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Rant - just blowing steam

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Old 09-24-2011, 09:20 PM   #1
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Default Rant - just blowing steam

I spent $216 at the vet today and found out my 1-year-old Lab needs to have a hip replacement within the next year. Goodbye ~$4,000.

I spent the better part of the day running around doing errands for my mom and every time I politely reminded her that I have FOUR DAYS worth of work to do TONIGHT, she got upset (and almost cried at one point) because I'm not "supporting" her.

I finally get home, and the kitchen stinks so bad (because she fails to bother cleaning anything up, or at the very least take the garbage out for me while I'm working 2 jobs), that I spent another hour cleaning it up and loading the dishwasher (which, despite me begging her, she REFUSES to use, even though she has one in her own house).

I finally sit down to work, and she calls to remind me that we're going out for dinner with all of HER friends tonight. Do I want to go? Yes/no. Yea, I'd love to go out to dinner, but I have FOUR DAYS worth of work to do before I leave for work Sunday afternoon. If I don't go, she'll get upset and mad and be hurt. If I go, I lose more than likely 5 hours I could have been working, and catching up.

Just a wee bit stressed and ready to pull my hair out, cry, scream, or all of the above.

The end is near, she goes home in a few weeks. I love her, and it wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have this second job harassing me to get my committed hours done, or if she seemed to UNDERSTAND and RESPECT that I cannot always jump to her command like she wants me to. Or, that unlike her, I don't find selling corn to be my life's dream come true.

*thumps head on desk*
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Old 09-24-2011, 09:40 PM   #2
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Old 09-24-2011, 10:02 PM   #3
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Sorry to hear about your dog and the money it is going to cost you. Pets can be very expense to have. I spend more on vet visits for my dog than I do for my own dr. visits!
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Old 09-25-2011, 12:39 AM   #4
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Old 09-25-2011, 03:55 AM   #5
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The funny thing is, I was going to quit my second job here soon as I have paid off my credit cards. Now, I can't because I need it to pay for Nilla's surgery.

The thought of her surgery is bringing up a whole host of emotions and feelings for me. I know how difficult it is for humans to go through a hip replacement, I can't imagine how tough it will be for her - and I can't even explain it to her. The vet said there's an 88% chance of it improving her to near-normal movements, but my mind keeps thinking about that 12% chance that she won't benefit from it and I'll have forced her to go through this very painful ordeal.

Not to mention, the recovery time is long, much longer than simply getting spayed, and I'm probably going to have to take a leave from my full time job to take care of her. I can probably take 2 weeks (at most) off as my vacation time, but any longer will have to be unpaid leave. I'll have income from my second job at the very least, but it won't be enough to cover my bills (rent, car insurance, car payments, gas, groceries, cell phone, internet).

I'm hoping to work a lot to save up money for her surgery plus money to live on should I need to take unpaid leave.

If she needs surgery, I might try to schedule it for late next year. I should be able to scrape together $375/month between now and then, living on a very limited budget, to pay for her surgery. And then maybe work something out with my landlady about the rent or something if I need to take extra time off.

I'm also worried she won't make it through surgery. And I'm worried about how much pain she's going to be in afterward. Money is a worry - but at the end of the day, it's just money, no I don't have a lot and no, I can't just go pay for the surgery now, but it's not important. It's just money, I'll make more. What matters is her. Because if I lose her, I'm not really sure I could pull through that. I never knew how much I really needed this dog, until I got her.

It's midnight, almost, and I'm looking forward (not really) to 8 hours of typing. Then I get to sleep for a bit, and then go to work at the hospital for 8 hours. I'll have worked 16 hours in the next 24.

I guess I should get used to it.
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Old 09-25-2011, 08:10 AM   #6
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My parents' dog was diagnosed with Legg-Perthes disease when she was less than a year old. My mother was absolutely devastated at first, she was worried that the little thing would end up in horrible pain, unable to walk, possibly not survive at all, that sort of thing. While the surgery isn't the nicest, involving taking away part of the femur bone and letting the muscles form a false joint, the dog made a fantastic recovery and was bounding around as usual a few months later.

One of the reasons why she recovered so well was that she was taken for canine hydrotherapy (swimming). My parents had already booked a three-week holiday in Venice starting three weeks after the surgery, and though it was a difficult decision, they went on it. This is mainly because I'd found them a lovely kennels which also does canine hydrotherapy, physio and all sorts (Hainault Hydrotherapy Centre if anyone in the south of England is interested), after looking up Legg-Perthes and finding that hydrotherapy is fantastic rehab for after the surgery. So the doglet got three weeks of the kind of treatment she wouldn't have been able to have at home. She wasn't the first in-patient they'd had, and they were very experienced in treating a variety of medical conditions, including several dogs with Legg-Perthes.

She had her own room instead of being in a pen next to all the other dogs, so that she wouldn't be constantly jumping up to communicate with them. They were always popping in there and petting her - she is unbelievably adorable and friendly, which helps, but they are are really lovely people at that place. There was nothing for her to jump up onto, a tricky thing to manage at home where she had to be kept in a little pen directly after the surgery and absolutely hated it. They walked her twice a day with one person holding the lead and the other person walking in front of her to slow her down. (The image of two people walking in a slow and stately fashion around a mad little 5lb Yorkie still cracks me up.) They massaged her daily, and of course there was the swimming. Everyone loved her, she was happy as Larry, and she made substantial progress in those three weeks. They took her for regular hydrotherapy for a while after that as well, of course, but we reckon those three weeks really gave her the edge in her recovery. It's much easier when the dog is an in-patient, especially when it's an hour's drive to get to the place.

So I'd recommend finding a local place which does hydrotherapy and physio, in fact chatting to several if possible. Find out how experienced they are with her particular medical problems and also with treating dogs before and after hip replacement. My parents' dog did some swimming before the surgery too, it helped strengthen the muscles in that area (she'd been avoiding using the leg) and was probably a factor in why the surgery went so well. It's also worth checking whether there's a regulatory body for canine hydrotherapists, as there is in the UK. And shop around for prices, those vary enormously. I've found you a few local places through googling:

Waterworkz Paw Spa in Burnaby
The Spaw Canine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation in Aldergrove
K9 H20 in Abbotsford

Obviously this will cost more money, I know, but it's nowhere near as expensive as the cost of the surgery, and obviously your first priority is sparing her pain. Which is easier said than done when you're broke, I realise. I suppose that if it can improve her recovery to the point that you don't need to take as much time off work, it might end up paying for itself? Would there be a possibility of her doing the in-patient thing like my parents' dog did for some of the time? That would be much cheaper than having to take time off work, and she would be getting looked after by professionals and would probably be in a safer environment, if she too likes jumping onto the furniture.

At the very least, talking to people who are used to dog rehab for this sort of condition will help you learn more about how it all works. We found that learning about it all made us feel less helpless, it's a more positive approach, and it moves you from the emotional side of it to the practical side, which we certainly found helped us deal with it psychologically.

Incidentally, the vet who first made the diagnosis didn't know a huge amount about the condition (though she tried not to let that show), and wasn't very interested in the idea of rehab. Nor was she particularly experienced in the surgery, so my mother found a surgeon who looked about fifteen and was much better, both in terms of experience and knowledge about rehab. He was all for using physio and swimming for rehab, and was thrilled with her progress.

Best of luck with all of this, and also with managing not to commit matricide over the next few weeks.
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Old 09-25-2011, 08:22 AM   #7
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I can personally vouch for H20 in Abby ^ (despite my current location, I'm originally from Langley myself!!). Hope things get better for you soon, when it rains it pours

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Old 09-25-2011, 02:35 PM   #8
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In all honesty, do what you need to do.

One thing that people visiting seem to forget that is although they are not in their regular routine, we are, and our lives didn't stop revolving the moment they walked through our front doors.

I'm sure you love your mom dearly, and I'm just as sure that if she gets upset that you don't put her as a priority at every turn, she will get over it, and won't remember it a few days from now . Encourage her to go for dinner with all of her friends, and to have a good time, but you just can't go because you lost hours during the day. Remind her why you are working a second job, and if she says you aren't being supportive, maybe ask for the same in return. You need support, too!
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Old 09-25-2011, 04:14 PM   #9
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Esofia: Thank you SO MUCH for the information on the hydrotherapy! Nilla, being a Labrador, loves swimming so this would be something she'd more than likely be thrilled to do even after her surgery. I'm going to bookmark those pages you found, and look for other local ones, so I can look at them over the next little while. I'll look into doing the in-patient option, too, because it likely would be better for both her and myself in the long run. She'd have the benefit of professionals looking after her during the critical postsurgical period and I would have the benefit of not losing too much time off work without pay (if any), so the cost would likely pay for itself. I'm trying to gather as much information on the process of this surgery as possible and you're right: It does make you feel helpless. I know what a total hip replacement is for humans, and how they recover, but for dogs? I've never known one who had one so it's nice to hear from people who have had dogs, or knew dogs, who needed similar types of surgery.

Thanks for vouching for the H20 in Abby. I'll put them at the top of the list to check out The Aldergrove one is good too, because it's the hospital there too - so if anything does go wrong, there are staff there and likely a vet or two. The one in Burnaby might be too far out of the way (although Aldergrove and Abbotsford aren't very close to me either; I'm by the Patullo bridge), but I'll still give them a look-see. If I can maybe get her in for an hour a week there ($78), that might be helpful. I like the Aldergrove one because of the treadmill; that will definitely help with her hip after surgery so that might be the better option. When I see the orthopedic vet, I'll ask him/her and see what they think. I think it'll be too hard for her to do much normal exercise right after surgery, so the hydrotherapy that Esofia recommended is perfect; the water will take so much weight off her joints and she'll be able to just work the muscles around them, to strengthen them. Even though I wonder if I jumped too quickly to take her to the vet yesterday, I'm kind of happy because ever since our hour-long walk in the part on Friday, she's more or less just slept. Which is really unusual for her. I took her over to mom yesterday and we tied her to the truck, out of the way of everyone, and gave her her blanket. Normally she digs in it, or whines, or barks, but she just laid down and went to sleep. So, I'm kind of happy we did go to the vet and get it confirmed that she's progressing. Now to go after the breeder.

Unfortunately, it's little use with my mom. You either do what she wants to keep her happy, or you risk her having a meltdown and being upset for a long while. Even if she appears to get over it, she'll bring it up at the oddest times. She still brings up how I stole $1.25 from a kid in my class when I was 8. I'm 26 now. It's better just to go along and make her happy than resist because a happy mom = happy life lol. I do love my mom, she's really one of my best friends, but living with her during the summers is very challenging especially when she's doing this summer job (selling corn). Everything thus revolves around it (and it's not so much because they're lacking money or anything; once she gets into something, especially if it's a business, you can forget about her noticing anything else) and you had better just be happy for her. We got into a huge fight on Friday because I wasn't "excited" to sell corn for an hour while she went and spied on someone (long story, don't ask), even though I told her all this work I had to do - she doesn't care. She just brushes it off. And I've told her she brushes off and it's annoying - and she just brushes THAT off. So, best to just smile, grit my teeth, and then pull all nighters later. I'm still 40 minutes of dictation behind schedule, but I can (hopefully) make it up next weekend (cutoff) if I really put my foot down with her. I'll definitely be bringing up the fact that much of that money is going towards her "granddogger's" surgery lol that might soften her a bit.

So thankful that the end of corn season is only a few weeks away.

Thank you to everyone for your help,thoughts, and encouragement. It's definitely been a very stressful weekend for me, but I know I can get through it and not worry so much if I just try to take deep breaths.
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Old 09-25-2011, 04:53 PM   #10
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"Granddogger" is cute! A friend of mine has her parents regularly asking after the "grandbunny". I'm glad to hear my suggestion was useful, and that you even have a local recommendation. I forgot to mention that the place my parents' dog went to had a local vet on 24 hour call, or something along those lines, so I think a lot of these places have excellent connections. What is actually wrong with the dog, come to that? I don't know much about all of this, apart from associating hip replacements with being elderly, and obviously that's not the case here. What's up with needing the surgery during the next year, is it a case of her only needing it if/when she progresses to a certain point? One good thing about her being a youngster is that I'd imagine she'll bounce back from the surgery far better than an elderly dog would, so that's in her favour. The exercise improves general health, cardio-vascular and all that, which is useful when it comes to being in good condition for the surgery.

Now you won't be able to do this, but when my parents first heard about hydrotherapy and before they could get to a hydrotherapy place, we ordered the dog a tiny little lifejacket and they swam her in the bath a few times! Once the physio came to see her they found out that it's done a bit differently, but I'm sure it was still good for her, got her used to it and so forth, and she's a right little water-baby, that one, she loved it. Although I was sent a photo of her, soaking wet in her lifejacket, looking as pathetic as it is possible for a terrier to look. I must confess that when we were first researching all of this, I ended up watching rather more videos than was necessary of doggies having hydrotherapy because it is just so incredibly cute!

Last edited by Esofia : 09-25-2011 at 04:55 PM.
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Old 09-25-2011, 05:08 PM   #11
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Some general help sites for folks who need help meeting pet care. At the very least, check out Care Credit.

In Memory of Magic (IMOM) is dedicated to insuring that no companion animal has to be euthanized simply because their caretaker is financially challenged.
PO Box 282
Cheltenham, MD 20623
Phone (866)-230-2164 Fax (301)-599-1852

United Animal Nations established the LifeLine fund in 1997 to aid companion animals in times of life-threatening emergencies when their caregivers, with low or no incomes, are unable to afford the entire cost of treatment.
United Animal Nations
P.O. Box 188890
Sacramento, California 95818
Telephone: (916) 429 2457 fax: (916) 429 2456
LifeLine Fund - http://www.uan.org/index.cfm?navid=28

Help-A-Pet is a nonprofit organization, which provides financial assistance for the medical care of pets whose guardians are unable to afford the expense
P. O. Box 244
Hinsdale, Illinois 60521
Telephone: (630) 986-9504 fax: (630) 986-9141

American Animal Hospital Association
"The heartbreak happens all too often; a pet owner is unable to afford treatment and their sick or injured companion animal pays the price. If the owner is elderly, disabled or on a fixed income, the cost of care may be too much of a stretch for their pocketbook. Perhaps they have been victimized by crime, property loss or a job layoff and are experiencing a temporary financial hardship making it too difficult to afford pet care. And some animals, brought to clinics by Good Samaritans, don't have an owner to pay for treatment. Whatever the situation, the fact remains the same: When sick or injured animals are unable to receive veterinary care, they suffer. Through the AAHA Helping Pets Fund, veterinary care is possible for sick or injured pets even if they have been abandoned or if their owner is experiencing financial hardship."

Angels 4 Animals
"Angels4Animals, a non-profit organization and a program of Inner Voice Community Services, has a mission to serve as the guardian angel of animals whose caretakers find themselves in difficult financial situations. At Angels4Animals we believe that animal owners should not have to say goodbye to the animals that they love. Our work is accomplished in conjunction with veterinary clinics across the country, eager to assist as many animals, and their owners, as possible. Our services range from financial aid to complete treatment to those pets and pet owners in need."

Care Credit
A credit card company for health care, including veterinary care. "CareCredit, the leader in patient/client financing, has helped more than 3 million patients/clients get the treatment or procedures they needed and wanted. With a comprehensive range of plan options, for treatment or procedure fees from $1 to over $25,000, we offer a plan and a low monthly payment to fit comfortably into almost every budget."

The Pet Fund
"The Pet Fund is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit association that provides financial assistance to owners of domestic animals who need urgent veterinary care. Often animals are put down or suffer needlessly because their owners cannot afford expensive surgery or emergency vet visits. Companion animal owners must often make the difficult decision to put an animal down or neglect urgent medical needs because of the costs involved. The purpose of the Pet Fund is to work towards a future where decisions about companion animal medical care need never be made on the basis of cost."

"From time to time, HandicappedPets.com recognizes a caretaker of handicapped pets that need some special attention, and a little extra help. There are those who are so selflessly dedicated to their animal families that they give up a little more than they can afford."

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Old 09-27-2011, 01:22 AM   #12
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Wow- I am so sorry you have to deal with this. I was just going to complain about how many people do not take me seriously about my weight and then I ready your post. Hang in there and in a strange way, thank you for helping me see that there are a lot harder things than my little complaints. I hope everything works out.
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Old 09-27-2011, 10:57 AM   #13
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Now to go after the breeder.
My first thought when I read your post (aside from cyber hugs, of course!).

Only 1-year-old and already needing a hip replacement? Bad breeder. Bad. Bad.
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Old 09-27-2011, 05:53 PM   #14
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Hugs to you!
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Old 10-08-2011, 05:09 PM   #15
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Yesterday I spent $360 at the vet for x-rays on my girl, Nilla.

I found out during this week (while at work) that the surgery at the vet we were referred to was over $7,000. I broke down crying at work (yay).

However, it seems that the vet I saw a few weeks ago over-exaggerated Nilla's clinical exam and Nilla likely was in some discomfort that day because of the walk the day before, thus exaggerating her pain. The x-rays we had done yesterday show that while she does have arthritis and some weak ligaments in her knees, she does not - nor will she ever - require a hip replacement.

I am not ashamed to say I burst into tears in the vet's office. It was such a relief to hear that she didn't need the surgery and that I didn't have to try and figure out where I was going to come up with $7,000.

What she does need, however, is to lose 20 pounds (don't we all lol) and stay on her Metacam plus the glucosamine/condroiton medication.

The vet said that if in the distant future should she ever need surgery, she still wouldn't recommend it because by then, the stem cell research being carried out now in veterinary medicine would be so mainstream, it'd be easier on her and on my bank account to go that route. They take fat cells, isolate the stem cells, and reinject them for half the cost of the hip replacement and none of the pain. There's also laser therapy that helps ease pain and allows the joints to rebuild, too.

The best part of all this is that, since my mom has helped me this summer by paying most of my credit cards off (I paid off half), I'm confident that I can quit my second job. I've looked at my pay cheques from the hospital I work at full time for the past 6 months, figured out the average income, deducted the bills, and think that if I can stick to a defined budget, I won't need to keep working with my second job that's running me ragged.

I also added up all the pay cheques from that job and it's really only covering my splurge habits at the coffee shop at work or going out for dinner at Subway (ick) at work. Nothing significant that would make staying on with them better than quitting and having time to do house work and errands again.

I still have to save up around $800 for the tax that I'll be nailed for this side job, and I have $900 to pay for the tax from a previous side job that I haven't paid yet, which the government called me about yesterday and I've set up payment plans that will see it paid off in a year, but other than that, I think I can quit this job and hopefully not lose my full time job. My minutes have been slacking at that job mostly because of the stress with the second job and the dog.

All this has given me a headache since yesterday morning. I'm scared to quit because before I had the second job, I was barely making it - but I was also trying to put money into the credit cards. I don't know if I'll be able to make it now - but I guess I'll always be able to re-apply for the second job again in the future if I leave on good terms rather than getting fired.

Just wish I knew for sure either way! I don't like taking a gamble on stuff like this, but if it's a choice between being continually stressed and living in an absolute mess due to having no time to clean up - or not being as stressed and being able to do errands and chores but be broke: I'll take the latter, I think!
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