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How a Dog Can Lose 10 Pounds in One Day

Have you ever heard of a dog losing 10 pounds in one day? I saw it happen the other day. Let me tell you about Buddy.

Buddy is a wonderful, loving 12-year-old black lab that has had a long onset of growing tumors. The tumors are very soft and feel "fatty". They were "lipomas".

A lipoma is a benign fatty tumor usually composed of mature fat cells. They are usually soft, well defined, and just under the skin. Lipomas are variable in size and shape and may occur just about anywhere, although they are commonly found on the ventral (under) surfaces of the chest and abdomen.

Lipomas are very common in dogs, and less common in cats. All breeds may be affected, but they are most common in older animals, especially older female dogs.

Because Buddy was older, his owners thought they would just see how it went – hoping they grew slowly so they didn’t have to do anything with them. 

Buddy continued to thrive and unfortunately so did the tumors (they continued to grow).  The tumors became so BIG that they were making Buddy uncomfortable.

Here is a photo of Buddy before the surgery:

Buddy before

Excision (removal) of a lipoma should be considered if it is growing rapidly, causing discomfort, or if it is interfering with the mobility or lifestyle of the animal.

So… Buddy’s owners went in search of a vet to remove the tumors safely.

If surgery is required to remove a lipoma, preoperative blood work (complete blood count and profile) are generally recommended. Blood work was done and Buddy was examined and it was determined that it was safe for him to have the surgery to remove the tumors.  They were big and hurting him when he tried to lie down.

Here is a photo of Buddy after the surgery:

Buddy after
This is where the good part comes in. Within an hour, Buddy lost 9 lbs. 10 ounces!

Wow! So it isn’t the easy way – but that is how a dog loses 10 pounds in one day.

The final bill was over $1,000. Thank goodness for pet insurance. You never know when something is going to come up – either an emergency or a long-standing problem like Buddy had. When you have pet insurance, cost won’t be an obstacle to providing the medical care your pet needs.

After a lipoma has been removed, watch the incision for any swelling, redness or discharge. Make sure your pet is not licking or chewing at the incision line. Sutures are generally removed in 7 to 10 days.

There is no way to prevent the occurrence of lipomas. Once they are noted, they should be closely monitored. Lipomas should not be allowed to become so large that they are difficult to remove, and they should not interfere with function.

Until next time,

Dr. Jon

P.S. If your dog needed expensive medical care, would you be able to provide it? If not, pet insurance is a great solution. For about a dollar a day, a pet insurance policy can provide quality medical care – and a lot of peace of mind. To find out more, go to petinsurance.com. Nine of ten veterinarians recommend VPI pet insurance.

h/t to Pet Care’s Dog Crazy Newsletter and Kim Peters

August 9, 2011 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top 10 Ways to Save Money on Vet Bills

Everyone’s keeping an eye on the budget these days, and one of the most expensive pet expenditures is veterinary care. With just a little preparation and research, however, you can reduce your veterinary costs, from office visits to prescription medications.

1. Schedule an annual exam
Maintaining an annual exam schedule for your dog or cat is important, and this definitely not the place to trim costs. Spending money on an annual exam — and on spay and neuter — may seem like an expenditure but it’s an investment that will save you money down the road.

2. Maintain good dental health
Good dental care can save you hundreds of dollars in cleaning fees. Try to brush your dog’s or cat’s teeth several times per week using a special toothpaste and toothbrush designed for pets.

3. Ask about 3-year immunization schedules
The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), the only organization that accredits animal hospitals throughout the U.S. and Canada, issued guidelines in 2006 about the frequency of immunizations. Whereas your pet once automatically received vaccinations annually, today the veterinary world is looking at longer periods between vaccinations, depending on your pet’s lifestyle. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations for your pet’s “core vaccines” and see if you can extend the time between immunizations. (The frequency of your pet’s rabies vaccines will be mandated by local law, however.)  But make sure you are not over-vaccinating.  Many vets recommend shots that really aren’t needed or required.  Like with children, we are finding out that we are over-vaccinating.

4. Avoid emergency vet visits with preemptive care
Does something just seem “not right” with your dog or cat? Is it a Friday afternoon? Don’t wait until the vet’s office closes for the weekend; run him by for a quick office visit if possible. The price of a routine office visit is far lower than the cost of an emergency vet visit. If you do wind up needing emergency veterinary care, check and see if follow up visits can be made at your regular veterinarian’s office to save money.

5. Feed your pet high quality food or better yet feed them real food  – raw or cook for them
Maintaining a healthy diet is key to good health. Premium dog and cat food containing quality ingredients is an investment in your pet’s health that saves you money down the line. Additionally, your dog does not need to be fed as much high-quality food as he would low-quality food packed with fillers. Less food means savings. Eventually, that premium food can result in lower veterinary bills, too, by keeping your pet closer to his ideal weight and by supplying him with beneficial nutrients.

6. Ask about special discounts
Check and see if your vet offers any special discounts. Whether you’re a senior, a firefighter, a military member, or a full-time student, your vet might have a discount plan for you. Also, if you have multiple dogs and cats, ask if there’s a multiple pet discount.

7. Watch for event-related discounts
Like with human health, there are special months that recognize and draw attention to particular aspects of pet health. Pet Dental Month (February) and Pet Wellness Month (October) are just two times when you might find related specials from your veterinarian.  Some have spay and neuter clinics.

8. Investigate pet insurance early
Pet insurance can be a great way to save on unexpected vet costs but, to lower your monthly premiums, insure your pet as young as possible. Most companies won’t insure a pet with a pre-existing condition and, at most companies, premiums are lower the younger your dog or cat is. At some companies, premium will even lock in at that lower rate. 

9. Ask about matching drug prices
Before your next trip to the veterinarian, spend a few minutes doing online research on reputable online pet pharmacy sites checking the price of heartworm preventative or other medications you know you’ll need. Remember to take into account shipping costs, too. Print the product page and take it to your vet’s office and ask if they can match the online price. 

**Also, there are many natural remedies that can be used in place of meds and chemical treatments which will be cheaper as well as healthier for your pet!**

10. Fill your dog’s prescription at your drugstore
Many pet prescriptions can be filled at your drugstore, saving you money and possibly giving you the option of generic, low-cost equivalents for some drugs. Ask your vet to see if it’s a possibility! 

Items like anti-flea treatments and regular meds can often be purchased online for much lower costs.

By Paris Permenter and John Bigley are the authors of Barkonomics: Tips for Frugal Fidos (Riviera Books). The husband-wife team are the publishers of DogTipper.com and CatTipper.com, sites featuring daily tips, news, giveaways, and product reviews. Paris and John can always be found on Twitter and Facebook, too!

Re-posted at Just One More Pet

June 19, 2011 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Holistic Pet Health, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, pet products, Pet Recipes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Daily Chart: Pet Theories About Health-Care Spending

Daily Chart: Pet Theories About Health-Care Spending

This chart by Cato’s AEI’s Andrew Biggs has been snaking its way around the blogosphere for the past week:

Pet spending

And it’s gotten approving [update: and skeptical!] chirps from Megan McArdle, Tyler Cowen,Jim Manzi, Arnold Kling and Greg Mankiw and others, a good deal of whom parrot the old line about how this shows that “The reason that we spend more [on healthcare] than our grandparents did is not waste, fraud and abuse, but advances in medical technology and growth in incomes.” If it were waste, fraud and abuse, wouldn’t you see the difference in the animal market?

But let’s not flap about this too much. The chart is hounded by some fatal problems. John Schwenkler gently badgered me into trying to make a new version of this chart that deals with some of them, and I’ve been monkeying around with the data for the past couple of days. But, for reasons I’ll grouse about after the jump, I can’t reproduce a better version of this chart. (Scott Winship and Zubin Jelveh have ferreted out some of the missing data.) What I can do is graph the growth of pet food spending over the same period, and then list some of the reasons why the original chart doesn’t prove much at all. (And cut out the dumb animal puns.)

Pet food

1. This data is drawn from the same source (the Consumer Expenditure Survey) as the original chart. The raw slope of the pet food spending line is actually higher than the raw slope of the veterinary spending line. The normalized slope of the veterinary care line is a bit higher, but both are higher than average economic growth over the same period. Does this mean there is something unique about the two health markets, or something unique about the two animal markets? Or neither? I have no idea.

2. As Schwenkler and Manzi and others have pointed out, the original chart does not have per capita data. But of course we only care about how much is being spent on health care per person or dog. If the population grows quickly, the overall level of spending will grow with it. (Incidentally, this is why I’m having trouble reproducing Biggs’ chart exactly: I can’t find the number of total pets per person in the country between 1984 and 2006. And, to be extra cautious about it, I’d also need to know something about how the population has changed — more ponies or parakeets or whatnot.)

3. Even if the chart made the same point on a per capita basis, I’m not sure why it would be surprising. You don’t really have insurance or adverse selection in the veterinary market. But you do have large information asymmetries (the vets know more), large demand uncertainties (the need for veterinary care springs up uncertainly), large supply constraints, and a whole series of new patent-protected treatments that can lead to market failures.

4. Even if none of the problems in # 3 turn out to exist, I’m not sure why the growth of veterinary spending is a point in favor of conservative theories about the growth of health-care spending. Two of the most commonly cited conservative reasons for the rise in health-care spending are (1) The tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health insurance; and (2) malpractice liability, which is supposed to lead to defensive medicine and higher costs. But neither of those things happen in the veterinary market! If the original chart is correct, then are these things not really problems?

My overwhelming suspicion is that the chart does not tell us much that is useful about the market for medical care. I spoke with Andrew Biggs yesterday, and he very kindly shared his data from the expediture survey (which is not publicly available). He also cautioned against taking any of this too seriously. 700 words and two charts later, I agree.

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Source:  the Atlantic – The Daily Dish

Posted:  Just One More Pet

July 17, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment