When my husband adopted our pit bull puppy Ockee seven years ago, he knew he was committing to the financial obligation of pet ownership. Less than a year after he adopted her, Ockee’s veterinarian revealed the bad news: Ockee had hip dysplasia. Though others advised him to put the dog to sleep rather than incur the associated costs, he decided to spend more than $3,000 on surgery, vet visits and aftercare to prolong the dog’s life.
About Hip Dysplasia in Dogs
Hip Dysplasia (HD) frequently affects large dogs like Ockee. It creates pain, swelling and arthritis around the hips. When Ockee was about a year of age, it caused her to limp and frequently lick her hip area. It was evident that she was in pain.
The vet said that the life expectancy for our pet was only five years without surgery. In that amount of time, she would also be in a considerable amount of pain. The pit bull required a surgery on one hip when she was about a year of age. She needed a second surgery two years later.
The vet offered two surgical options for the dog; the less expensive option was a scalpel surgery with a longer recovery. The more expensive option was a laser surgery which had less recovery time and provided the dog with less discomfort. My husband chose this option.
Cost of Surgery and Treatment
The cost of the operations and associated care were as follows:
Pre-op treatment: $100
Post-op treatment: $100
Follow-up since procedures: $1,200
As-needed doses of Baby Tylenol over 7 years: $350
Medical equipment including Elizabethan collar: $100
Total for surgery: $4,170
Additionally, Ockee has occurred additional medical costs over the years. While inside, Ockee spied an animal moving outside in her backyard. Despite her warning bark, the squirrel remained-so Ockee burst through the glass screen door to chase the animal. Not including the cost of replacing the door, this resulted in additional expenses:
Rabies shots: $95 (she didn’t just chase the squirrel-she caught it)
Cleaning and stitches: $150
Total for ‘window accident’:$245
Over the years, Ockee has also required routine veterinary care and treatment for illness. Not including her follow-up appointments and x-rays regarding her HD surgery, we estimate a cost of $1,400 for these visits. This doesn’t include the cost of routine medications and applications such as flea and tick spray.
Total Cost and Affordability
The total cost of Ockee’s medical care comes to a total of $5,815. Expenses such as veterinary appointments are stretched over time, and a few times we’ve had to pay down routine bills at the vet’s office.
Ockee’s hip surgeries occurred before I met my husband. While financially supporting his mother and grandmother, he paid the hip surgery costs out of pocket. Years later, he is now out of work and we struggle a bit financially in this economy. When you commit to caring for an animal, that commitment includes a financial obligation. Neither of us regrets the money spent on our pet.