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Pets - Cancer, Surgery, Euthanasia and Second Opinions

Updated on November 23, 2011

Bad News - What Now?

I'll never forget when I found out my strangely lethargic dog, little Buddy, had a large tumor at the emergency vet. It was late one evening and his regular vet was closed. The bill was $350 to tell me that he needed emergency surgery or he should be put to sleep. Emergency vet surgery cost? $3000.00.

Luckily, I knew a very good rule of thumb: try to wait until the regular vet opens in the morning to get a second opinion.

* Emergency vets are always much more expensive and ALWAYS try to get a second opinion if your vet recommends euthanasia or surgery.

My vet quoted me $1100 for the surgery, but was forthcoming with the tremendous risk involved. I decided to take the risk and get the surgery, which was successful, however, a trip to the doggie oncologist proved that the cancer had spread and was terminal.

Again, I could have put little Buddy to sleep. They always offer that option. My other option was to enjoy what became 4 more weeks with my companion. I enjoyed every minute of that time, although it was heartbreaking to know that our time together was going to be cut short.

Not bad for $1100.00 plus a few hundred more at the oncologist.

When Buddy stopped eating the chicken I was hand feeding and didn't want to walk anymore, I knew it was his time to go peacefully at the vet that we liked most.

I highly recommend staying with your pet in that final moment. It is VERY soothing for your best friend to have you there, and it is much more peaceful than you could every imagine.

Pet Needs Surgery? You Need a Second Opinion

Once again, with my other dog, I found myself at the vet, being told my beloved girl needed surgery for her bladder stones. The cost wasn't outlandish, but I was living in another city and was not that familiar with the vet.

I spoke to friends and was referred to a local favorite vet for, once again, you guessed it, a SECOND OPINION .

Thank goodness for the second opinion, because the bladder stones were dissolved with food. Yes, food.

Now it almost cost me as much as the surgery for the additional vet visits and x-rays as we watched the bladder stones disappear week after week. Still, the risk of surgery way out-weighs any risk from a few x-rays.

Final Thoughts

Don't jump to conclusions. Don't whip out that credit card. Don't just let them go under the knife without being 100% sure there aren't any holistic or surgery free options and don't let your pet go without a fight.

Vets are businesses that need to make money, just like any other business. Sometimes, your pets best interests are not the first thing on their minds.

If your pet is terminally ill, what do you think is on their bucket list? A trip to the beach? Table scraps. Pizza? Figure it out and DO IT!

Finally, make sure you never let them suffer, and hold him or her while they go to sleep.


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    • kkflowers profile image

      kkflowers 6 years ago

      I'm sorry for your loss, too, Riviera Rose. I hope you have even longer with your girl. 9 months is amazing!

      It is frightening that some people would euthanize a cat with that diagnosis without knowing that you could have such a good long time left with him!

    • Riviera Rose profile image

      Riviera Rose 6 years ago from South of France

      This was a lovely hub and I'm very sorry for your loss. My cat had a tumour and the (French) vet gave me the option of surgery, but I got on the phone to a vet friend in England who said cats rarely recover from such major surgery. In the end I had nine months with my lovely big boy, tumour and all. Sadly as I write this I have my sweet last remaining cat on my lap and a few days ago I realised she's got pretty much the same thing. While she's happy and eating (both of which she is) we'll just enjoy what time we have together.

      Sorry, I don't mean to depress everyone, but you're absolutely right, get a second opinion and let your pets enjoy their last weeks or months!

    • kkflowers profile image

      kkflowers 6 years ago

      Thank you. It has been over a year since I lost Buddy, but a friend of mine's dog was just diagnosed with the big C and the vet had her put the dog right to sleep.

      I thought, what about the dogs bucket list? Some pets have a few more good weeks in them, even with a terminal diagnosis! More people need to know this. I think it makes it so much easier to deal with your loss, too.

    • weezyschannel profile image

      Lisa 6 years ago from Central USA

      Oh my Lord. I am sitting here looking at my 2 babies dreading the day that they end up passing. I'm sorry for your loss, as some people don't understand how much we love our pets. I wish you the best, I really do.