In case anybody still thinks these are easy and cheap pets!

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Post   » Mon May 09, 2011 9:54 pm

Wow-we-wow!! I guess I am truly lucky with the amount of money I've spent!! I've only had my two for a year and they've been very healthy so far. I spend most of my money on toys, ect. for them! VERY spoiled to say the least!! I had to take Phineas to the vet this past Friday for what I thought was a URI--thank goodness it wasn't! I tend to be a bit over-protective and worry about everything. Anyway, my vet was teasing me about how pampered Phineas and Wheeky are. I love doing it though, no matter how much it costs. I spent birthday money on them instead of myself!

And YES. It infuriates me to hear people call GP's "disposable pets". No pet is "disposable". They're not a tissue for cryin' out loud. They are a living creature that deserve love and care and depend on us to provide it.

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Post   » Mon May 09, 2011 10:29 pm

Our Princess has also been a very expensive pig - at least $3000-$4000 on three major surgeries (including tests and follow-up meds) in the last 2 1/2 years.
That doesn't include the costs of the intensive mite treatment we had to do on both Rosie & Princess when we first got them, or the xrays and follow up we had to do for Rosie's bladder sludge issue.
Oy vey. I'm never looking at all these receipts in detail. Alden, you are brave!

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Post   » Mon May 09, 2011 10:33 pm

I recently had someone say to me, "They're critters! They'll be fine!" when I was mentioning how difficult it is to get our stupid A/C to keep the piggy room/office at a good temperature. (One reason I'm glad we're moving soon!) She also once said that she couldn't imagine paying for surgery for an animal. :(

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Post   » Mon May 09, 2011 11:09 pm

Well I'm pretty sure that dollar-per-ounce the hamster came out the most expensive last year, but the pigs gave her a run for it.

And I don't get the not-treating either, especially if you can see the pet's in pain. What was I going to do, ignore the hay sticking out of Snickers's eyeball? Who does that???


Post   » Mon May 09, 2011 11:48 pm

Why not? They seem to (a joke--I just can't get over sometimes when I see a piece of hay sticking precariously close to getting fully stuck)

Yes, all of my girls are at least $300 each--only Sadie is about $50 because I learned how to treat illnesses myself/had medicine on hand. But if it's beyond the sniffles, mites/fungus, and now minor bloat, I'm running to the vet and staying up all night to listen to them/check each hour.

Our emergency vet is only $75! My exotics vet is the same price per regular doctor visit, which is $45. We must be cheap here in the valley!

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Post   » Mon May 09, 2011 11:56 pm

Caramel (rip) was my most expensive pig....$400 each time she had a Bladder Stone (5 in total), with the 6th (and last) costing $800...then cremation.

Thing is...I wouldn't have it any other way. These are my babies. People have no qualms about spending $200 on a pair of shoes for a year old kid that they'll grow out of in 4 weeks but seem to get upset when I say I spent $400 on making sure my guinea pig wasn't peeing blood and screaming in pain :/


Post   » Tue May 10, 2011 8:23 am

I think Storm is my most expensive pig. His neutering was about $250, and then his eye infection another $100 or so. Oh, and his initial checkup and lice treatment $115.

But the funiest thing is that since cleaning the cage and washing the fleece and dishes and whatnot, plus taking care of the piggies takes up a lot of my time, I've had to hire a cleaning lady to help me keep up with my regular cleaning chores!

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Post   » Tue May 10, 2011 9:32 am

Bolt's abscess removal last night was $156. Better than I thought it would be!

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Post   » Tue May 10, 2011 10:53 am

I seem to have the luck of adopting the pigs whose vet bills end up totaling in the thousands. When the rescue called my vet as part of a background check on me, she was surprised that she remembered me/my piggy without even having to pull his file. Well, yeah...when you're there every other week! Towards the end of his life, he was having an x-ray taken each visit. There were also his $50 per visit chiropractic adjustments (not to mention I had been bringing in another pig at the same time for a while until he passed).

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Post   » Tue May 10, 2011 11:12 am

I can't believe there are people brave enough to add it up. The thought of what I've spent on vet bills between Lilly and Eddie gives me heart palpitations. Getting Eddie's initial asthma diagnosis involved dragging him to four different vets and somewhere between $1000-$2000, and then there was four years of at least 3 URIs a year after that. Lilly was pretty cheap until she had to have a tumor removed in 2008 ($500+ with follow-up treatment). After that, it was one health issue after another. I know I spent at least $2000+ (probably close to or even over $3000) during her last year because of all of the tooth trims and UTIs/Kidney failure.

At least Neo hasn't needed anything other than a check-up so far. Although now that I look at my recent guinea pig medical history, I expect him to start falling apart any day now.

Edited to add: Elvis, I spent so much time there that the entire staff at my first vet in ABQ knew the sound of my voice on the phone. I wouldn't even have to say my name before the person who answered would ask whether it was Lilly or Eddie coming in.

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Post   » Tue May 10, 2011 11:23 am

Violagirl, the receptionist at my vet calls one of the exam rooms there "my room". And I feel your pain/UGH with recurring UTI's! That's what I'm currently battling with my Kona, who's been in & out of the vet for over a year & a half now.

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Post   » Tue May 10, 2011 11:36 am

The basic vet visits aren't what gets you - those are only around $100 since I "cook the poop" each time. Mocha had a ~350 spay, which was the extent of my bills until Snickers got cancer. After two surgeries, the ER visit (which I will never do again unless we get a decent ER service), and his last visit when he died, we spent - gulp - over $1200.
Truthfully, if I had to do it again I wouldn't have treated him for the cancer. He only lived a couple of months after it. Aside from the money, I think it veered into the realm of "torture." It is so hard to know when you are helping the animal versus when you are clinging to false hope that the illness can made better. With the benefit of hindsight, I treated him more because I didn't want to lose him rather than evaluating how his life was going to be impacted by the disease.
I had one of my resuced rats die last week (she was over 2yrs 8 months old). It floored me how quickly she went from being healthy to dead. This happened over the weekend, and she died before we made it to the vet. My husband and I were debating over what we were willing to do: do you treat, or do you ask for them to be PTS? Is it an infection (treatable) or a stroke (prolonged care)? Is she going to have "life" or just be alive?
It's easy to jump on people who would never treat an animal. I think sometimes we jump too hard and quickly without considering that some people may have a level of emotional detachment that allows them to put a legitimate stopping point on how much treatment and how much money should be spent on vet bills.
OK, sorry that got long.

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Post   » Tue May 10, 2011 11:44 am

Well put rkog

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Post   » Tue May 10, 2011 12:02 pm

rkog: You said that really well. It is hard to know when to stop treatment. I admire those who can divorce themselves enough to realize the quality of life is gone and make that decision. It is something that is really hard for both my bf (he spent thousands when his last cat passed away) and myself.

After all of his respitory problems over the years, Eddie actually went from fine to dead in a span of less than 12 hours (necropsy showed he had a coouple of heart attacks back-to-back). In many ways, I was glad I didn't have to make the decision to have him pts because he was my baby and I don't know if I could have done it.

Lilly slowly fell apart over the course of a year to 18 mos. The bills built up slowly, and it was always a series of treatable stuff, such as she managed to break a tooth and it never grew back so she needed them trimmed every 4-6 weeks or she had a UTI. She was still pretty cheerful and puttering around little-old-lady-style until the last week or two. It became very apparent that she had quit and we decided to have her pts.

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Post   » Tue May 10, 2011 12:21 pm

I have been guilty of prolonging treatment when the compassionate thing would've been to let my piggy go. I was blinded by hope/faith that after all he had been through, there had to be a brighter future for him. Unfortunately, it was not here on earth. Looking back at pictures of him now (which is still too painful, even though it's been years), it's startling how tiny/frail he had become.

Since then, I think I have learned to better recognize when it's time to let them go (although still am unsure I can be counted on to be strong enough to make that decision). While my last piggy that passed had a lot on his plate, he was still nibbling on hay up until right before his heart gave out.

I admire those that are able to make the unselfish decision, but still hold a great deal of disdain for those that put a price tag on treatable conditions. I couldn't sleep at night if I lost a piggy due to money.

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Post   » Tue May 10, 2011 12:30 pm

It's a terrible decision. My second-to-last hamster, we waited too long, and the end was very, very bad for all of us as a result. With my last hamster (the expensive one!), the vet wanted to PTS, because they couldn't figure out what was wrong, but as we were having the conversation the hamster was happily running in her wheel. So I said no, and I took her home and felt terrible, like I was prolonging her life for myself rather than for her. But she kept on living an apparently happy hamster life for THREE MONTHS after the vet wanted to end it. And when she was ready to go she very definitely told us. But it's a gambling game every single time.

If only the little buggers could speak English!!

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Post   » Tue May 10, 2011 12:36 pm

The sad reality though, I suspect, is that the average person does not choose to spend that much money on a guinea pig. People who get a pig with the mindset that they are cheap disposable pets probably have them put down rather than treat them. The (incredibly kind) staff at the animal hospital in the not-so-super-nice area of my town were surprised that I opted for extensive testing and a barium swallow for my sweet Cocoa, and when in the end, after everything, the sad decision had to be made, they were so touched that they didn't charge me for the euthanasia so I could afford individual cremation. They said they never saw anyone care so much for a guinea pig, which I thought was terribly depressing.

It's "wonderful" to see you guys listing your vet expenses because it gives me hope to see that others value their little lives just as much, but on the other hand I can't help to wonder how many people just don't bother. (Sorry... depressing thought of the day.)


Post   » Tue May 10, 2011 12:42 pm

Mr Demus - that makes me feel marginally better! I've dropped a lot of money on emergency vet fees. The problem is with our vet, they don't have enough exotic staff, so you have to book appointments two or three weeks out. Well, obviously guinea pigs don't give you two weeks notice before they get sick, so we always have to pay the $150 or whatever for the emergency vet (who is usually a non-exotics intern). The intern then usually admits the guinea pig so she can be seen by the exotics vet for another $65.

One thing that I notice on this thread, is that people are paying wildly different costs for the same treatment. While I obviously agree that we should be prepared to pay for whatever is needed, some vets are clearly overcharging. I feel like my vet costs are so high, that I would not want to have more than two guinea pigs at once.

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Post   » Tue May 10, 2011 1:27 pm

I agree with you Lou. Some of the vets out there are way overpriced! I feel so lucky to live where I do. My vet only changes $30 for a check up, I think a spay/neuter is only $75 and my emergency visits are usually under $200. (quick everyone pack your bags and move to Jersey!! lol)

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Post   » Tue May 10, 2011 2:58 pm

lou what is worse is they don't always have an exotics vet on call. When we lost Simon last January we almost switched vets. We called the ER number and were told we were pretty much SOL because an exotics vet wasn't available. He was siexing like crazy and IMO the humane thing would have been to have us come in so they could PTS. They didn't and he suffered for a few more hours. I was livid! In the end though there isn't another extocis vet in town.

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