eating, so when she has one break, it's $80 for anesthesia, and $60 a tooth to be removed.
That falls in our guidelines.

But 3 yrs ago, someone abandoned a black lab in our neighborhood. Yep, I first corralled that one too. For 3 weeks we thought she was lost, so we searched and searched for her owners. No collar, no tags, no owner ever turned up. Then I took her to the vet for the whole exam and we discovered she had heart worm in a pretty advanced state. Vet guesses she was placed in our neighborhood with the hopes someone would adopt her and get her the treatment. But the treatment started at $600 (would have majorly hurt family $$$) and the vet thought she was close to 8- 9 yrs old and the odds of surviving the treatment was less than 50-50.
So we kept her for 2 more months and loved on her, but when the coughing began and she wasn't eating, the vet said she was suffering and we had her put to sleep. It was very hard, but by following the "minimize suffering" thought it helps us with those difficult decisions.

Best of luck.


answers from Dallas on

Our pets are our fur babies.

#1 Maggie, English Cocker Spaniel started having seizures around 1and 1/2 yrs old. She was in phenobarbital the rest of her life which ended with cancer at 14.

#2 Frankie, American Cocker, costs us a fortune with what he destroyed by chewing and 2 surgeries. He had a back issue. The last surgery around 3 yrs old was about $3000. He ended up costing us more on what he destroyed as in Chinese Iriental rug, numerous shoes, etc. he lived almost til 15.

We currently have a 12+ yr old American cocker with numerous rumors but nothing life threatening at this time. He s not expected to make it to his 13th bday. Love this boy.

We have a 7 yr old English Cocker in good health and a 5 and 1.2 yr old toy poodle in good health.

We do take good care of our Pets.

Maggie and Frankie were the most costly but we lover them dearly.

You have to determine your finances and what you can do.

I am fortunate... My neighbor is an orthopedic surgeon for dogs and he is the one who performed the $3000 surgery for one of my dogs.

Long term meds are another option. Our seizure meds were not that expensive so we did went for it.

We know you love and care for your pets, I hope you find a good alternative with meds so you can do the best you can for your pets.

Best wishes!

Eta: I apologize for my typos, I'm on my phone.



answers from Houston on

So sorry! It's so tough when a fur baby is sick! My suggesiton would be once you find out what the cause is you can then weight what the treatment cost verse quality of life would be. Meaning would the treatment be worse than the sickness, and would it work, and if so for how long? A good friend of mine had a dog who did have brain tumor. They opted for treatment only after finding out that treatment would extend her life for a while, so they opted for treatment. Since your dog is young if there is a treatment that could extend her life you may want to try it, if there is no treatment, or her condition gets worse you don't want her to suffer. That is how I look at it. I really hope it works out for you!


answers from San Antonio on

Check into getting pet insurance. Comparison shop. Good Luck



answers from Victoria on

I was raised a bit differently and would think that if a dog needed to be on iv meds it was time to let that dog go! A dog needing to go to a neurological doctor is crazy to me! I feel people come first and while I love my animals like family I realize there are good people..HUMANS that need help. For me I would not even consider it.

Now that being said you can also find vets that are more to your thinking. We have a vet here that is high end and treats his dogs like people patience in a hospital. Some ppl rush to him. I personaly avoid him like the plauge. I do not want to see a man sucking as much out of me as he can. We take our dogs to a cowboy type man. Where he would offer the suggestion of iv meds but would discourage it as it is a huge expence. Just like doctors find the right vet that has the same thinking styles as you do.



answers from Washington DC on

When my cat was peeing blood I took him into the local vet office and they quoted me $1500 to do a surgery to remove bladder stones. Like you, I was sickened. My mom suggested putting him to sleep but he was such a good cat and this was his first issue that I couldn't bear to do that, but I couldn't bear to spend that much money either. I posted something on my mom's group website and one of the mom's happened to work at a different vet. She told me that that cost was outrageous and suggested I call her vet in the morning. The total cost was around $250. So if you can, definitely get a second opinion. Another cat all of a sudden lost weight and took a turn for the worst. I had a battery of tests done to upwords of $500 and meds. They finally concluded that she had lymphoma. They told me I could take her to a kitty oncologist and do chemo, which would start at around $1000, but the net gain would be around 6 additional months and not pleasant ones for her. It just wasn't worth the financial toll for 6 months of agony knowing we would lose her anyway. I think you have to weigh a large amount of factors in making your decision, i.e. what the outcome would be, vs the cost. Maybe they could just put the dog on some epilepsy meds and that would be the end. Like you said, there are no guarantees with the neurological doctor.



answers from Kansas City on

20 years ago, my husband and I spent almost $1000 on our cat, who drank anti freeze, and had kidney trouble. It was worth it, but you'll never believe what happened next. We got her home, and she ran off, and we never saw her again.



answers from Austin on

I had a roommate years ago who had a Yorkie with seizure disorder. He had to be medicated twice a day, morning and evening with phenobarbatol. This meant someone had to go home from work and give the dog his meds. If that were not the first thing that happened when you walked in the door (no putting up the groceries or potty stops) he would balk and not drink the little bit of milk with medicine in it. Then you had to force it. This cramped her lifestyle, as you couldn't go from work to somewhere else, but had to at least stop by and give the medication. I don't know the cost as he wasn't my dog. He lived for quite a few years after that, and had a good quality of life, if that helps. I was told that, unlike human seizures, dog seizures don't end until someone intervenes. The seizure can go on for many hours as you described.
Good luck with your decision. I hope you have a good outcome.


answers from Boca Raton on

My dog (American Staffordshire Terrier)started having seizures when he was about 12... My vet ran some tests and BEFORE he brought in a neurologist, we put him on a seizure medication. It starts with a "p"... It didn't "stop" him from having them, but it spread them apart. Find out about going that route first... We had to mess with the dosage before we got the perfect fit for him.. Good luck and I'm so sorry to hear about your dog... Animals are like my furry children~



answers from Philadelphia on

I am so sorry you and your family have to go through this... It is a horrible decision to have to make. You don't want your pet to suffer too much. I think, sadly, it does come down to financials to some degree. As well as the pet's age and what the chances of recovery are. Ultimately it's a personal decision between you and your vet, and no one should judge you. Again, I am so sorry.



answers from New York on

She is young so if you can get her seizures under control hopefully she can
be a wonderful companion for many more years. If her drooling, twitching
and bladder control loss does not get better and she is not responsive, then
I think you know the answer. We did everything to get my beautiful English
Springer Spaniel diagnosed. She had cancer. It cost a lot of money and in
the end had to put her down. However, I was hoping to get all studies done
and cardiologist opinion to find out we could treat her. So it was a lot of money but I could put my head on my pillow at night knowing we did everything we could. So sorry you are going thru this.



answers from Los Angeles on

Like you said, the decision depends on your finances. We have a mini dachshund who is like a 2nd child to us and we would do whatever we could to keep her healthy and alive but given our current situation, we probably wouldn't spend more than $1000. BUT that is b/c of our current situation (husband out of work, me getting paid not that great). If we had the $, we'd spend it. Good luck with your decision... sorry about your dog :(



answers from Houston on

Our beloved Corgi, Fergi, had hip displasia. She had it from a puppy on. We did meds and she improved. When she was 10 it got bad. We put her on steroids which helped some but the vet told us that she needed surgery but at her age and health she would most likely not make it through the surgery. We kept her on the steroids because she did not appear in pain and the vet said once she was in pain or if she started having urinary infections we would have to look at putting her down. About a year later, she wasn't able to walk and she was moaning. We made the hard decision to put her down. My heart just broke. However, there really wasn't anything else to do for her. We spent around $500. Our vet was fantastic. They didn't charge us for putting her down or the "burial".

You do what you can.



answers from Austin on

I'm sorry you're going through this; watching pets decline is so difficult. I just wanted to pass on some good advice we received from our vet. One of our beloved cats began having strokes a few years back and it was exactly as you said - he was not the same cat. He had gone blind and would have these episodes of walking in circles forever, bumping his head on things (even though he had adjusted amazingly well to being blind). He would get better, but then have a relapse. We were so torn, but the vet very wisely asked us what quality of life the cat had now. It was clear what we needed to do. It's so difficult with pets because you can't ask them what they want. I thought assessing quality of life was extremely good advice.



answers from Houston on

Aww, how sad. Sounds like you're doing your best and that's all that you can do. We had a dog growing up, his name was Fred. Was about 6 mos and started having seizures, Mom thought he was rabid the first time, lol. We took as good of care as we could, giving him his meds and putting up with his 'habits', i.e., barking at the hinge side of the door to go out, putting all four feet in the grass and his behind aimed squarely on the patio, soft growling when being pet (we jokingly called it 'purring'). He got to the point that the meds didn't help and he had a harder and harder time recovering from the seizures and we had to make a tough decision. As I get older, I try to take the 'no regrets' approach to everything I can. When faced with a challenge of any kind, take the path of least regrets - it's different for each person, so you can't compare to what Sally Sue would do. Those are tough to live with, so it helps me to think clearer. Hugs to you!


answers from Jacksonville on

Oh I feel for you. We went through something quite similar with our GSD almost 2 years ago. I actually posted a question about it at the time. Our vet couldn't figure out what was wrong (she had a bulging eye and swollen head on one side--though she is an inside dog and never is outside alone, and we found no evidence of ANY type of trauma having happened to her--not even a mark on her. We thought a snake bite or spider bite even, but no evidence of that either). High fever was about it, except for swelling on one side of her head, with the protruding 3rd eyelid. The vet gave us pain meds and an antibiotic (her white count was high) on the first day before the seizures started...but she only got worse (falling down) and then the seizures started. She was having seizures on day 2. We didn't realize what they were though. She didn't lay there and shake... she would just freeze up and then her head/neck would go back really stiff and farther than it should have, with her front legs out stiff in front of her. It was intermittent. They would last a minute or two, then she would stop and lay there. She seemed sad and scared. We took her back in when she couldn't walk and were basically told what you seem to have heard as well. No way to tell without an MRI ($2000). Otherwise, watch, wait, and consider euthanasia.
Well, our girl had stopped eating even. She only drank a few sips if I held a bowl up to her. She could no longer stand up and had to be carried outside to pee. She refused, even in that state, to go in the house. I felt like it would have embarrassed her to have done that. So I made my husband carry her out to the grass, and we supported her weight as she tried to crouch. She was scared, but we encouraged her and you could feel the relief in her when she let it gush out. (Sorry to be so graphic).
In the middle of the night (on about day 3 or 4?) she had a full out seizure where she was flailing and running with her legs so that she was spinning herself in a circle laying flat on the floor. My husband got up with her, and tried to calm her and keep her from hitting the furniture legs. He also was so upset by the prospects and the pain we thought she must be in that he crushed up her pain pill (we hadn't been able to force her to eat one--or anything for that matter in a day or two), and mixed it into some protein powder he had and a little water, and used a syringe to shoot it into her mouth. He slept on the sofa the rest of the night to be near her.

The next morning when I got up to for school prep, she was lying on her bed off to one side of the room and listening to the kids walking around getting ready. It was evident that she couldn't SEE them. But she would follow the sounds and smells with her attention. I started giving her more of the protein shake mix throughout the day and brought home some rotisserie chicken to offer her at dinner. The next day, she was attempting to stand on her own. By the end of that day she was walking like a drunk sailor, very slowly around the yard, and enjoying being outside.
We had house guests arrive that Thursday night. She started seizing again. Friday morning I took her to another vet for a 2nd opinion. Got a full discussion of what they could and could not do and check for and what each thing would cost. We agreed to give it a try. For around $600 they admitted her, gave her on diazapam, put in an IV for nourishment, etc. She had another few seizures, then stopped. She started improving. Met with the doc on Sat. morning (the next day) and discussed one of the possible causes being an inner ear infection (white count, vertigo, etc) and agreed to let them sedate her to check (necessary for the shape of their ears). They also found her to have a low thyroid count. Finally came to the conclusion that either a) she suffered an unknown trauma that resulted in swelling and damage to the thyroid-or a tumor damaging it, or b) she had a low functioning thyroid that brought on seizures and an unseen seizure caused her to hit her head on something in the house when we weren't around. It was chicken or the egg... ya know?
If it is/was a tumor, it would get progressively worse, and my understanding was that soon after going off the steroids it would worsen and we'd know. Well, we took her off the steroids and she improved steadily for several weeks.
Now, we go in regularly (every few months) for bloodwork (thyroid check and anti-seizure med blood levels)... she takes 2 meds twice a day (averages around $30/month for the meds?) and she is the same dog we had for the first 6 years of her life. :)) (HUGE grin)....
We were a terribly sad and suffering family for a week while we were in the position you are now... wondering and waiting and debating and realizing what Might be imminent. How to deal with it. How to talk to the kids about it. etc etc etc. My husband was a mess. Well, we all were. The kids were probably better than us adults.
But, in our case, we had a great outcome. If she had not started coming around on her own (after spending $200 at our original vet) we probably wouldn't have followed up with a 2nd opinion. But the partial recovery and then regression made us feel like we HAD to. We could not have afforded to do an MRI to find out a)nothing or b) that there was something we couldn't do anything about anyway. So I really understand.
When our (now current) vet, said "we can run a battery of tests" (not including MRI) to rule out some things and look for some other possible things that might be responsible... and do so for $500 including the medications/food/board/etc while she is here.... we just couldn't not give it a try. She was solidly a member of our family and "should" have had many years left to live with us. She was only 6 at the time! GSD's can live to 12 when taken proper care of them. She has no hip issues, etc.
My daughter (now 10) doesn't remember a time when we did not have our dog with us. She wasn't quite 3 when we got her.

Maybe talk to another vet to see if there are other things they can do to rule out other possibilities besides a tumor. That is what I was told was most likely. But it has been almost 2 years, and apparently it wasn't a tumor. With thyroid meds she is FINE now.
Did your vet check your pups thyroid?

Send me a PM if you need more moral support. We had to set a dollar amount too... and you just never know. There isn't a wrong amount.
Just talk with your kids too. Give them plenty of time to wrap their heads and hearts around this. Whatever happens.



answers from San Francisco on

I can feel your pain. Our last dog had cluster seizures. She had the battery of test and was put on meds before she was one. She did well on the meds for about year and a half the then everything changed. Luckily we had a vet that understood what we were going through and did not continue with all the tests. At a certain point we reached the max of the meds and the seizures continued and it was time to put her down.

I would not take her to a neurological doctor. The seizures should be controlled with medication. If it is a brain tumor it will take its course. You could pay a lot of $$ to find that out, but not may dogs will do well with brain surgery.

BTW - I also had a diabetic cat that required 2 insulin shots everyday. Near the end of her 15 years I gave her daily IV fluids too. I had a vet that worked with me to try and keep the expenses down.

You can love them and still not go broke. Good luck.



answers from Houston on

One other person mentioned "Care Credit", which is what I would recommend. We've used it for our animals (3 cats and 1 dog), and if you pay it off during the "no interest" period, there truly is no interest. Just about everyone qualifies for this credit and it can also be used at human doctors. I originally got mine for dental work (no dental insurance) and have since used it for the vet, too. Good luck with your animals!



answers from Chicago on

We spent over 2k to save our dog. He just turned 2 when he was put to sleep.

I had ferrets I spent very little on. For me, it's a quality of life issue, and a budget issue.

For a 1.5 year old dog? If I could afford it, I'd do the next set of tests and then go from there.

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