Insanity is sometimes defined as doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. This definition popped into my head as I drove to the veterinarian’s office late last week, along with the hundreds of dollars I’d spent on my cat over the course of the last year. Here’s our first story about it. I extended the definition to my finances in that spending my money on the same thing expecting a different outcome may also be considered insane. I was determined to be smarter this time.
In the last year, we’ve taken our cat to the vet twice when it displayed symptoms of throwing up, and trying to go to the bathroom in the middle of the living room. Both times we forked over hundreds of dollars for an exam, x-rays, and blood work all to find out that the cat was backed up (ie, constipated). The theory was, the cat didn’t drink enough water causing extreme constipation and to just not feel well. It was also believed that arthritis at the base of it’s tail found on the x-rays likely makes going to the bathroom especially difficult when constipated. The cat was given a fluid sack for the dehydration and some pain medication for the arthritis to help things get moving again.
When the cat experienced these symptoms for the third time late last week, I developed a slightly different theory. This cat doesn’t particularly like it when unfamiliar people are in our home. She becomes visibly agitated. We’ve had a house guest staying with us for the last week, thus the cat has been increasingly stressed. Looking back at the dates of the two visits to the vet last year, they coincided with having house guests for an extended period of time. My new theory is that with unfamiliar people in the home for several days the stress causes the arthritis to flare up, an idea I found by searching the internet and seemingly confirmed by the very gingerly way the cat was observed going up and down the stairs. With increased pain in it’s back end, it doesn’t go to the bathroom causing the described symptoms.
When I arrived at the vet’s office, I explained all of this to the receptionist and asked one question that could save me hundreds of dollars; I asked if I could simply get the pain medication as I believed it was all I really needed. The receptionist referred me to a tech, who checked with the vet, and I was soon on my way home with the pain medication. No putting the cat in a box to bring it to the vet, no exam, no x-rays and no bill for hundreds of dollars.
Within an hour of getting the pain medication the cat’s behavior had improved markedly. It saw it go downstairs to it’s litter box, and her appetite returned shortly after that. I texted my wife the good news, and breathed a sigh of relief as I thought about the out of pocket difference between this episode and the last two. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars for exams, x-rays, fluid sacks, and medication, I paid a mere $23.50 for the pain medication.
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment when it comes to caring for your pet. They are members of your family and you want to do what’s best for them. However, you also have to be smart about not paying for unnecessary tests and procedures and do what’s best for your budget.
How about you, Clever Friends, have you ever spent a large amount of money on pet medical care? Have you ever found a way to cut the cost for a chronic condition?
Brought to you courtesy of Brock
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