Friday, January 29, 2010

Vet visit

Cooper had his yearly exam last weekend. I am happy to report that Cooper lost 4 pounds and is now a svelte 26 pound shiba. The vet said he can afford to lose another pound or two so he's still on a diet. Otherwise, that was the only good news I got from the vet. Well, besides the fact that he's still heartworm free, free of parasites, and doesn't have giardia or whatever it's called.
His blood work revealed that he has some toxins in his blood from his kidneys and livers not functioning properly. I haven't gotten him to the vet again for another test, but they're recommending I get another echocardiogram done on him to see if it's his heart murmur that's causing the changes in his kidneys and liver. They're not too worried about his kidneys at this point; they think he was just dehydrated at the time they took his blood. As of now, there's no way I can afford an echocardiogram.
So I have to take him to the vet again and get more bloodwork done to see if there are any changes; both good or bad. The animal hospital I take him to is one of the nicer ones in Denver, very expensive and in all honesty, over-priced considering I only talk to vet for 5 minutes and the vet techs for about 10. I wish there were cheaper animal hospitals by where I live but unfortunately, living in downtown, I have very few options. They just make me feel guilty when I decline certain tests done on Cooper when I know he doesn't need it or something.
Which makes me think, Cooper's been acting exactly the same, if anything he has more energy and actually wants to play more now that he's lost some weight. His quality of life doesn't seem to be any different, and he doesn't act/look like he's in any kind of pain. I really wonder how important getting another echocardiogram/additional blood tests are because I really feel like the vet hospital milks the money from their customers while giving back semi-shoddy care. I know as a pet owner you take on the responsibility of a pet regardless of how much it can cost you. You should be financially stable enough to provide the pet with basic care of food, shelter, and vet visits. It's emergency procedures or illnesses that really take a toll and unfortunately, Cooper would be denied insurance because of his pre-existing genetic defect.
I know that if Cooper has renal failure (and heaven forbid that happens) I would not get him dialysis. It wouldn't be worth the hundreds of dollars on getting that kind of treatment for him. I love him to death, but come on, there's a line to be drawn at some point. If he has cancer in the future or even now, I don't think I would treat it. I feel like that makes me a bad dog owner but really, is the quality of life for Cooper going to be worth the hundreds to thousands of dollars in treatment when he's going to be scared and miserable getting that treatment? It's really for our own selfish needs to make a pet suffer through treatment because we're the ones who are too afraid of letting go.
I want him to be happy. I want him to be pain free and since he can't talk and tell me when he hurts, I'm going to have to make that judgement in the end. I'm willing to get more bloodwork and monitor the liver situation, but if the vet recommends surgery or anything like that, I'm going to have to politely decline and and make sure Cooper is as comfortable he can be.

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