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Dogs n cats n vets...

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I'm prompted to write this because I'm curious as to other people's experiences in this regard.

My whole life, I have always had cats and only cats. I had a dog for a few months when I was a child but he was an impulse acquisition that I begged my parents for and, against their judgement, they caved in to my pleas and the poor little dog didn't have a good life with us. We knew nothing about dogs and he was loved and fed and sheltered, but to have a Kelpie in a suburban household with full time workers and schoolgoers was a bad idea. We ended up rehoming Duffy to a farm, where I believe he lived and worked and thrived until he was 18!!

After that experience there were no more dogs for us, only cats and the odd budgie and goldfish! When I was married we had German Shepherds and I loved them, but it was my ex-husband who really took care of them. Again, I didn't understand dogs and I was thoroughly a cat person.

It wasn't until I met Max and we moved in together, and he wouldn't let me get another cat (lol) that we agreed to get a puppy. Ruby. I have never in my life fallen so utterly head-over-heels in love with anything. We fell HARD for her and that was the start of my love-affair with dogs, the start of everything in my life since then that has been focused around dogs and working with dogs. I learned and learned and loved and loved and eventually became a trainer. It woke me up to welfare issues of all animals, and it also woke me up to how expensive having animals in your life can be.

In the last four months alone, we have gone through absolutely every penny we had saved, looking after Ruby. Ever since she was a puppy she's been quite a sick dog, and in the past two years our vet bills have gone into the thousands of dollars. All for her. About a month ago Chester got sick, too, and we used up the rest of what we had put aside treating him. Ruby is on medication that costs us $700 per year, aside from the other expenses for all the animals - food, vaccinations, regular check-ups, toys, treats, daycare for the dogs. They cost a fortune.

Now, I have no problem with this. Responsible pet ownership also includes spending money at the vet to ensure your pets are well and healthy. This is fine, and we'll start selling things if we have to, to make sure our dogs and cats stay healthy. It seems Ruby has another UTI, and we're out of money. Still, she'll get treated for it, same as she always has.

But it got me to thinking. The most I've ever spent on any cat, ever, was their spay and their vaccinations. Occasionally they've needed a check-up and that was it. Is it just me, or are dogs infinitely more expensive than cats? Do they get sick and injured more often? Or has it just been our bad luck? Or, should I say, good luck to never have had very sick cats?

What has been your experience?
post #2 of 15
I have never had a dog (well ok similar story to yours, parents caved in and ill-advisedly got a puppy that turned out to have parvo so we didn't have him long and we never tried again having faced the heartbreak of it) so I can't comment on whether they tend to work out more expensive in terms of vet care as my one short experience is obviously very skewed in that respect!

I have 2 cats though, and unfortunately I can't say that it's just been neutering and vaccinations.

Radar turned 1 earlier this month and so far has been to the vet for the following:
Initial checkup and first set of vaccinations & worming - £56
Second vaccinations & worming (£25)
Eye infection (triggered by getting steam in his eye) - £40
Neuter and umbilical hernia repair - £125
Microchip - £45
Eye infection - £40
URI/ weird Gastric infection thing - £90
Small abscess - £40 (with possible followup visit to come)

Sonic is 6 months and was vaccinated when we got him but he's also been in for:
Initial checkup - £40
Injured (thankfully not broken) foot - £45
And he's being neutered wednesday which will be £45

I have asked my vet if they do a 'frequent flyer' discount scheme

On a similar comparison though, although avian vet care is much more expensive, the birds I have owned have very rarely needed vet care (other than regular checkups of course) except towards the ends of their lives. When birds get sick they get very sick and it can cost a fortune, but generally they seem to be quite hardy.
post #3 of 15
We are at the vet all the time it seems like. And mainly for the dogs. Keisha used to visit the vet alot because she got UTI's alot also. But now its just the ddogs.(besides vaccinations, and sometimes the other pets have to go also) Spike goes to the vet alot. Not tooo long ago he had his eye removed which was 600 $. Before that he went to the vet atleast once a week. So about a 100 dollars(or more) a week and it went on for a while. Dogs seem to be quite expensive. But my friends all have dogs, and the only time that they take them to the vet is for vaccinations, since they are already neutered/spayed. I'm jelous. ..
post #4 of 15
Dogs are always infinitely more expensive to raise than cats for some reason. Between the heartworm medicine, frontline, glucosomine supplements, food and toys, we spend at least 3 times as much for our 2 dogs than we do on the 13 cats (food, litter and meds). Pound for pound, our 2 dogs weigh as much as the 13 cats, so there shouldn't be that much of a difference, and the dogs don't use litter.

And I think that vets charge more for dogs. We took Sam (dog) into the vet one day because he was gimping and after bloodwork, xrays, etc we were $600 poorer. We took Stumpy (cat) in for a half-mouth teeth extraction and we paid under $300.

When I started my Auntie Em business and started hitting stores with my products, the advice that I got was to focus on dog products over cat products as people are willing to spend far more on dogs than cats. Go figure.
post #5 of 15
We've primarily been a dog family for the last 30 years. Our furries are large breeds, which do cost more than cats. Most vets we've dealt with over the years charge based on size. Over the years, some of our dogs have only seen the vet for annual checkups and spaying/neutering, while others really seem to like to visit the vet. <sigh>

We actually have part of our saving's account designated as the "Ben account." He fell through the window as a puupy and cut his leg, requiring sugery. (Memo to self, puppies will climb on things you "know" they can't reach) Twice he has had emergency surgery for foreign object bowel obstruction (who eats socks?) The last two surgeries were over 2,500 each, but his care was equal to what you would expect for a human undergoing this procedure. Worth every penny. Every month, I put a set amount of money in this fund. I never let it go below 3,000 and I do pay for their monthly expenses out of it.
post #6 of 15
My dogs are way more expensive than my cat - even though she has her own deluxe suite room with massive cat trees and eats a high quality food wet and dry, has lots of treats, and has a heated bed and water fountain, lots of toys, etc.

The dogs eat more, use more shampoo for bath time, toys are more expensive, leashes, collars ( I have a collar collection, I love them), bowls, training classes, dog beds, and everything else. Meds are administered by weight for heartworm and any other meds so that ends up being way more than the cat. Just everything about them seems to cost more, all my animals are very healthy which I am thankful for so the vet visits aren't frequent for problems, mainly just yearly.
We even upgraded our car to fit all the dogs. That was really our entire motivation for the SUV. Sure wasn't the gas bill!!
post #7 of 15
The only cat that's more expensive than my dogs is Damita. I've spent over $1000 on her vet bills since Jan 1 of this year....& that's just vet bills.

I guess, I can't complain about the dogs, they're likely cheaper to care for than Damita!
post #8 of 15
When the animals are young and "relatively" healthy dogs are more expensive...

I am on round two of the senior squad... for my life and cats with chronic issues are just as expensive as a dog if not more...

Kandie*RIP *
lived to nearly 19
ave monthly cost of just suppelements and vet care =125 a month

my either 9.5 yr old yorkie or 11.5yr old ( depending on who told the truth at the shelter)
her supplements and vet care per month with pre cushings = 125 a month

so yeah cats catch up in older yrs ...

I saved on food when Kandie went half raw / half canned ... her food bill on canned / homemade was about 45 $ a month

Gigi eats raw and homemade she runs about 30 a month
post #9 of 15
I've had pretty good experiences with both as far as low medical costs. Thank God for that! Keno was the most expensive cause the previous owner didn't give her heartworm medication and she was outside all year round with no protection against the mosquitoes. So when she was spayed we found out she also had heartworms; and had to go thru the treatment. Several hundred dollars later, she's fine.

But I'm sure she would not be living if still at the previous owner's house!
post #10 of 15
I haven't had dogs, just cats. Granted, my oldest is only 9...but looking at the records, the younger ones have cost me more than the oldest. Overall, vet bills haven't been much. Now, the food bill...

The most I remember spending in one trip was a cardiac workup for Precious, $375 including some meds.

Beandip had a urinary blockage in 2005, and I escaped that day with a bill of only $240 including anesthesia, hospitalization, rx food and meds. I have heard CRAZY amounts for the same procedures...like thousands. I guess my vet goes easy on me.

Pumpkin broke her leg, and that was $191. That included 2 xrays and about 6 follow up visits to change the splints and bandages.

Leopold's recent run in with a poisonous spider was $165 ...would've been less but I had to get different antibiotics and then some anti-nausea meds because of the antibiotics.

We had a foreign body scare with Paisley, $119 for xrays and enema. Turned out she was just constipated.

Beandip had a lot of $100 visits in 2006 for recurrences of his bladder issues. Occasional xrays, steroid shots, antibiotics, etc.

Other than that, there have been handfuls of $30 visits for minor stuff along the way...not much.

Meds per month at the moment are about $45. Food is about $190/month for the gang of 8.
post #11 of 15
I'm so glad Ruby found you guys. So many others would just have her put to sleep if they had to spend so much money on vet bills. I think the biggest bill I have with my animals is teeth cleaning. My previous cats had to get them done every other year or so. They just had bad teeth, no matter what I did at home. And my dog Cameron needs his done too. THis will be his 2nd time and I've only had him 3 1/2 years. The low estimate they gave me was 500 dollars---yikes. But I'm glad you posted this, cause I almost forgot about it since we had to wait to get a heart murmer rechecked. It was gone, thank goodness. That would have been megabucks to get taken care of. (Could not believe they didn't charge me at all to bring him in and have the vet listen for the murmer again).

Does anyone here use pet health insurance? Always wondered if it was worth it.
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
I'm glad Ruby is our girl too. She was at the vet again tonight with another UTI But we love her so - we could never let her be in pain or suffer because we didn't want to spend any money on her. I was thinking when I was driving her there tonight what if she had something worse than what has already been diagnosed, and we had to spend thousands and thousands, for her whole life. My next thought was how maybe I could volunteer at the vet or maybe they'd let us just pay them off at $50 per pay indefinitely. It never crossed my mind once, ever, that I wouldn't treat her - no matter how much the cost. And the same goes for Chester of course and all the children. The dogs had conjunctivitis last week and I was so embarrassed about taking them to the vet AGAIN, but then I thought, eye infections are so horrid, they're so painful and uncomfortable - how could I let my babies suffer because I didn't want to spend another $80? You can't put a price on your babies being safe, happy and healthy.

Chester spends every single minute he's awake following me around the house like velcro dog, Ruby wags her tail every time I walk past, every single night Chester and I have cuddles where he puts his head on my chest under my chin and his front legs across my belly - he really feels like he's holding on tight to me. Every night. If we don't get to do it he frets. No amount of money matters when you have such love.
post #13 of 15
i think it really depends on the animal. i adopted all of my cats as adults, so we never had the neuter costs. when nabu was young he had a couple bouts of crystals and bacterial UTIs. and he's had a few dentals in his 10 yrs of life. stimpy, was adopted from a shelter. he had a urinary blockage when he arrived at the shelter. that never recurred. he's not had much going on. an ear infection, a suspicious mole removed, and a few bouts of bad chin acne. oh and he had an ER trip this year after a bad bout of constipation. but he's never needed a dental yet, and he's 7 yrs old. he has GREAT teeth!

raven, however, is our million dollar cat. he's had crystals (when young). he's had cystitis problems for years. he will be stable for a while, then have a 6 month to 1 year period of chronic/recurring UTIs with no cause. last time he was on amitriptylene for 3-4 months. i remember from fall 2000- fall 2001 he had 8 UTIs in a 12 month period, at $100-$200 a visit. that's not counting the $400 emergency visit that year. he's had multiple dentals (he and nabu get dirty teeth quickly). in the last month i spent $600 trying to find out the cause of his lump. sadly it is cancer.

my family thinks it's weird that i get excited when the vet bill is under $100. i think my CC company would be confused if they had something other than vet charges.

i always find the money. it's healthcare, so it's important. it's just like people, they're all different.
post #14 of 15
I have pet insurance for my cat and while I've never had to use it I feel good knowing it's there.

The cost to insure a cat isn't high, it's just under 10£, that's around 18$ or so, a month and it means that if she ever has an accident and needs surgery or suddenly falls ill I won't have to worry about having money to pay for the care she'll need.

They don't pay for maintanance care like vaccinations and spay/neuter or dental cleanings

It's important to get the lifetime cover type pet insurance that means that if chronic illnesses come up your pet will be covered for life as long as you renew the insurance every year. Otherwise the insurance company will pay for the meds for the chronic illness only for a year and then refuse to carry it over to the next year when you renew.

Anyway it's worth it for the peace of mind for me.
post #15 of 15
I have never owned a dog, but cats can definitely rack up the bills. When Rambo was ill and having the outbreaks of blisters in his throat and eyes. He was in and out of the hospital every month. He got x-rays, barium series, blood work, eye swab, etc. He had 4 overnight stays as he couldn't eat with the blisters (he was a favorite of all the vets techs) and had IVs and shots as we tried to find the right treatment for him. I would estimate through that 8 months of hell for him, i probably spent at least $2000 on him. Now that he's been diagnosed, he's costing me about $10 every 2 months for pills, and $50-60 every 3-6 months for bloodwork.

It's worth every penny i spent though to see Rambo happy and healthy again! (and causing me the usual trouble!)
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