Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Doggy Diagnosis

So, here we are back from the vet — WonderVet, we might add. He took one look at the dog and said: “abscessed tooth.”

There’s a suspicion I’d have preferred not to have had confirmed. As I mentioned earlier in the day: a look at her big back-of-the-jaw bone-crunching fang shows that it’s not in good shape.

He said it’s not uncommon for a tooth abscess to present this way in a dog.

Fortunately, this is a vet with common sense and an underdeveloped sense of greed. He said there are two possible courses of action:

A root canal, which has to be done by a specialist
Extract the tooth

I asked if there was any real advantage to a root canal and, presumably, a crown (no joke: one friend’s dog was actually given crowns). He said that if I took the dog to the veterinary dental specialist, the guy would give me all sorts of great reasons…but that in fact there really is no advantage. He said the dog’s teeth might migrate over time. I pointed out the dog is over 11 years old…they’d have to gallop to do her much harm between now and the time Gabriel’s horn sounds for her. He allowed as to how that is exactly so. Asked which he recommended, he said extraction is the best strategy: less stressful for the dog and it doesn’t cost $2500.

Root canals on your dog. Dayum! Once again: we are in the wrong business, my friends.

Other vets have thought her teeth were in fine condition; I haven’t had them professionally cleaned (mostly because that way lies fleecing). He said professionally cleaning a dog’s teeth would not stop her from developing an abscess. But he will throw in a tooth cleaning, long as he has her knocked out. They also will do bloodwork and a cardiac test, so she’ll get a very thorough middle-aged dog exam.

So, there we are: that should set me back another thousand bucks. {sigh}

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5 Comments

  1. Ouch! Thank God he gave you two options. Tooth extraction does sound like the more reasonable choice. *sigh* One of the many reasons I currently have no pets is I just can’t afford vet bills. Frankly, unless you’re upper-middle class/rich, I don’t see how anyone affords them.

    • Yeah, I’m worried about the bill. We know (barring complications) it won’t be $2500. But I assume it will be at least $1,000. So much for the wonderful emergency savings I set aside…last month…

      He forked over a package of antibiotics. She’s only had one — well, just scarfed down the second one — and the sore on her face already looks better. So with any luck this stuff will help whatever discomfort she has temporarily.

      She doesn’t appear to be in pain — the Hypochondriac’s Treasure Chest, Pet Section says dogs often don’t. She eats, she hauls in mummfied oranges and chews them to sawdust, she seems doggedly cheerful enough.

      In the past, before the whole idea of dog dental surgery became a Thing, a vet told me that a dog can get by just fine without a tooth…even without several teeth. They don’t chew their food in the way we do (said he). And since she gets FreshPet or real food instead of kibble, she really doesn’t have to.

      Really, the ONLY way you can afford a pet these days is to learn, as best as you can, what is unnecessary and what is really necessary treatment. Pet owners represent a gigantic flock of sheep begging to be sheared, and most veterinaries exist to accommodate. That’s why I like this vet: he does not readily subject your animal to unnecessary treatment for the purpose of making his car payments.

      The other thing you have to do is go back to the farm, mentally, and convince yourself that your dog is not your child…and when it’s time to go, it’s just time to go. People spend THE most outrageous amounts of money trying to keep aged and painfully sick animals alive, delaying the inevitable…apparently for no good reason other than that today we can.

  2. The vet didn’t give you a quote? One thing I like about my vet practice is that they’ll lay out the different treatment options pros/cons and costs including an itemized quote.

    • Well….. I’ve done business with this guy for a decade or two, and we’ve reached a tacit agreement: If I don’t wanna know, don’t tell me. 😉

      Seriously, he does NOT overcharge. If I asked him for an itemized estimate, he would produce it. But we’ve worked together long enough, through enough critters, that I trust him.

    • Matter of fact, on the way out, I asked him if he’d like a down payment and he said “naaah! Don’t worry about it.” 😀