The Crazy Thing I Did to Save Thousands on Vet Bills

The Crazy Thing I Did to Save Thousands on Vet Bills

That’s my dog, looking floppy and lazy as usual, well on his way to becoming one with the couch.  He’s almost 11 years old, and having an 11 year old hound dog inevitably comes with vet bills.

He has been extremely healthy most of his life.  However, we noticed a lump growing on his leg a month or two ago.

I took him to our normal vet we use for vaccinations and routine care.  The vet took a needle sample to send off to a lab, then gave us a referral to a veterinary surgeon in the area since he was uncomfortable removing the lump himself.

I called the dog surgeon’s office.  I described the tumor, had my regular vet send over his records, and then I waited for a call back for a quote.

“He will need to come in for a diagnostic appointment for $175, then the surgery itself should be three to four thousand dollars, but that could change…”

I stopped listening when I heard “thousand.”

This vet surgeon and I weren’t on the same page at all.  This was a growth near the surface of his skin that looked fairly simple to remove.  For $3,000 to $4,000, I would expect my dog to have his organs replaced and skeletal system gold plated.

I started reading depressing articles about when surgery is worth it versus when it’s best to let dogs live out the rest of their lives.

(Not sobbing during lunch thinking about how Eddie needed to let Spot live out his golden years without vet treatment, just allergies everyone…)

Then I thought of something.

When I lived in a small town, things were generally cheaper.  Maybe it would be worthwhile to drive out of the city and find a small town vet.

So last week I left work a little early, loaded up the dog, and drove 35 miles north to a small town vet who happened to do soft tissue surgery.

I got a new quote for the tumor removal: $480.

Yes, the same tumor that was $4,000 at the fancy city vet.

Earlier this week my dog got his surgery. He’s now doing fine but is currently doing all he can to try to remove the cone of shame from his head.

While I will admit the initial drive and the follow up visits are an inconvenience, I’m glad I didn’t put a significant chunk of my annual salary towards this.

This is the first post of what I will call the “Everyday Victories” series. These will be about examples of day-to-day or smaller savings instead of lifestyle changes or larger financial decisions. Stay tuned for more posts about my everyday experiences being cheap.

Readers, have you ever had a shocking vet bill? What did you do about it? How much is too much to pay for vet care? Comment below!

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