Besides the time I mentioned taking your puppy to the vet in my blog about getting a new dog, I haven’t delved into the topic of vets and dog health. Since I moved out of my parents house and took Riley with me about a year ago, Paul and I have been Riley’s complete caregivers. Before then, my parents would pay for his food and more often than not, his vet bills. There’s something about having total responsibility of another life that is a little scary. I have a bachelor’s degree as a healthcare professional, yet I find it daunting to be the one who makes decisions for my dog.
For Riley’s whole life, we had been taking him to a vet in my hometown. They were very helpful in figuring out that Riley is allergic to chicken! We would always take him for his checkups and to update his vaccinations and for any little issue Rye may have had. We were happy with their services.
Then one day last May, Paul took Rye for a checkup. One of the younger vets at the office performed Riley’s check up. She took a quick look at Rye’s teeth and told Paul that Rye would need xrays, bloodwork, and then go under anesthesia and have his teeth scaled of the plaque build up on his teeth. She went further to say that he may even need a few teeth pulled. Paul was horrified. He asked for an explanation and she responded with complicated medical lingo that Paul did not understand. He knew that Riley has never shown any signs of having trouble chewing food or had any pain in his mouth. Not to mention that this huge procedure came out of the blue! We had no warning that he might need intervention like this 6 months ago at his last checkup. He told her we would have to think about it. He felt like she was either manipulating his emotions to get money out of him, or she simply lacked empathy for his situation.
Paul came home with a list of everything the procedure would include and the cost. It was over $1,000 total. We felt so confused that I called my mom who worked in the dental field for about 25 years. She even called the vet for a better explanation of Riley’s teeth situation. In the end, we were so unsure of what to do! I have heard of younger doctors doing expensive procedures just to earn more money to pay for their college debt. We didn’t know if we could trust this young vet. It seemed so fishy and the price is a lot to suddenly have to drop on your doggy!
When it comes to taking care of my dog, I have the vet and google as my source of knowledge. I am telling you this story because I think a lot of dog owners have been in a situation like this. We think “Do I spend this large amount of money on my pet?” We have been extremely fortunate that Riley has been overall a very healthy dog. It will always be a dilemma for me on when to spend that kind of money on my dog, especially given the circumstances.
We decided not to do the procedure, but to try using Oravet treats and other chewy toys for Riley to try instead of putting him under and doing an expensive procedure. We didn’t think his teeth were as bad as she had put it.
Now that we are in a new location, we have a new vet. Last week I took Riley in because of a stye he has on his eye. We got some meds to help with the stye and it is going away, but I was also looking forward to asking a new vet their opinion on this tooth matter. This vet seemed to be about middle aged and took a good long look at all of Rye’s teeth. Riley was a very good boy and let the vet get right in there. He never lets me look at his mouth like that! He said that he would recommend the procedure and explained why in detail. He was very calm and didn’t seem to be pushing any decision on me. He explained how they have a VIP program where the procedure would be included and broken down into monthly payments, but this program also includes all of Riley’s checkups and vaccinations for that year. He also gave me the quote for paying it all the day of. Oh by the way, both options at this vet quoted over $300 cheaper than the vet back home.
Overall, my experience with the new vet has been very good. I think that we have decided that doing a maintenance/preventative procedure on Riley’s teeth will be worth it in the long run. Rye still has many years left to live and I don’t want to wish that we had done something about his teeth while we still had a chance.
After having to go through this long and difficult decision with the vets and my dog’s health, I feel that I have learned a lot. Choosing a vet to take your dog is like any other business. You want the best for your dog, so you need to shop around. When faced with decisions that seem like your hand is being forced and you’re not sure what to do, go and get a second opinion. Find a vet you can trust. Don’t let anyone force you into a decision that doesn’t make sense. We all love our dogs very much and we want to make the right choice.
With all that being said, Riley will be getting his teeth deep cleaned and maybe a few teeth pulled depending on how the x-rays look. I will keep you guys updated on how it goes and we would love all the prayers and thoughts you can give for the day of the procedure!
Have you had any experiences at the vet that made you second guess what is going on? Have you had to make hard decisions about your dog’s health? I would love to hear if you are going through similar situations with your furry kids and how you handle them! Thanks for reading and have a blessed week!