When a beloved member of your family starts crying out in pain you do everything within your power to get it to stop. When that member of your family goes through three doctors who can’t find the solution you move to the fourth, no matter what the cost -- right? Pretty easy answer at least for us, even if that family member walks on all fours and is covered in fur.
Last Wednesday, oddly enough while I was on the air with 1490 WKVT’s Steve West discussing this column (as I do every Wednesday at 9:15), our guy Max the Radio Dog started yelping for no apparent reason. He hadn’t fallen and nothing had hit him, yet he was in immense pain.
Now I’ve run three Tough Mudders and hurt my myself to the point I exposed bone, but didn’t stop until I completed the circuit -- so that might indicate that I’m a tough guy. But when my dog yelps, I break down and I’m reduced to a quivering child. Nothing is worse than hearing an animal cry out in pain with no way of communicating where that pain lies.
Our goose chase began, first to his primary veterinarian Ben Dow who has cared for Max for the past five years. But Ben lacks an X-ray machine so off to the VT/NH Vet clinic we went (fabulous place by the way). But the X-rays revealed nothing and the examination turned up things beyond their scope, so it was off to Tufts in Boston we went.
We got there at 7 p.m. on Friday with a yelping, scared and
Now Tufts is a wonderful facility. The people that greet you are pleasant, the students (it’s a teaching hospital) that come to check on you are top notch and the vets themselves are among the most caring individuals I’ve meet.
That being said, Max’s visit was tallying up some bucks in a hurry. Our emergency visit was $600 and it was determined that he needed an MRI because he may have some neurological problems cause by a slipped disk. Lucky for us it’s June and June is Magnetic Resonance Imaging sale month ... yeah, not so much. Max faced surgery on his back and of course a month of recuperation. All of this was going to run in excess of $5,000. But it’s Max, and we’re in, whatever it takes. We pulled out our Care Credit credit card and said get it done.
But this brings me to a larger question: What if we couldn’t whip out the Care Credit? What would have happened to my man Max? Harsh reality -- we would have probably have had to of come to grips with putting him down. And that is about 10 pounds of stink in a five-pound sack.
But let’s pull this from the animal world and look at the human world. We have to face these decisions around health care all the time -- People not going to doctors because they can’t afford it; it’s wrong on many levels. At least humans can walk into an emergency room and be guaranteed medical attention (not much solace, I know, but a little).
With the most defenseless, our pets, you’re really kinda screwed. If I had the time I would start a fund that helped out with vet bills for the folks that can’t afford it.
The good news is we picked Max up on Monday, paid $2,100 for the MRI and a new chest harness (which was only $18) put him in the car and brought him home. As it turns out, he’s like me -- a frustrated old jock that flat out refuses to admit he’s getting old and won’t succumb to father time. Yup, he tried to jump over something a week or so ago and landed on his head which they believe caused a majority of what we were seeing. I do the same thing, I call them Tough Mudders -- What the hell is up with that!