When I first joined GL, I emailed some members who live in the same town and did some price comparisons, and they were in line with other local exotics vets.
Regular check-ups are $50 and emergency visits are $80 at our vet. Princess is just a special pig who never has a normal problem.
Out here just a hay poke runs about $100 to treat. A major surgery is about $500.
We have a question on our adoption application that lets people check how much they are willing to spend. The question gives examples next to each amount. A surprising number of people check "$100-200 for minor illness only, no tests or surgery." And they still expect us to adopt to them. Really?
The big problem with ER here is that none of them are equipped for exotics. We had a new one recently open with 10 minutes of my house, but I haven't heard much about them. The ER bill for Snickers was over $400 of the $1200. That included an x-ray, oxygen, a shot, and a misdiagnosis - nothing else. I even had to go home and get food & a water bottle. I believe the oxygen may have kept him going through the night, but I don't believe there was any value to the treatment. In fairness to the ER, they did say they would only stabilize until I could get him to my exotic vet.
I think that is interesting that the adoption contract spells out different procedures and costs. I doubt many people owning their first pig have ever really considered just how expensive it can get. Have you ever had anyone read the contract and say, "Nevermind?"
Mainly because they tend to be more fragile and, I've found, that they require more medical intervention than our dog did. Every one of our pigs have had to have at least one major operation in the past four years, while our sweet Midnight lived to be 14 years old (not bad for a big dog) and only had major medical expenses toward the end of his life.
But medical expenses aren't the only thing. We buy the pigs organic veggies, and while we try to buy in season, that's not always possible. We do at least three loads of laundry to clean their fleece every week. And they love their hay, which can also be a major expense.
I love my girls, but they are anything but "cheap" pets.
- Supporter in '11
I had a cockatiel with no medical issues for 24 years. We spent $1,000 in the last year of his life for vet and emergency issues due to heart conditions.
We had scent gland removal surgery on our gerbil and I had to hand feed him for two weeks while he had a cone on his head to keep him from picking off the stitches. I thought it was well worth the cost since he lived for a year (to the day) from the date of the surgery. (The vet gave me critical care to feed him with after the surgery which the gerbil hated since it is mostly hay and gerbils don't like hay. I recommend peanut butter, yogurt and soft bread for gerbils.)
When our gp Ginger stopped eating, we ordered every possible test for a cost of $800. The vet could make no firm diagnosis but thought it was cancer. The vet didn't give chemo much hope and I had two friends each of whom had done chemo on their cats. Despite the fact that cat chemo is much better developed than gp chemo, both cats died. We didn't do the chemo. I was interested to read rkog's post - you feel guilty for doing the chemo and I feel guilty sometimes for not doing it. The truth is, we don't really know what is best for them. Anyway, thanks for posting rkog. It helped me feel better about my decision.
I didn't want to give up on Ginger, so I hand fed her around the clock for three months. As she lost weight, we considered having her PTS but I just couldn't give up on her. She died the night before we were finally going to have it done. For most of the three months, she seemed pretty happy and normal as long as she had pain killers and Critical Care, but I should have had her PTS a few days sooner. Her last days were rough. I just couldn't quite give up on my wild hope that her problem would somehow turn out to be something minor.
I agree with Elvis' post.
Ginger's cagemate, Skittle was treated for bloat for $200ish dollars but thankfully has otherwise been fine.
I think people underestimate the food costs too. I spend $10 on Oxbow pellets and $10 on hay. I think lasts me about 3 months with two pigs. (I haven't kept very close watch on it.) I supplement the hay with bales from a local farmer, so that keeps the expense down a little. I also go through about $5.00 of lettuce a week, along with other veggies.
- Supporting my GL Habit
Teddi - $479.27
Eclair - $1516.96
Athena - $473.68
Victoria - $1669.22
Pippin - $1001.01
Willow - $1288.66
Total for six pigs: $6428.30
Average per pig: $1071.38
Most of these expenses came later in their lives. Teddi was probably 3 years old before her first visit. I adopted Athena and Victoria as 2.5 and 3.5 year olds. Eclair went through two surgeries. Surprisingly, Victoria didn't go through a single one -- her expenses were from multiple laboratory tests trying to determine what was wrong with her bladder and how best to treat it.
Willow is still around - so her expenses could rise. And so far Bertie and Pinniped have not had to see the vet. Knock on wood.
Buffy and Ginger have had one well-pig visit and so far they are doing well.
I feed my girls lots of KM's hay, KM's and Oxbow pellets, and fresh veggies (mostly green and red leaf lettuce). Tulip likes endive so I get that when it looks good in the store. Buffy and Ginger enjoy green bell peppers so I try to get them at least one every other week.
My girls are on fleece but have Sunseed Sunthing Special Clean World bedding in their kitchen/hay/litter area. They go through approximately 2 1/2 large bags a month at $20.00 a bag.
This doesn't include the 'extras' - cuddle cups, huts, cage liners, fleece, towels, etc.
They do run into some money, but I love them!
This was for all of them though. Neuters, and everything else. Thank god it is not like that now.
But they are all worth it. They give me more then what I give them.
I think the most on any one kid was around $5000.00. But this made her live for over 2 years longer.
So on the pigs just $29 this year so far.
But their food is about $100 a week between the pigs and buns. That's not the pellets. Just veggies.
- Cavies 'n Cobwebs
I also think some pet owners assume only one pet will get seriously ill at a time. Even with only two and they both are down with something serious or long term, it's not only financially draining it can be emotionally and physically draining if you're up during the night for either or wake to the slightest noise in case one has decided it's 'time to check out'.
Also if you have one who's had serious surgery and the aftercare takes longer than you expect, you end up questioning your decisions so often.
People assume that small animals are cheap and easy to care for but my piggies have cost me A LOT more than my cat ever has.
Guinea pigs are a lot of things - cute, affectionate and wonderful (just to name a few) but they are NOT inexpensive pets.
Most of my coworkers thought I was nuts spending this kind of money on a "stupid rat".
Oliver so far hasn't been that bad, about $320 for him with vet checks and a couple UTIs.
Percy is the next one at a mere $174, vet check and pain meds only to be diagnosed with "bad 'tude", which it actually says on his chart. =)
Bubba has been the "cheapest" as his first vet check was free via the Humane Society and the latest was a "well pet" check at my new vet.
I don't even want to think about how much it's cost me in terms of essential supplies (food and bedding), toys, beds and cage materials. Yet, I wouldn't trade them for the world!