Veterinarian Costs

Veterinarian CostsAs dogs grow older many end-up suffering from heart disease, kidney failure, cancer or other life threatening illnesses.

Thanks to recent advancements in veterinary care, more treatment options are available than ever before. But the high cost can be prohibitive.  So what’s an owner to do?

Before your dog becomes ill, start a special savings account, depositing $25 or more each month. Overtime it’ll provide you with a financial cushion to fall back on when emergencies strike.

If you’re hit with an unexpected veterinary bill, and find yourself in a financial pinch, don’t panic. Try these suggestions:

  • – Ask your veterinarian about a weekly or monthly payment plan. A few doctors have even allowed clients to work off their debt by sweeping floors or cleaning kennels.
  • – Borrow money from family and friends, or ask your boss for a salary advance.
  • – Use your credit card, or apply for a special one that covers animal health care expenses. The company, Care Credit, says there are no up-front costs, pre-payment penalties or annual fees. To learn more visit Contact your breed’s National Club or local humane society. These organizations often set aside funds to help struggling owners with veterinary bills.
  • – Get a part-time job or temp to earn extra money.
  • – Have a garage sale. It’s amazing how much unused stuff accumulates in closets. And just how many people love a bargain!
  • – Ask your bank about a home equity loan or personal line of credit.

Of course, the old saying prevention is the best medicine rings true. Routine care can stave off larger, more costly bills.

If faced with a medical crisis, educate yourself about all treatment options available and possible outcomes. Weigh your options carefully, keeping your dog’s quality of life a top priority.

You may even want to consider hospice care, where the goal isn’t to aggressively treat the disease or find a cure. Instead, veterinarians show owners how to provide their pets with the best end-of-life care possible, which includes pain control, good hygiene, and proper nutrition and hydration.

How to Choose the Best Dog Medication for Your Old Dog

When your vet prescribes dog medication, you will have a number of choices to make:

– Will you go with a holistic or commercial approach?

– Do you prefer liquid, tablet or powder?

– Spot-on medication or the collar type?

Even though your vet can help you decide, the final decision is up to you, and here we show you how to make that decision:

Medication characteristics you must contemplate

It is obvious that your vet is not going to prescribe something that will harm your old dog, however, some medications pose more problems than others.

When talking about older dog medication with your vet, always ask him if there are long or short-term health concerns related to it, and ask about the side effects your best friend may experience.

Don’t forget to tell the vet about any type of medication that your older dog is currently taking and about allergies it may suffer from.

Cost is an important aspect of your dog’s health care. If price is an issue, your vet can tell you if there is a less expensive medication alternative that works just as well.

Remember that some medications, like spot-on flea and tick treatments, can damage your health and your family’s too if these are used carelessly, thus, get thorough information about all the options available.

What’s the right medication for you?

Yes, the medication has to work for you, because you are the one giving it to your old dog.

Ask yourself the following questions, because the easier it is to give the medication, the better the chance your friend will get it on time and for the full period:

– Am I available to give medication every 4 hours or do I need something that lasts longer?

– Am I ok with giving pills, or do I prefer that a vet gives it a shot?

The ideal dog medication is one that has the least, or no, side effects, and no long or short-term health consequences. It is easy to give, safe, effective, and affordable. It is right for your dog’s age, weight, breed, and health condition.

Safety tips

As with any kind of medication, always read and follow the instructions.

Dog medication is normally created thinking of dogs of a certain age, breed, or weight ranges.

Never give cat medication to a dog, put topical medication in places where your dog can’t lick it, for example, between the shoulder blades, and always keep the medication out of the reach of children.

If you want to go the holistic way because you think going natural is better, be careful. Depending on your dog’s condition it could get worse, thus, always talk to your vet before taking that path.

Dealing With Your Dogs Serious Illness

When your older dog is battling a serious illness, it’s normal to feel sad, depressed, frustrated or even angry.

During this difficult time seek outlets for your emotions in order to stay mentally strong and be the best caregiver possible for your canine companion.

Peggy Haymes, an ordained minister, recommends talking to supportive friends, family members –- even strangers on internet chat boards.

Journaling is another outlet for emotions.

“Even 15 minutes of writing in a journal can do a lot to help you process and release those feelings,” she says.

Sharing stories about your pet with other people can help you get through difficult periods, says Haymes who is also a counselor specializing in grief, loss, and depression issues at Grace Court Counseling in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

She even recommends owners talk to their ill pets about happy moments they’ve shared together or the things they appreciate about them.

“You may have tears dripping down on the dog’s fur,” she says of these talks, “but it’s very healing.”

Haymes cautions, though, that your dog’s illness may trigger emotions from a past event, whether with another pet or family member.

“If it really just feels overwhelming to you,” she says, “that’s the time to get some help and seek out a (professional) counselor.”