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Discussion Starter #1
Well it has been a nightmare today. Charlie started limping ladt night without any warning or yelps. Took Charlie to the vet and after sedation, exam and x ray we found out he has a partial to full ligament tear.

Vet said it's very rare to see this breed and this age with it. A freak occurence that happens sometimes.

Surgery is around $4000 with the likelihood of his other knee blowing out in a year or two. So another $4000.

We just can't afford it. I know people will say we shouldn't have a dog if you can't afford their care but we've done everything. Puppy shots, heartworm and flea prevention, quality food, good schedule and had signed him up for obedience/puppy manners classes. Who would have thought this could happen! It feels like a punch to the gut.

After talking it over with my husband we have decided to place him with a standard poodle rescue that is very strict about who their dogs go to. Usually people with means. We know the group and they said they would take him without hesitation and have him seen by their orthopedic vet and will take care of his medical care.

We've had Charlie for only a short time. We believe he deserves a chance for a healthy life not crippled by this injury and the arthritic complications that would follow. We take him tomorrow and though sad and still shaken we feel it's for the best.

I know folks spend a lot on their dogs but we are a family with kids and bills. $4-8K is a lot for us. I guess I just want to hear if people think I'm making the right decision.
 

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I’m SO sorry about his torn ACL. Very freakish accident, not your fault in any way. You are doing the right thing to rehome him while he is young if you can’t afford this big ticket surgery. That would be unfair to your family and to Charlie. This must be heartbreaking for you all.

amyktexas’s tragedy is a reminder to all of us that a vet care can cost thousands, never mind the breed in question, never mind the diagnosis. Either have a dedicated savings account or get pet insurance for your puppy after his first checkup.
 

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Omg, this is breaking my heart! I'm SO sorry :'( I completely support you in your decision as this is a majorly expensive ordeal and I understand with a family with children, it's too much. I know Charlie will go to a great place, but I feel very sad for you. (((((((Hugs))))))
 

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Thank you for your kind words. It's just a shock. We've had him less than a month. My husband bought him for me as a gift since we lost our standard a few years ago and I've pined for another standard.

We always thought it would be our rescue toy poodle, Sweetie, that would suffer this because she's a tripod and much older. So we are careful with her, keep her weight in check and don't overdo it physically with her. But not Charlie, he's a baby.

Sweetie is not from a good breeder but a backyard breeder. She had been abused, neglected. But Charlie is AKC, we saw the parents. We even felt bad about buying instead of adopting. But after what we went through with Sweetie we wanted a "healthy" dog. My husband is so upset and sad.

If Charlie was older (10 plus) we would say no to surgery and just deal with the arthritis and scar tissue build up. But he's so young. He deserves to get the surgery and be healthy.
 

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Oh no. what a difficult, heartbreaking decision. You are doing the best you can for your family and for Charlie. I too support your plan. (((HUGS)))
 

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I think you’re doing the kind and loving thing, given that you can’t afford the surgery.

I am a strong believe in «*don’t buy a dog if you can’t afford it*», but 8k is a huge amount of money and you have children to take care of.

You had a good suggestion about pet insurance if you ever want to try another puppy or older dog.

I’m sorry you have to give up your puppy.
 

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You have made a hard decision in your boy's best interest. I don't mean to rock the boat, but have you looked into any Veterinary Medical Teaching schools? It's possible that their services are provided at lower cost than a private or corporate owned practice.

Wishing you all the best outcome.
 

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I am sorry this is happening to you.

Mfmst is right about having either insurance or a fund set up when you bring your new puppy/dog home.

I know that these surgeries are expensive, my Beatrice had bilateral patella repair surgeries, she had ruptured cruciates ligament repaired with her first patella surgery and will eventually need to have the other one repaired.

There are ways you could possibly do it, teaching college, apply for Care credit.

But there are difficulties, mom's little dog years ago had knee surgery and promptly blew that repaired knee out and had to have redone. It's hard to keep an active puppy quiet enough to recoup, I had Beatrice tethered to me for two months post op to keep her quiet and calm. I had no insurance for Beatrice, I gave up a lot I held off on a new car and moving.

In the long run you are doing the right thing for your pup
 

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So sorry this has happened. I can only imagine the heartbreak your family is feeling. I support your decision in doing what is best for all concerned.
 

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What a sad situation. I feel for you. Many years ago I had a Maine Coon cat who needed knee reconstruction for a luxated patella (long odd story I won't bore you with). She was only about 2-3 years old at the time and didn't have closed growth plates so for her too to not do the surgery was going to be crippling for the majority of her life. Thankfully I was able to do enough substitute teaching that semester to pay for nearly all of it. Since then I have always maintained a healthy emergency reserve fund.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I appreciate all the support. Let me say this because I think it explains where I and many of my rural neighbors are coming from.

I (in my 30's) was raised by older parents, Dad is 82/Mom 75, and paying for outrageous vet expenses was not the norm nor how they were raised. My parents are religious about taking there dogs/cats in for yearly check ups, shots and heartworm/flea pills but paying $4k is out of the question.

I remember as a girl when our older gelding had colic and the surgery was $4k in the late 80's. Dad had him put down.

Large animal vets know this: ranchers, farmers and country folks don't pay for large expenses. They can't afford too and their dogs are working animals and though loved they aren't on the same level as their kids.

Many large animal vets have gotten out of the business and into small animal practices because "that's where the money is". They know folks will go into debt to pay for things. That's what many urban or small dog breed owners do.

My mom knew of a lady in Dallas whose poodle had cancer. She flew the dog and herself to California for treatment. Over $25k in expenses. For me that seems crazy! But she was single, wealthy with no kids.

Whereas our neighbor owns sheep and has border collies and lost one to a snake bite another to a crushed jaw by getting kicked by a horse. Even the vet recommended to put him down. The neighbor did. This guy used to be a breeder/trainer of borde collies and has a great love for them. Just can't justify thousands of dollars on vet bills.

I say all this because when I heard the diagnosis I cried because I knew we couldn't afford the surgery nor would my husband pay it. It made us sick having to consider putting him down. Even my parents, who love dogs, were sick over it.

So that's why I'm okay with giving him up. He's going off to live in Dallas metro area with a retired surgeon we think. I feel it's the best shot he has.

Pet insurance is a great idea and we actually were looking at joining when this happened. And I called some vet schools and they are very expensive. We live in a rural area and to see a specialist you have to go to Dallas..."where the money is".
 

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amyktexas, thank you for the cultural insights that inform your decision making. I think is is important when people are candid about difficult situations. I hope though that you didn't think you needed to explain as a justification of your decision. Your decision is yours and clearly was carefully thought through in challenging circumstances. Peace.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you for that. I did want to explain from a rural perspective because only about 10 percent of folks live so far out statistically speaking. It really is a different world out here.

Sorry for this long post but I wanted to share some info I found.

I got to thinking that I can't be the only one in this situation. So I did a lot of reading over the last couple of days and what I discovered is shocking.

-Only about 2 percent of dog owners have pet insurance. Even if we had gotten it 2 weeks ago there is often a window of time the company won't pay. Also the bill has to be paid first then the insurance reimburses and that is if the vet will take it.

In parts of Europe you must register your dog and that requires owners to get pet insurance as well. Though insiders predict pet insurance,if it mainstreans, will drive vet care prices even higher.

-Americans lasy year have paid
$1.32 BILLLION for CCL (torn ligament) surgery for their pets.
Think about that that amount!

-Vets average $150,000 in college loans but the median income for vets starting out is about $68,000!

Compare that to dentists who average the same amount in school loans but the median income for dentists under 35 yrs old is $178,000!

-Your local mom and pop vet clinics are rapidly being replaced by corporate owned vet clinics that push for more and more profit. Which leaves vets unable to work with pet owners or tweak medical charges. Just google what happened at Petsmart and the dog deaths at their grooming salon.

-There is corruption within the breeding world even with AKC oversight. After meeting with the poodle oranization yesterday I found out there is an AKC breeder that keeps dozens of standards/minis in filthy barns to breed to death.

But her show kennels up front are nice and the AKC will only inspect that even though they have been informed about the barns on the back of the property. Something is wrong with that!!!

-Medical advancements have skyrocketed for humans and animals. Like the drug Rymadyl which started out in human trials but after that failed the drug companies found a canine market.

We are able to save pet lives with technology that was only a dream 20 yrs ago. With that tech comes a higher price tag.

Which leads me into my last point...

-Over the last 50 years there has been a huge shift in our American culture.

People, especially millenials, are having less children or none at all. Pets are the replacement children and grandchildren people used to have.

Dogs have moved from the barnyard to the backyard to now our bedrooms. Whereas it was unheard of for the average person to have indoor dogs now it's common.

Psychologically we've made them not just our pets but actual family members.

Because of this we are willing to invest thousands on a pet that years ago was unheard of.

Just look at your local pet store. It looks like a toy store. Even my 4 & 2 yr old boys thought the dog teepee, tramoline, toys, and cookies were for kids.

It's the perfect storm. Advanced technology that give us more options colliding with our emotional and cultural idea that dogs are family members on par with humans.

It all adds up to Americans spending billions every year! Even though economically we are broke.

I write all this because I was shocked at the cost of vet schools, medical care and the idea starting to form in many people's minds that pets are a luxury. But historically this wasn't true.

I don't have answers but I do think something is out of whack.

Thanks again for your comments above. Charlie is now with Poodle Patch organization and will be seen by their vets today. He will be in the home of the co-founder of the organization awaiting treatment.

Again we are happy that he has the chance to reach his full potential and live a long life.
 

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Well thought, well said.
 

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-There is corruption within the breeding world even with AKC oversight. After meeting with the poodle oranization yesterday I found out there is an AKC breeder that keeps dozens of standards/minis in filthy barns to breed to death.

But her show kennels up front are nice and the AKC will only inspect that even though they have been informed about the barns on the back of the property. Something is wrong with that!!!

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Excellent post, Amy! I wish I had time to comment on everything, as it is very interesting. But I did want to mention here that AKC has very low standards for breeders and should never be used to measure quality. Being AKC registered is an absolute bottom requirement; breeders need to go far beyond registering their dogs with them. I have to see complete health testing results, the dogs being shown in conformation, and the dogs living in the home with the breeder like family. No barns or kennels whatsoever. I will only support a small breeder who treats their dogs with the same TLC I do.
 

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Okay this is crazy! We called the rescue group to check on Charlie today and heard some astonishing news.

It seems their vet doesn't think its a CCL or torn anything. Instead he thinks it might be an infection of his growth plates. Just a round of antibiotics might be the answer!

The co-founder would like it to be a simple fix and place Charlie back with us. I'm not getting my hopes up to high but I would love to see him back!

It seems their vet is very honest and has 20 yrs more experience and is very good at what he does. We're keeping our fingers crossed.
 

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That would be wonderful, fingers and paws crossed for this very happy ending!

Can you still get insurance, if this works out?
 
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