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Vets Bills and the worst decision?

(9 Posts)
Lilwelshyrs Sun 08-Feb-15 14:57:35

Hi all,

We have a mastiff x ridgeback who is 7 years old. She's not very well at the moment.
She currently is suffering from pancreatitis and we have taken her to the vets. She's been recommended a low fat diet from now on (she was on hypoallergenic dried biscuit before) and to settle her tummy and make her more comfortable we've been giving her chicken and rice as she won't eat anything else currently.
Last summer her cruciate went and we had her operated on. She was initially doing well with it but it looks like she's in pain again.

We do have her insured but the insurance has been maxed out on her cruciate problems so we can no longer claim on that issue. It cost £3000 for the op!

We have limited funds and have already paid out £250 this weekend on vets and tablets for the pancreatitis and she's still not showing improvement sad
We can claim this back via insurance but we're in a bit of a bind. Our rent is due this week and the vets won't let us have treatment for nothing and claim directly from the insurance. This, they have said, is due to the length of time it takes to claim the money back.
They were talking about wanting to put my dog in hospital overnight on a drip and pumping her with fluids and pain killers, but how can we afford this??!

What do we do? She's had an amazing life and we love her dearly, but our funds are limited - my DH and I work our backsides off but just don't have the extra funds for this, it would seem!

What can we do?


AcrossthePond55 Sun 08-Feb-15 15:23:38

Oh bless, that's such a hard thing and such an individual decision. Unfortunately, it's one you really have to decide on your own.

Talk to the vet about her long term prognosis. What quality of life can she expect. Is this going to be a life of back and forth to the vet, upset, pain, and anxiety for her? A vet won't tell you what to do, but they can give you an idea of what to expect. Once you have an idea of that, & if you decide that you want to continue treatment, look into loans if you can't pay out of pocket. Also call the insurance company & see if they have some way to expedite reimbursement. Will your vet take monthly or weekly payments until the insurance reimburses you?

DH and I had to talk about that decision about money spent on care 2 years ago for our 14 yr old Lab who was having problems. For us, 'fate' took it out of our hands and she went into heart failure so in the end the decision was fairly easy for us.

ender Sun 08-Feb-15 16:37:28

could you pay on credit card or arrange an overdraft just to get dog feeling a bit better while you decide what to do?

Ilovemyhubbie Sun 08-Feb-15 17:31:07

Which insurance are you with? We have Petplan and our vets will claim it directly from them as they will pay within 5 days of reviewing a claim. The vets we are with is not however a independent one but a national one. I feel for you. We have a collie who suddenly needed treatment and though we insurance etc I didn't know that the vets would claim directly from the insurance so we have used our emergency credit card. Sadly before the festive period my brother the same predicament and he was able to give the vets a post dated cheque when he knew money would be in his account as he had rent to pay.

badoomtish Sun 08-Feb-15 17:34:50

Have you told the vet what you've told us?

Lilwelshyrs Sun 08-Feb-15 18:41:42

Thanks for the replies.

Sadly our financial situation means we cannot get a loan or do credit cards. We've had a spate of bad luck since my DH went freelance as a number of companies he worked for haven't paid on time and one went bust, so we've been up against it for a while... But that's another thread haha.

We were with Petplan but unfortunately whilst DH was changing bank accounts, for some reason the Petplan direct debit was missed and Petplan cancelled the insurance. When we went to start it back up again, they flatly refused to insure her! So we're with a different company now, but I believe it's a similar policy.

I think our vets are independent - there's only two branches, but I'm just assuming. There is a policy on their wall that states they must receive payment up front and not from insurance companies due to how long (sometimes) it can take. I'm sure they must have some kind of compassion for people in my situation, though... Right?!

I have told them what I've said here. The vet keeps saying that when my dogs other cruciate ligament goes, there will be cheaper surgeons than the one we used last summer, but we simply don't have the money for that! We're still looking at £1000 at least. Thankfully we're not there yet and she's pretty strong on her back leg. So we can cross that bridge if/when we come to it.

She's been better today - had some rice for lunch and tonight she seemed brighter on her evening walk. When we go to the vets tomorrow, I'll find out if they do some kind of finance. We can't be the only people in their customer list who are hard up?!

badoomtish Sun 08-Feb-15 19:45:19

Definitely talk to them about it. And won't they do a basic cruciate repair themselves if you really can't afford referral again? We would recommend referral as gold standard in a large breed dog, but for owners who can't afford it we always offer to do it ourselves. The outcomes are just as good, but it takes longer for them to recover. Ask them about it (we do "over the top" but you can Google for the other techniques including the toggle and de angelo - I'd be shocked if they refuse to even have a go at one of those).

Lilwelshyrs Sun 08-Feb-15 19:53:40

That's very helpful to know, thank you smile Any idea on prices for these procedures?
When they wanted to "keep her in", they said that because she was such a big dog she'd have to be referred to a bigger place... I guess this would be the same for these procedures? Perhaps we look for a different vets?! This one is so handy because we can walk straight there sad

badoomtish Sun 08-Feb-15 20:03:34

We would probably charge up to £750 for a dog of that size, but if an owner was so hard up they were considering PTS we would arrange an instalments plan with them. Good luck.

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