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Expensive Medical Treatment For Pets: Is It Worth It?

By cecilyk |

You’ve just found out your beloved pet has cancer. Your veterinarian has explained all the options to you, and now it’s time to make a decision: do you do the expensive treatment option, or not?

This is going to be an unpopular opinion, but… I say not.

Let me tell you why.

It boils down to two key points: quality of life, and consent. Our pets cannot give consent, and they deserve a really great quality of life.

When you chose to embark on an intensive – and often invasive – course of treatment for your pet, you are making choices that will very deeply impact the quality of your pet’s life. Worse, most of these treatments will only extend your pet’s life for a few years at best, and much of that will be spent receiving medical treatment they don’t want, don’t understand, causes them pain, and makes them sick.

Look, I understand. We love our furry friends. But the truth is, these invasive treatment really only benefit (I’m sorry to say this, I love vets, I do) the research annals of veterinary medicine, and the bottom line of the animal hospitals that offer them.

I’m not suggesting you do no treatment at all; simple surgeries to remove tumors or increase blood flow or slow the spread of a cancer are a good first step to take. But at some point, standard palliative care is really for the best; medications to ease pain, fluids to help flush out struggling kidneys, or other simple tools to help your beloved friend have peace are often a better choice.

In addition, you have to look at the financial angle. Even the least invasive of the newer treatments for pets have an incredibly high price tag, with some procedures and treatments costing in the tens of thousands of dollars. With these treatment often only adding a few months to a lifespan, is it really the best way to help animals? If it were my pet, I’d offer supportive care until they were no longer comfortable, and if I had it to spare, I’d donate that money to programs set up to spay and neuter stray animals (after all, some 50,000 animals a day die waiting for homes in shelters). I think that would benefit the greater good.

Obviously, your pet – your decision. But remember; sometimes what CAN be done isn’t always what SHOULD be done.

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About cecilyk

cecilyk

cecilyk

Cecily Kellogg writes all over the web, including here at Babble for Voices and Tech. She neglects her own blog, Uppercase Woman. Read bio and latest posts → Read Cecily's latest posts →

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4 thoughts on “Expensive Medical Treatment For Pets: Is It Worth It?

  1. mrs.d says:

    I completely agree! I love my dog and tear up at the thought of anything happening to him…but I wouldn’t spend thousands for surgery/ treatmentz. As much as I love him, I can’t justify it especially when, like you said, it affects their quality life…

  2. KateA says:

    When you get a puppy or kitten, start a bank account and put money in it like you would for an IRA. You can also get pet health insurance. I have been a vet for over 10 years and some of the best ways to avoid costly medical bills is to not avoid care. Take care of things promptly. And do not base whether or not your vet is good based on price. There are plenty of very nice vets that charge small amounts because they do not keep up with current medical practices, diagnostics, and treatments. Be especially worried if pain medication is “optional” or the vet thinks that pain will help the animal be quiet. This means they are practicing medicine from decades ago. The price may be “right” but your pet will suffer.
    VASG.ORG is a good site on pain medication.
    Veterinarypartner.com has some very good info as well.

  3. KateA says:

    Everyone should read this blog post…and others on the blog. It explains the losing end of the mom and pop practices. And why you need to know what you are getting for your money. Dr. Cheapo is not always the best choice.

    http://vetsbehavingbadly.blogspot.com/

  4. ashlyn says:

    i agree, and feel better knowing others do also, i had a dog that had cancer, and it hit really fast, i noticed a small lump one day and withing a short couple of weeks it was tripled in size to the point where she was just crying from the pain, she was an amazing dog, and even though it hurt her when she laid there or sat there, she played fetch with me on that last day, and had fun doing it…. putting her to sleep was the hardest thing ive EVER had to do, and always will be i think, ive had two dogs after her and i just havnt connected the same as her, she was my first dog and my best friend… i still cry over it from time to time…. RIP my Honey Baby

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