Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Dog Days

This week’s medical drama involves Jake, our mixed retriever dog, who never lets life become dull. He’s actually a very healthy dog, but occasionally...

On Sunday when I reached down to rub his ears, the right one felt oddly wet. On closer inspection, it was inflamed and full of brownish red gunk and smelled awful. He would occasionally scratch it with his back paw, but otherwise seemed unperturbed.

On Monday my husband took him in to see the vet, thinking it would be a simple matter of drops and maybe an antibiotic as it always has been in the past. Instead this is the itemized bill:

Office exam $60.00
Cytology ear (in-house) $37.50
Cytology lump on upper leg $130.50
Fine needle aspirate $23.50
K9 Advantix (6 mo.) $87.00
Tresaderm $31.20
Prednisone $13.00
Cephalexin $25.20

Total $407.90

All because a dog had a red ear! And there was no pre-procedure authorization from an insurance company. It simply went on our Visa card.

I admit I could have cut that amount in half by reminding the vet they had already biopsied the lump on his leg and we had a 6-month supply of K9 Advantix at home which we had never used. But it’s still a lot of money. In fact, almost 3 times what we paid for this mixed-breed dog 10 years ago.

Hopefully he will be down to just the Tresaderm drops and the Cephalexin by Saturday, when he goes to stay with my neighbor for a week while we are in Chautauqua.

Meanwhile the trick is to get him not to roll over when we are washing out his ear and treating it with all these meds. It’s always a challenge!

(The picture above is not Jake, but the ear looks just like his did. Actually Jake's ear was a lot worse.)


Blogger steve said...

i ahd Fleas...well my apartment did...does...and I started getting allergic reactions to the little bastards....enough that as I pulled into the parking lot I would start itching and barking.
So I went to the Pharmacist and asked if it was OK to use dog soap on yourself.
They said "NO!"
And I said "Too late"
so don't anybody out there try it.

Anyway, at the Vet they put me in a cage and called MHMR...

You know, I really should save all this for a post, hmmm?

3:21 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

When I first came to DC and moved into a group house, the house was totally infested with fleas. I wore flea collars on both ankles and they helped a lot. The fleas die naturally when the animal is no longer around. (They had keep someone's dog the weekend before my arrival.)

4:11 PM  
Blogger steve said...

(snapping Fingers)
"Flea Anklets"...I should have known!

4:31 PM  
Blogger media concepts said...

I was waiting for the part about how a few hundred in medical bills pales in comparison to the unconditional love and joy that Jake brings you every day, when you walk through the door and he's there, tail wagging, not even knowing if you were going to come home that day, how you could never put a price on that .... right?

8:50 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

MC -- We get more than a welcome home tail wag. We get 24 x 7 constant companionship now that one or both of us is usually home. It would indeed cost a fortune to pay a human to provide such companionship, so I suppose that $400 was indeed a bargain.

9:06 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Poor Jake...and poor pocketbook. Yikes. Another good reason why I should wait to get a dog, I suppose...I can barely pay for my own ears.

10:52 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Wow, that's a lot of money. I'm glad Jake's going to be fine, though. That's not fun for anyone.

9:31 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Vets are so expensive these days, as the technology and the medical treatments have improved. I remember taking my dogs to the vet as a kid and the bill never broke $100. (On the other hand, pets nowadays live longer!)

1:21 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Melissa -- Hopefully your ears are insured.

Kristin -- Jake loves entertaining the staff and waiting room at the vet's.

Steve -- I must say I am a bit suspicious about extra charges these days knowing the vet office is being totally renovated. I hope I'm wrong...

When I was growing up, my parents would have gladly given them our dog if the cost of a visit had topped even $50!

1:51 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

LOL - Where are you finding random pictures of red dog ears? Did you google image it?

Recently I had to bring my doggie to see the Vet for a 'hot spot' that she was biting and messing about with. Six hundred dollars and a huge shaved area near her hip and all is well again. My friend Joy has pet insurance and I think that may be a smart move. You never know when a little thing is going to cost big.

But glad to hear that Jake is doing well. (So, you are traveling again?!)

4:07 PM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

Oh no! I hope it had nothing to do with the little "incident" here with our stepson's dog a few weeks ago. He seemed fine after that.

10:01 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Gary -- If Jake was sick more often, I would consider insurance, but he is hardly ever under the weather!

Gewels -- Same ear but inside this time. I'm sure it is totally unrelated to his encounter with the puppy. Not to worry! He is really so much better, but it did look awful at first.

11:40 PM  
Blogger mouse (aka kimy) said...

the picture wigged me out a bit.... vet bills can get cranked up so easily!! rosie recently ran up a 300 vet bill...all because of a bladder infection...and they want do dental work...which will entail hundreds of more bucks, unfortunately no budget for that.... at 15 rosie has shitty teeth (what does that translate to in human years?) eh gads....I know I'm awful, but what is that they say can't get blood from a rock! or is it a turnip?

11:04 PM  

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