One Expensive Day

August 28, 2009 by admncc

If you’ve ever wondered what the foolproof business is in this economy, I have the answer for you.  Become a veterinarian.

Seriously, how many people do you know who treat their pets like their own children?  And even if they don’t take it to that extent, of course they love and are still going to care for their pets.

We have two cats.  Both are Calicos.  One is eight years old and the other is two years old.  The two-year-old was due for several vaccinations on Wednesday.  I took her and the final bill was $87.  Office call $42, cat distemper $25, rabies $16 and the hazardous material fee was $4.

After we got home, over the next three hours, the cat vomited almost 20 times.  It was one of those situations where she would start vomiting, it would calm down and we’d think it was over (like the time she ate a spider), and then it would start up again.  She started to vomit blood so we called the emergency pet clinic.

At 10 p.m. I drove the cat to the 24-hour veterinarian.  Diagnosis – an allergic reaction to the vaccinations, dehydration and a temporary heart murmur due to the excessive vomiting.  That bill was $238.76.  Emergency visit $115, hospital admitting $27.50, overnight monitoring $46.13, intravenous fluids $30 and the medicine was $21.13.

In the span of five hours, we spent $325.76, not to mention the fact that the cat had to spend the night in the hospital.  Now here’s the kicker – they don’t accept personal checks.  Neither of the two vets I visited that day did.  You have to pay with cash or use a credit card.  I had barely walked in the door to the 24-hour clinic and they were shoving a credit card authorization form in my face as well as a “payment is due at the time of service” reminder.  What do you do in that situation?  I guess you pay the bill and like it…  But I’m happy to report that the cat is fine…

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  1. C. Princess says:

    Having a pet can be quite costly. But I`m glad your cat is fine and I guess that`s all that really matters in the end.

  2. NeoConDon says:

    My cat would die before I dropped that much money on it….and I’m a cat owner. What I can’t figure out is why people will happily pay cash for pet care, but they won’t pay $100 out of pocket for a physical from their family doctor. This is how the human healthcare industry should be run….you actually have to pay for it.

  3. Ken says:

    First time commenter. I think there should be health insurance for pets. I mean, I’m sure there is some version of it out there somewhere. But I meant something more publicized and available. What you paid is ridiculous. I couldn’t cough up that much on the fly if I needed to for my dog.

  4. Leo Nevoli says:

    The DJs of a local radio station does the voice of the one’s cat. The cat has called in to ask the other DJ to help him out because he has been sick, and when they go to the vet, the cat is afraid that if the docotr says to care for th esick cat is $300, but you can put it down for $85, the Owner will have the cat put down.
    For some people, pets are their family, so they will want to keep them around. I know people who had a pet replace a child after they got married. People just want that comfort.

  5. It is sad but I’m glad Kitty is ok now.

    BTW, I think there is pet insurance that can be purchased.

  6. Sugar says:

    My great aunt was telling me the other day that when she was a child in 1939, they didn’t take their animals to the vet. Their cat was having too many kittens, so Uncle Bob took it out in the woods and shot it. I think this is quite humerous; maybe because I’m not used to hearing that there was only one option.

    Anyway, at my old place of employment, they offered ‘pet’ insurance. Many of the employees partook in this. I think it’s a little odd. To me, it’s a pet. If my cat was diagnosed with a disease, I don’t intend to break the bank in order for her to live. I would make her extremely comfortable until the time of her passing, but that’s about the extent that I would go for a cat.

  7. Fabulous says:

    Reforming Geek

    You can purchase insurance for your pet but it certainly isn’t cheap. I have a pure breed dog and I called to find out how much insurance would cost for him. $102 a month for the most extensive coverage (ANY type of injury) and around $75 a month for more basic coverage. I thought it was insane, especially if you don’t really know how often your dog is going to get sick. If my dog was prone to illness I would pay the $102 a month but since he’s a very healthy dog I just pay the vet bill out of pocket everytime I go to the vet with him.


    Glad to hear that the cat is okay. That had to be scary just to see the cat vomitting every few minutes.

  8. MajorLeague09 says:

    I’m glad to see the kitty is ok. I’m one of those people that would do anything I could to save my pet. My dog is a part of my family. I have been lucky that he hasn’t had any major problems, but if something would come up, I wouldn’t hesitate to do whatever it took to make sure he was treated.

  9. TallElf says:

    I grew up on a farm, and although pets are part of the family, the farm life taught us that there is a circle of life, and sometimes it may not go on forever. It is not so much the “$” associated with the medical bill as much as would it be an effective treatment or is it just prolonging the inevitable. CC in your case, I am glad that Kitty is ok, however I also find it odd that they will accept Cash or credit, but not check. Does that mean that they will not accept a debit card?

    I am not approving or authorizing the “garfield” method of dragging into the street, but sometimes nature needs to take it’s course.

  10. Extreme John says:

    I have two English Bulldogs and feel your pain, my male bulldog recently had an allergic reaction to something (no one knows what) and the one thing I can remember more than anything is the “Payment is DUE NOW OR YOUR DEAD!” forms.

    Now I will say I recently found a mobile vet and the prices for shots and stuff like that is less than half of what it would be at the actual vet itself.

    UFC 102 tonight!!

  11. Jane says:

    Glad the cat is ok. Vets are not cheap. That’s why I made friends with a vet pharmaceutical rep. Ha!

  12. otin says:

    That is a lot of money! I heard from Marissa, she is fine!

  13. Tristan says:

    Pet insurance is bad for the same reason that most insurance is bad: The vast majority of people are going to lose money on it. That’s how it works. If you aren’t going to lose your home in the event that something terrible happens, you probably don’t need insurance to cover it. $300 for a vet, for example, won’t do that unless you live in Flint, MI and you bought your house for $250. Credit insurance? TV insurance?? I can’t believe people buy that stuff.

    No business is safe, though. The vice is getting tighter every day and the “dogs are people, too” crowd is thinning. People are slowly awakening to the fact that treating animals better than we treat each other is self destructive. The stock market (among other things) will be making its descent back to Earth very shortly, and once our retirement evaporates (again), we’re going to think twice before putting ol’ Sparky on dialysis. “He had a good run…”

    Speaking of which, no need to spend $85, I’ll do it for $0.50 (have to cover costs, .45 is not cheap!).

  14. NeoConDon says:

    my .38 special ammo costs about $.50 per round, so I feel your pain. It’s still a lot less than the $85.

  15. My neighbor’s dog just had surgery to repair a ligament in her leg – surgery preformed by a vet “specialist” + an over night stay = $2,000+ vet bill.

    We’re on our first pet and I never remember things like this when we were kids. Sugar is right, they just shot them out back.

    Come on over to see your Pirates 🙂

  16. Marissa says:

    Hi Constant Complainer (and Otin)! I told my son he can’t get a dog right now because we’d have to be able to afford any vet bills that might come up. We just paid $600 for my cat Trixie, who got bitten/eaten by a spider. Back in the day, as long as you can afford the dog food, license, and flea powder, you were good to go. So sad.

  17. You have no understanding of vet bills until you own horses and performance ones at that. It is insanity and I am certifiable. Our cat is the cheapest pet in the household. Luckily, he never gets sick.

  18. NeoConDon says:

    I would think that owning a horse is something you do if you are wealthy and can afford it, or if it is a business and it yields a profit. Dropping all this money for a cat is flat out absurd…unless it’s a cat that can be bred and used as a profit. Let’s not forget, we are talking about animals and pets, not human beings…you can always just go buy another pet.

  19. The Constant Complainer says:

    I’d like to thank Bill for bringing some very interesting information to my attention. He is a veterinary pharmaceutical rep for a drug company.

    He told me that if your pet receives a vaccine and has an adverse reaction to it, there is a way to be reimbursed for the additional medical bills you might incur. You simply need to contact your vet and let him/her know what happened – and they can file a claim directly with the drug company on your behalf.

    Here’s how obscure this policy is. The office manager at my veterinarian told me she had been working there for 17 years and had never heard of this policy. But when she called the drug company to confirm what I had told her, she realized Bill was correct.

    I had all of the emergency clinic records faxed over yesterday, as well as my paid receipt. A claim has been filed and apparently I’ll hear a result in five day. Nice!

  20. Tristan says:

    Thousands of dollars being spent to fix dogs and cats…that is the American Unraveling at its finest.

  21. mark smith says:

    I had a dog growing up, and the only vet bill we had was when the neighbor’s dog attacked mine and the puncture wounds had to be attended to. When the dog lived to be 14 and got sick, they just said she lived a full life and put her down. Now fast forward to 2007, and you find me married and living with 2 cats (my wife’s pets prior to marriage.) The oldest is 23 years old, and by all rights is my first son (although very furry). When he needed an eye specialist, and that bill was $1,000 could I say just put him down and we can get another one with two good eyes for free at the local shelter? My marriage was worth more than that.

    Not everyone gets the commitment that comes with being a good pet owner, or for that matter being a good parent. You make sacrifices to protect those you love, whether two legged or four legged. Do I think it is right for vets to charge the crazy fees they do? Absolutely not. Will I be paying crazy vet bills in the future? I would expect that will be the case, and that’s just the cost of having a family that includes a wife, son, and cats.

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