Author Topic: Forgoing surgery for dog  (Read 11025 times)

BayAreaFrugal

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Forgoing surgery for dog
« on: February 20, 2017, 06:13:08 PM »
My 3 year old dog has a severely dislocated kneecap and ruptured CCL and needs surgery to repair it. The surgery will cost $3000 (that's the lowest estimate I got), and will entail a 6 month recovery, with weeks of needing to be crated, and a high likelihood of developing arthritis later in life. The vet also said the other kneecap is slightly dislocated, and she thinks the injury is likely due to a genetic disposition, which means the other one could very well go too. I've all but made up my mind that I don't want to do the surgery, but I feel terrible about it. What are my options? Do shelters exist that will take in injured dogs, do the surgery, and rehome them? Would it be cruel to just let her limp around on three legs until the other one eventually goes, and then put her down then?

I know there are some that would say to do the surgery at all costs, but I'm just not one of those people. If it were a quick recovery and the vet thought she'd never have an issue again I would consider it, but knowing that it will be a long difficult recovery and there's a high likelihood we'll have more problems in the future seals the deal for me.

Cole

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2017, 06:25:02 PM »
Honestly any shelter would just put the dog down. You said you have already made your mind up about not paying for the dog to have the surgery so I won't talk about that. It doesn't sound like you should be a dog owner going forward because when you take ownership of another being you become responsible for its life with all the costs that come with that.

I don't intend to come across as mean, just honest.

Future Lazy

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2017, 06:31:19 PM »
What breed is the dog? If it's an otherwise young and healthy dog of a special breed, you might be able to find a buyer adopter that will adopt for the cost of the surgery. Have the surgery done, and turn the dog over to the new owner for it's recovery period and the remainder of it's life.

Alternately, Cole isn't wrong - an injured dog given to a shelter is probably going to be put down, and no-kill shelters likely won't accept an injured animal. They won't even accept an old animal - been there, done that. Their budgets are already extremely small and stretched thin. Asking the dog to suffer in pain until it's pain doubles with two dislocated kneecaps sounds.. really inhumane. It sounds kind of mean, but there's something mathematically sound and humane to shooting a horse with a broken leg - or in this case, putting down a dog with a damaged kneecap.

pbkmaine

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2017, 06:32:26 PM »
It sounds like her quality of life would not be high no matter how many surgeries she has. I have three cats who are getting older. None of them cope with pain or illness well. When they get to a point where their lives will be painful no matter what I do, I will euthanize them. Not because of the cost, but to end needless suffering.

MelodyG

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2017, 06:35:26 PM »
Whatever you decide, you definitely should seriously consider never owning another dog.  These sorts of expenses come along, and when you take ownership of an animal, you shoulder the responsibility for giving them a good life.

lbmustache

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2017, 06:35:34 PM »
My 3 year old dog has a severely dislocated kneecap and ruptured CCL and needs surgery to repair it. The surgery will cost $3000 (that's the lowest estimate I got), and will entail a 6 month recovery, with weeks of needing to be crated, and a high likelihood of developing arthritis later in life. The vet also said the other kneecap is slightly dislocated, and she thinks the injury is likely due to a genetic disposition, which means the other one could very well go too. I've all but made up my mind that I don't want to do the surgery, but I feel terrible about it. What are my options? Do shelters exist that will take in injured dogs, do the surgery, and rehome them? Would it be cruel to just let her limp around on three legs until the other one eventually goes, and then put her down then?

I know there are some that would say to do the surgery at all costs, but I'm just not one of those people. If it were a quick recovery and the vet thought she'd never have an issue again I would consider it, but knowing that it will be a long difficult recovery and there's a high likelihood we'll have more problems in the future seals the deal for me.

I would amputate the leg that is causing problems. Your dog is only 3, and there's no guarantee that the "other (leg) will go too."

Also FWIW, dogs can live with only 2 legs and don't need to be put down because of that.

eta: if the cost of amputation is also too much (maybe around $1000?), I would honestly look into a local rescue. Your dog sounds healthy aside from the joint issues.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2017, 06:38:18 PM by lbmustache »

former player

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2017, 06:48:30 PM »
As I first time dog owner I have struggled with this one as well, although so far it's been mainly theoretical, as my dog has aged without serious issues and now at nearly 12 is probably past major interventions.  When I got him I did buy health insurance for him in order to take financial issues out of what would could be difficult decisions made in fraught circumstances.  He doe have arthritis, which so far is controlled with daily medication.

In your case, your dog is still young at 3, and depending on breed could have 5 to 12 years of life left.  But weeks of being crated and 6 months of recovery, quite possibly followed by the same thing all over again (the stress that will be on the other knee during recovery from the first surgery could make this more likely) would be over a year of your dog being in pain and/or restricted movement and activities.  I'd find it hard to choose to put a dog through that.  Is amputation an option you have discussed with the vet?

I agree the dog should not be left untreated: if you decide against the surgery you must have her humanely put to sleep as soon as possible.

As the problem is likely genetic, it seems that the dog is the victim of poor breeding practices.  That's on her breeder, not you.  All you can do is deal with the shitty situation you have been handed.  Make whichever choice you think you will regret the least.

Apocalyptica602

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2017, 06:54:05 PM »
For an old dog this decision would be easy for me, however with such a young pup it becomes much more difficult.

I'd look into options to amputate, I've seen plenty of dogs live active, pain-free, fulfilling lives on 3 legs. If (IF!) the other one goes it's a different decision entirely that shouldn't weigh on this current one.

You're going to catch a lot of flak but I understand that you need to be logical about these things. I'd not make judgement of your personal character and say you should never be a dog owner again, but you should ensure that you're adequately able to afford these things before taking on a pet in the future.

waltworks

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2017, 07:31:56 PM »
$3k would save multiple human lives.

Your dog has had a nice life with you, presumably. If/when the dog stops eating or seems to be in unbearable pain, put it down. If that makes you feel terrible, donate the cost of the surgery to a worthy charity and know that you've saved some human lives.

Very simple.

-W

ltt

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2017, 08:14:42 PM »
I don't know how much vet prices vary, but have you sought a second opinion from another vet??

bogart

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2017, 08:19:00 PM »
I'm sorry you're needing to face this decision.  I can't tell from your post whether your dog is actively in pain or whether, if she is quiet/can be kept to low activity (obviously any dog needs to be able to go out to pee, etc.), she is comfortable.  I think that matters -- if the former (pain that will not go away without surgery) and if you decide against surgery, I think you should have her euthanized (this assumes no one else willing to adopt her and deal with the surgery, and perhaps if she is a rare breed or something, you could find someone.  But my best guess is likely not for reasons others have described). 

OTOH, if she can be comfortable (and certainly this could include Rx pain killers such as Rimadyl or Previcox, if appropriate -- I'm not a vet) ... is there any chance the dislocated kneecap can be repositioned without surgery (I have no idea)?  I ask because about a decade ago, I had a dog with a torn (not ruptured) CCL for whom TPLO surgery was recommended.  I had decided after much musing to go ahead with it, but when they shaved him to do the surgery, he had skin irritation that they said needed to be allowed to clear up before they could cut into him (basically a risk of causing infection by carrying germs on his skin into his body with the incision).  I mean, he was literally on the table, anesthetized, ready for the surgeon to cut into and they decided they couldn't do it.  So they sent him home (I was out about $300 just for that bit) with disinfectant soap, etc., to resolve the skin issue.

Anyway, long story short I had done a bunch of reading on TPLO and at least for dogs with a torn (not ruptured) CCL and at least back then, it was not really clear whether the TPLO is what benefits them or the extensive rest and very gradual re-introduction of activity.  So I decided to take the skin problem as a sign and did not return for the surgery, instead I kept my dog basically crated and very quiet for ~6 months (as you are describing), leash walking only and very very gradually added activity.  Also, I live in a one-story house and set up a ramp for our 2-step front entry so he didn't have to navigate stairs.  I will say that he was (mostly) OK with being quiet, was old enough and calm enough that he didn't feel/go nuts.  Obviously other dogs (your dog) might take less kindly to that.  Anyway, I feel for my dog this turned out to be a good decision, he lived out a long life (if somewhat less active -- but really, still pretty active, I mean, 3-mile off-leash walks became a  part of our routine again once he was fully recovered) and died at the age of 12 from complications of Cushings disease (well, I euthanized him because of them -- but, he was not long for this world when I made that decision), obviously not related to the TPLO.  Oh, and he was a ~70 # dog, so 12 years was pretty much his natural life span. 

Good luck to you making the right decision for you and your dog.  And in response to those who've said you should never get another dog, my own sense from reading your post is that you're concerned about how much benefit the surgery will provide your dog, how unpleasant (for the dog) the recovery will be, and not just the cost.  But regardless -- I don't think deciding against the surgery makes you a bad dog owner (as long, obviously, as you do right by your dog overall in terms of ensuring she is as comfortable as she can be while alive and making the decision to euthanize her if/when that becomes the right thing to do because her quality of life isn't good, whether or not you pursue the surgery). 

startingsmall

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2017, 08:20:36 PM »
Veterinarian here.

Cruciate surgery (even in the case of concurrent patellar luxation) is typically not a life-or-death surgery. Most dogs with patellar luxation never receive surgery.... and while the may develop some lameness with age, it typically isn't something that seems to have a significant impact on quality of life. I've had plenty of patients with cruciate tears whose owners could not afford surgery.... over time, the joint will scar and produce a functional and typically-pain-free knee. This is especially the case in smaller breed dogs, though I've also seen good results in larger dogs. My in-laws' 90-lb German Shepherd tore her cruciate ligament when she was about 2 years old and they couldn't afford surgery.... she's now about 10 years old and limps a bit on that leg after extremely active days, but most days shows absolutely no lameness and no signs of discomfort.

I definitely wouldn't consider euthanasia, surrender to a shelter, or amputation unless your dog has more going on than just the patellar luxation and cruciate tear. If six months go by and she's still in pain, that would be a different story and you may have to start weighing your options.... but most dogs will have a decent quality of life without surgery. (Yes, recovery is faster and overall prognosis is typically better with surgery, especially in the case of concurrent patellar luxation, but only you can decide whether that's worthwhile/feasible for you.)

Talk to your vet, but pain meds & 'benign neglect' (+/- a period of activity restriction) are typically a reasonable option in the case of a cruciate tear (with or without patellar luxation) where surgery is not an option.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2017, 08:39:53 PM by startingsmall »

PJ

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2017, 09:34:17 PM »
I've always tended to be a person who did as much for my pets as possible, even at significant personal cost, if there was a reasonable chance of decent quality of life.  I've also done fostering for out local Humane Society, and known people connected with several other rescues.  Plus I just know a lot of people with pets!  Ultimately, you are the one with access to information about your dog's health, prognosis, quality of life currently, etc.  So you're the only one who can decide what's right for her.  But I'd hate to see a young dog put down because of what might develop down the road.  Here are some pertinent thoughts/examples to your situation: 

"My" first dog (as an adult) had obviously torn her cruciate ligaments when younger, and was not treated.  Yes, she had arthritis (but then, she was a middle-aged dog when I adopted her), and she was a pretty big girl, about 80 lbs.  Sure, the arthritis had some impact on quality of life, which I would describe as aging her faster, but we were able to give her some relief with medication, and I would not have said that she needed to be put down for that reason.  She loved to walk and walk and walk, and we put in a solid 1.5 hours a day at a good clip, right up until close to the end.  (And I lost 2 pant sizes in the first 6 months I had her!)  She'd be creaky first thing in the morning though!  She eventually developed  a condition called ITP, and when she didn't respond to treatment, was euthanized then. 

A friend's dog, a very active golden retriever mix, had cruciate surgery on both legs, with the whole "6 months cage rest/only out in the backyard on a leash to pee" thing.  As startingsmall says, the activity restriction could be helpful even without the surgery.  It's not as bad as it sounds!  It would require you to have a decent size cage (big enough to turn around and fully stretch out), plus do things to provide the dog with mental stimulation.  Chew toys, puzzle toys, brushing them, teaching them tricks, etc.  They aren't necessarily in the cage when you're home, by the way, just when you're not around to supervise their behaviour.  Molly (friend's dog) didn't love this period of time, but she survived it, and is happy and healthy now (years later).  Actually, because they had to work harder at engaging her mentally, and training her to go lie down rather than jumping around, I would say she became better trained during that period of time :-)

Many rescue groups would absolutely be happy to take your dog and treat it, if you feel you can't or won't be able to treat her medical needs in future.  Finding one that has the room and ability to do so at this particular juncture in time is the tricky part!  Because many are currently full up with other dogs that they're doing the same thing for.  But you may be able to find one that will take her eventually, if you can keep her until they have an opening in one of their foster homes.  Best bet, if she is any particular breed (doesn't even have to be an exotic breed) is to look for a rescue group that specializes in that breed.  Some breed specific rescues will take in mixes of that breed, and there are also some semi-generic rescues, such as ones that specialize in small dogs overall.  Also, ask them to cross-post it/put it out to their networks if they don't have the space right away.  Lots of animals get placed via facebook, even out of area, and sometimes they can even help arrange transport.

One example of a rescue group going all the way for an injured animal.  Our local humane society had a vet volunteer to do surgery on the badly broken leg of an 18 year old cat that was surrendered to them, putting in pins so she could recover - after they did an exam and blood work to ensure she had no other major issues.  They ended up deciding she wasn't highly adoptable, so she ended up in a foster home - mine!  Where she happily lived 3 more years, and died peacefully at home at the ripe old age of 21.  When I adopted one of the other cats I fostered, I mentioned during the pre-adoption vet check that his breath was foul.  They had a vet doing volunteer work to get a dentistry specialization, so whisked him off to be seen by her.  He had all but two teeth pulled in the end, and a very fancy "case study" report produced!  I know I've strayed pretty far from the original question with these last two examples, but my point is that it may not cost the shelter/rescue group as much for the surgery, because they may have their own staff vets, or get a discounted rate from a vet they work with regularly, or even have a vet volunteer to do the surgery.  It all depends on the shelter.  This is not as likely to happen in a city-funded shelter, but may be possible at one of the shelters or smaller rescue groups supported by donors. 

Hope this is helpful, and I really wish you luck in determining the best course of action for your situation. 

khangaroo

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2017, 09:41:01 PM »
All the previous posters who say you shouldn't be a future dog owner are asinine.

Animals can become a very close part of your family but at the end of the day, an animal is an animal and you've given them a fantastic life.

If the surgery doesn't fit with your financial situation and you've done your cost/benefit analysis then I wouldn't feel guilty. I would make their last days the best that I can and then euthanize them peacefully.

There's no point in putting yourself in a financial hardship for an "avoidable" hardship - $3,000 is a lot of money!!

Hopefully this doesn't start a PETA flame war.

azure975

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2017, 09:48:23 PM »
I think passing on the cost to a shelter or rescue is irresponsible. I am very involved in animal rescue and we get a lot of cases like this. We do not have piles and piles of money with which we fix up all the medically needy animals and find them new homes. I would say either pay for it yourself or euthanize. Don't expect someone else to do it for you.

obstinate

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2017, 10:42:09 PM »
Whatever you decide, you definitely should seriously consider never owning another dog.  These sorts of expenses come along, and when you take ownership of an animal, you shoulder the responsibility for giving them a good life.
If the dog you own is a rescue, then someone would have been making the same calculus at some point down the line. Dogs get put down all the time, most for reasons less good than, "The animal would require an expensive surgery." Most of the time it's just because nobody wants them.

It's one thing if you caused the animal to be brought into the world (e.g. by buying from a breeder). But if it is a rescue, then, IMO, there's no issue. Personally, I would not have a guilty conscience to have a dog put down under this scenario.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2017, 10:48:04 PM by obstinate »

Case

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2017, 07:25:54 AM »
My 3 year old dog has a severely dislocated kneecap and ruptured CCL and needs surgery to repair it. The surgery will cost $3000 (that's the lowest estimate I got), and will entail a 6 month recovery, with weeks of needing to be crated, and a high likelihood of developing arthritis later in life. The vet also said the other kneecap is slightly dislocated, and she thinks the injury is likely due to a genetic disposition, which means the other one could very well go too. I've all but made up my mind that I don't want to do the surgery, but I feel terrible about it. What are my options? Do shelters exist that will take in injured dogs, do the surgery, and rehome them? Would it be cruel to just let her limp around on three legs until the other one eventually goes, and then put her down then?

I know there are some that would say to do the surgery at all costs, but I'm just not one of those people. If it were a quick recovery and the vet thought she'd never have an issue again I would consider it, but knowing that it will be a long difficult recovery and there's a high likelihood we'll have more problems in the future seals the deal for me.

A lot harsh advice here.  Here is a contrasting perspective:

You need to decide where you stand in terms of what you feel is right.  You need to think about some critical ethical issues and decide where you lie, and only from there can you derive some peace of mind.  Do you believe dogs have less rights than humans?  Why?  What about other animals?  When you get a pet, do you think of the pet as a family member?  A friend?  An acquaintance?  Someone whom you purchase in exchange for companionship?

Of all the people criticizing you here, I wonder how many are meat eaters.

Myself, my wife and I have a cat, and I'd probably drop a fair amount of dough to keep her alive if it was a mostly happy existence.  We think of her as some form of family member; she is essentially treated like a perpetual infant/toddler.

I had a manager once who owns dogs, and when they got old he would put them down at the first sign of health problems, even against his vet's advice.  He is Christian, and as such I presume believes that dogs do not have souls, yadda yadda, and perhaps therefore do not deserve the same monetary sacrifices.  I would say that I don't agree with him, but then again, I eat meat, and therefore I contribute to unnecessary suffering to animals, so who am I to criticize?

I would spend money to help our pet, largely because we have developed a bond with her.

I don't think you should necessarily consider never owning a dog again.  However, now you are forced to consider situations you hadn't considered before, and hopefully that will influence your decision making process in the future.

As MMM has posted, owning a pet is not a frugal choice.

Fishindude

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2017, 07:43:07 AM »
People get so sensitive when the subject of dogs comes up.  Some put them at the same level as human life.
No way that I would put $3,000 in a dogs surgery.  You didn't do anything to mistreat the animal or cause the injury, and you shouldn't feel any guilt.

Dogs are a dime a dozen, you can often get them for free, and there are a ton of them being put down at your local shelters every day because they are unwanted. 
I'd probably just put it down and get another dog.


DangleStash

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2017, 09:19:25 AM »
My 3 year old dog has a severely dislocated kneecap and ruptured CCL and needs surgery to repair it. The surgery will cost $3000 (that's the lowest estimate I got), and will entail a 6 month recovery, with weeks of needing to be crated, and a high likelihood of developing arthritis later in life. The vet also said the other kneecap is slightly dislocated, and she thinks the injury is likely due to a genetic disposition, which means the other one could very well go too. I've all but made up my mind that I don't want to do the surgery, but I feel terrible about it. What are my options? Do shelters exist that will take in injured dogs, do the surgery, and rehome them? Would it be cruel to just let her limp around on three legs until the other one eventually goes, and then put her down then?

I know there are some that would say to do the surgery at all costs, but I'm just not one of those people. If it were a quick recovery and the vet thought she'd never have an issue again I would consider it, but knowing that it will be a long difficult recovery and there's a high likelihood we'll have more problems in the future seals the deal for me.

If you've come to the decision that you won't spend the money on the surgery, then you need to find a rescue or no-kill shelter and turn over the dog.

honeybbq

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2017, 09:53:36 AM »
All the previous posters who say you shouldn't be a future dog owner are asinine.



Pets cost money. One should budget reasonable costs over a pet's life. Most pets need at least some surgery, medication, or intervention in their lives. Dogs average 12 years, cats more than that. Certain breeds of cats and dogs have higher risks of knee problems, cancer, etc. One should make a smart choice when selecting a pet and go in knowing the 'risks' for costs.

The most asinine thing is thinking that a shelter would perform surgery for a dog and rehome it. Millions of animals are put down every year because pets are not budgeted for appropriately or kept humanely (e.g. on heartworm medication in regions that need it).

I don't think the OP is a bad pet owner, just woefully ignorant of the realities of pet ownership. That said, 3 years in a loving home is more than many animal get.
 

marielle

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2017, 10:06:41 AM »
Dogs are a dime a dozen, you can often get them for free, and there are a ton of them being put down at your local shelters every day because they are unwanted. 
I'd probably just put it down and get another dog.

I agree. Millions of cats and dogs are put down because they are unwanted and shelters don't have the space. For $3000 you can save dozens of cats or dogs and give them 3 years of a good life that they would not have gotten. Yes, people get attached to their pets, which I understand--so I would never judge someone for spending $3000 on a beloved family member. But I also would not judge someone for looking at it more logically and doing the humane thing, which could be to put the dog down and save others from being euthanized. $3000 can also go to a great charity to save a human life too.

I don't think people realize exactly how many dogs and cats are euthanized each year. It's 3.7 MILLION. EACH YEAR. I also am wondering how many people here are meat eaters judging someone for not wanting to spend $3000 on a dog, which may or may not have a good life going forward...

Just please don't push the cost onto someone else. Don't make someone have to choose between saving the life of another dog and this one. Giving the dog up to a no-kill shelter means that some other dog (who might be perfectly healthy) will die at a kill shelter. No-kill shelters don't have infinite room, and if they did 3.7 million cats and dogs wouldn't be euthanized each year.

Sibley

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2017, 10:44:11 AM »
OP, somewhere in the middle of the judgement is a vet who posted about a middle of the road option. Read that. I'd try that first and see where it gets you.

iris lily

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2017, 10:44:53 AM »
Dogs are a dime a dozen, you can often get them for free, and there are a ton of them being put down at your local shelters every day because they are unwanted. 
I'd probably just put it down and get another dog.

I agree. Millions of cats and dogs are put down because they are unwanted and shelters don't have the space. For $3000 you can save dozens of cats or dogs and give them 3 years of a good life that they would not have gotten. Yes, people get attached to their pets, which I understand--so I would never judge someone for spending $3000 on a beloved family member. But I also would not judge someone for looking at it more logically and doing the humane thing, which could be to put the dog down and save others from being euthanized. $3000 can also go to a great charity to save a human life too.

I don't think people realize exactly how many dogs and cats are euthanized each year. It's 3.7 MILLION. EACH YEAR. I also am wondering how many people here are meat eaters judging someone for not wanting to spend $3000 on a dog, which may or may not have a good life going forward...

Just please don't push the cost onto someone else. Don't make someone have to choose between saving the life of another dog and this one. Giving the dog up to a no-kill shelter means that some other dog (who might be perfectly healthy) will die at a kill shelter. No-kill shelters don't have infinite room, and if they did 3.7 million cats and dogs wouldn't be euthanized each year.
Agreed,  Mostly.

The goal here, if the OP wants to be a responsible adult, is

1) do what is necessary to keep you dog out of pain

2) do not foist this pet on overworked, underfunded shelters. Hahaha to the poster above who instructs OP to find that mythical "no kill" shelter that will come up with funds OP has chosen not not find.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2017, 11:11:12 AM by iris lily »

Polaria

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2017, 11:03:51 AM »
I don't know how much vet prices vary, but have you sought a second opinion from another vet??

OP, somewhere in the middle of the judgement is a vet who posted about a middle of the road option. Read that. I'd try that first and see where it gets you.

+1, I totally agree with you both. I'd try those steps first before thinking about euthanasia.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2017, 11:09:34 AM by Polaria »

Ocinfo

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #24 on: February 21, 2017, 11:14:32 AM »
Try to find a place similar to this: http://www.helpinghandsvetva.com/procedures-pricing/acl/

Their price is $999 dog ACL tears. Alternatively, let it heal or have an amputation.

Before we were fairly well off we had adopted a 6 year old cat that turned out to have a massive mouth infection. Regular vet wanted $3k+. Helping hands did the surgery for $200. She's now 12, literally toothless, and very happy. Best money I ever spent.


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startingsmall

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2017, 11:22:32 AM »
Try to find a place similar to this: http://www.helpinghandsvetva.com/procedures-pricing/acl/

Their price is $999 dog ACL tears. Alternatively, let it heal or have an amputation.

Before we were fairly well off we had adopted a 6 year old cat that turned out to have a massive mouth infection. Regular vet wanted $3k+. Helping hands did the surgery for $200. She's now 12, literally toothless, and very happy. Best money I ever spent.


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That website quotes $1000 for a lateral suture repair. That is not considered an effective repair technique for larger dogs (most dogs with ACL tears are large; lateral suture is typically only recommended for dogs <40 lbs). Also, it is a surgery that would only address the cruciate tear, not the concurrent patellar luxation (which I'm assuming will likely be addressed with the $3k procedure). The standard of care (at least for large-breed dogs) is a TPLO or TTA, which are more expensive surgeries because they are typically performed by a specialist. While $1000 seems better than $3000, better to spend $3000 on a more effective repair than $1000 on a repair that fails.

Again, these are all issues that OP has likely already discussed (or needs to discuss) with their veterinarian. But if the "I can't/won't/don't-want-to spend the money for surgery" conversation hasn't happened yet, that needs to be the next step. I see clients every single day who can't afford "standard of care" treatments. Most of us veterinarians are pretty familiar with the conversation that follows and how to help people arrive at a Plan B that works for them. If the dog is truly suffering, maybe your veterinarian will suggest rehoming/euthanasia/etc. I cannot think of a single time that conversation has ever arisen in a young dog with a cruciate tear, though (and I've been practicing in a low-income area for 10 years and seen plenty of cruciate dogs whose owners could not afford surgery), so your veterinarian will likely be able to talk you through a more conservative approach.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2017, 11:31:05 AM by startingsmall »

I'm a red panda

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #26 on: February 21, 2017, 11:25:00 AM »
Rather than a shelter (especially if your area does not have a no-kill shelter), can you try rehoming through a foster organization?

For many people $3,000 for a surgery for a 3-year old dog would be a no-brainer (for a 14-year old dog...well, that's harder.)

milliemchi

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #27 on: February 21, 2017, 01:32:43 PM »
I just want to point out that there are actual people around who have do-not-resuscitate orders on themselves because they don't want to suffer more than necessary and don't want the family to spend boatloads of money for end-of-life care. There are a lot of people who find this ethically justifiable, myself included. If you think about this a bit, you find that the amount of money, the quality of life, and the life expectancy are important variables, but they are completely subjective.  There is no clear cutoff value that makes one situation qualitatively different from another, and everybody will have their own cost/benefit calculation to make.

Circling back to your dilemma, I would say that if human life is up for consideration based on finances and quality of life, then a dog's life certainly is. Unlike a human, your dog cannot make these decisions for himself, so you have to make them. Choose what you think is best overall. $3000 can provide surgery to permanently cure blindness for 10 children born with congenital cataracts. Check out 20/20/20, I donate to them regularly.

iris lily

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #28 on: February 21, 2017, 02:08:27 PM »
 Please pay heed to the veterinary specialists of thread who suggest some options.

I am on a board for a breed rescue and we have had a few dogs over the years who are turned into rescue because the local veterinarian tells the owners they need thousands of dollars of  surgery.-We know our breed very well and we work closely with veterinarians who are very knowledgeable about our  breed, and those surgeries are often not necessary.

Stories following, skip if tl;dr-- In fact, a darling dog who is our rescue mascot now came from a young couple who purchased her for thousands of dollars,and then, at the age of 12 months was thought to need joint surgery. Her owners turned her in to our breed rescue.  We lucked out, this dog does not need that surgery  and we all get to enjoy her at rescue events. She  is about the cutest thing I have ever seen in my life!  While it is true that as she ages her mobility may be compromised right now she is fine.

 Just this month we had a four week old puppy turned in to rescue from a puppy mill falsely diagnosed with something very serious. Our rescue coordinator didn't think it was possible the pupoy had this problem, we showed this puppy to our vet who agrees no that is not a problem, and now we have a little puppy in our Rescue. That is very unusual to get a puppy.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2017, 02:12:00 PM by iris lily »

Capsu78

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #29 on: February 21, 2017, 02:40:15 PM »
FWIW, I once knew a business associate who grew up on a working livestock farm.  He raised many pets over his lifetime but he knew from an early age on that it was "very bad form" to be "just a pet" on a working farm who required major medical bills...Vet $$$ were spent on the livestock only.

I recently watched (on FB anyway) a close friend whose 2 year old cat came down with something not life threatening but requiring surgery.  After $4000 and 2 days into recovery, the cat died.  She is a mess.   As for me and my family, we have successfully raised many pets, some as long as 20 years... We have never been faced with a large $$$ expense, but have had to make some final decisions on "quality of life" issues.   

alewpanda

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #30 on: February 21, 2017, 02:52:24 PM »
I would follow the advice of the vet above concerning allowing the tear to heal without surgery.   I am not sure the surgery would be absolutely necessary unless the pain is ongoing.  My dogs are indoor dogs, but they roughhouse with the other animals like the best farm dogs.  At least once my older dog has popped a hip out of socket...and we haven't done anything besides make sure it pops back in, and give him pain meds while keeping him quiet.  Granted, I don't know exactly the extent of the damage, but he spent months each time with moderated exercise, pain meds as needed, and regained most of his mobility without much concern on his part.  Now he is 6 and losing some of his mobility in that hip....likely due to the prior injuries.  The vet recommended an anti-inflammatory.  He could get surgery, and likely has previous tears that healed clumsily in that hip,  but the anti-inflammatory is enough to keep him happily active with his sister and the other animals.  If the pain and discomfort became on-going, we would simply put him down humanely.  He enjoys life, limp or no; and a dog doesn't understand recovery periods.  Surgery isn't a fun experience for an animal that can't understand what you are putting him or her through.  He just wants love, walks and yummy stuff in his stomach ;)


BFGirl

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #31 on: February 21, 2017, 03:14:03 PM »
I think I would likely take the advice to limit the dog's activity and see how it recovers.  I have paid for surgery for my cat when she got a huge laceration on her abdomen and it needed to be repaired, but elected not to get surgery for her when she got cancer as she was 14.  She also had arthritis in her hips, but that didn't stop her.  The dog will likely adjust, just as we do when we age or are injured.  I wouldn't put a dog down for this type of injury unless the dog was clearly miserable.


BayAreaFrugal

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #32 on: March 01, 2017, 06:02:45 PM »
Oof, tons of advice and judgments here. I've decided to give my dog a little more time to heal naturally (as one vet recommended somewhere in the middle of the thread) and then re-evaluate. She's a couch potato anyway, so restricting her activity isn't difficult. She also doesn't seem to be in pain, though we do have pain meds we can give her. We're also giving her a joint supplement to promote natural healing.

Honestly, part of the issue I've had is that no two vets give me the same story, and their prices vary so widely, that it's gotten to the point where I feel like I can't trust them. One told me doing TPLO would be massive overkill for a dog of her size, but his quote for just the lateral imbrication procedure alone was nearly as much as another vet would charge me for a TPLO *and* patellar surgery. But the cheaper vet (the one who caused me to write my original post) essentially told me that it was a forgone conclusion that my dog would need the most invasive surgery and that her other leg would get injured within a year because she's genetically predisposed to it. Spending $3k on my dog would be bad enough, but this vet left me with the impression that it would really be $6k I'd have to spend in the next year.

So yea, for now I'm going to give my dog a few more weeks to see if she makes any improvement on her own and hope that I don't have to make this decision.

Josiecat

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #33 on: March 01, 2017, 06:46:10 PM »
OP - Consider doing a Gofundme for your pup's surgery.  I am an animal lover and I have given small amounts to help folks out

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #34 on: March 02, 2017, 01:10:24 AM »
OP - Consider doing a Gofundme for your pup's surgery.  I am an animal lover and I have given small amounts to help folks out
I don't get the sense from OP that this is just about not being able to afford the surgery.  There are other serious issues such as subjecting the dog to a serious surgery, keeping the dog in crates for weeks, a six month recovery, the likelihood of future arthritis, and the likely need for the dog to go through this twice. The replies in the thread then come up with different answers as to the most appropriate treatment choices and conflicting advice based on different veterinary opinions.   There is on top of this the ethical issue of whether the sums of money involved are best spent in this way at all.   I can see that OP has a genuine dilemma as to what to do for the best.  Adding the ethical issues of begging others for money doesn't seem to me to help.

aprilchem

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #35 on: March 02, 2017, 07:51:51 AM »
I would also agree with the advice of the vet above.  My 100 lb lab tore her CCL when she was around 9 and our vet suggested the "wait and see" approach - he said surgery only works part of the time, that confining the dog often results in additional injuries, and that many dogs heal on their own.

Our lab is now 11 years old and has zero problems - the injury completely healed on its own.  She appears to have no pain and still runs and plays like a puppy.  Had we decided to do the $4000 surgery the first vet we saw suggested I'm not confident we'd be in the same situation.

And for those who say that you're an irresponsible pet owner if you don't blindly do what your vet tells you, I'd say I have to disagree with that.  Medical decisions have a financial component, whether it's for a human or an animal.  And there's nothing wrong with getting a second opinion or electing not to have a surgery if the animal/person's life or quality of life is not in danger.

Cassie

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #36 on: March 02, 2017, 01:24:46 PM »
I think the vet on this board gave you good advice but it seems like it might take up to 6 months for it to heal so I would not be hasty. With that being said I think if you want to be a pet owner you need to give some serious consideration to the fact that pets cost $. We have 4 old dogs and I spend 300/month on generic meds. When they were young and I rescued them I never thought ahead to this happening. They have had surgeries, etc when things arise. I think the age of the dog makes a huge difference in the amount of $ to spend. Surgery for a 3yo dog is very different then it might be for a 12 yo one. If you decide that you don't want to spend $ on a dog then really  being a pet owner is not for you.  After this experience I have decided that I will only have 1 dog in the future mainly because of expense. Also vet costs really vary by region. We pay a fortune for vet services in the West while my friends in the Midwest, etc pay very little. 

Cowardly Toaster

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #37 on: March 02, 2017, 04:49:42 PM »
Thing is, if you drop $3k on this surgery, you're going to feel financially invested when the dog needs another $3k surgery.

Don't listen to the person who said you shouldn't own a dog. You have to balance what is best for the dog and your finances.


Fire2025

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #39 on: March 04, 2017, 03:38:04 PM »
Oof, tons of advice and judgments here. I've decided to give my dog a little more time to heal naturally (as one vet recommended somewhere in the middle of the thread) and then re-evaluate. She's a couch potato anyway, so restricting her activity isn't difficult. She also doesn't seem to be in pain, though we do have pain meds we can give her. We're also giving her a joint supplement to promote natural healing.

Honestly, part of the issue I've had is that no two vets give me the same story, and their prices vary so widely, that it's gotten to the point where I feel like I can't trust them. One told me doing TPLO would be massive overkill for a dog of her size, but his quote for just the lateral imbrication procedure alone was nearly as much as another vet would charge me for a TPLO *and* patellar surgery. But the cheaper vet (the one who caused me to write my original post) essentially told me that it was a forgone conclusion that my dog would need the most invasive surgery and that her other leg would get injured within a year because she's genetically predisposed to it. Spending $3k on my dog would be bad enough, but this vet left me with the impression that it would really be $6k I'd have to spend in the next year.

So yea, for now I'm going to give my dog a few more weeks to see if she makes any improvement on her own and hope that I don't have to make this decision.

I think this sounds great.  My aunt has a very "crazy" active medium size dog with this same/similar condition.  They have never done anything but pain management and buster is a completely happy dog.  He limps every once in a while and they give him pain meds and try to keep him inactive.  Then he's back to his crazy self. He's 10 years old and still very active.

As a complete aside we have a rescue and when we first got her, we got pet insurance, the puppy problems seem like the most expensive.  Now we set aside money in a special account that is for her, or maybe the next dog, if she never needs it.  Our last two dogs lived to 18 and 15 and almost never saw the inside of a vet's office, but I worried about being in your exact situation one day, so we came up with this plan for the new dog.  Working well so far.

Just because a person is forced to look at the worst case doesn't mean they aren't good pet owners, it just means they are looking at all the possibilities, one of which is heart breaking.  I wish you all best for you and your pup.

MacGyverIt

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #40 on: March 05, 2017, 11:53:29 AM »
Whatever you decide, you definitely should seriously consider never owning another dog.  These sorts of expenses come along, and when you take ownership of an animal, you shoulder the responsibility for giving them a good life.
THIS.

Unreal.

Fireball

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #41 on: March 05, 2017, 01:02:31 PM »
Holy moly. If the expenses are more than you feel are reasonable, put it down and don't feel bad about it. Going into pet ownership with the thought that you must spend any amount of money to keep it alive and happy is about the most ludicrous 1st world problem I can think of. 

Dicey

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Re: Forgoing surgery for dog
« Reply #42 on: August 24, 2017, 10:29:49 PM »
Dear startingsmall,
You have a very kind heart. Thank you for your insightful posts and suggestions.
~ Dicey