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Cat needs dental extractions - is my estimate reasonable? please advise!

starlightvelvs
September 20th, 2007, 07:20 PM
I'm new to this forum and hope someone will have practical advice for me. I am told by my vet that Velvet, my male himalayan 14 yrs old cat, needs 3 teeth extractions plus a full cleaning because it causes him to eat less, and the infection could abscess or enter his bloodstream. More than anything, I want what is best for my little guy. But I do not know if the estimate I received is reasonable, and I am extremely tight on money due to other factors right now. I wouldn't even be able to get a procedure this costly for myself right now!

On top of the dental work and medication for it, the vet has tagged on other things including a urinalysis and x-rays, putting the estimate at $750. I tried to ask if I can do just the most essential thing now, the extractions, and they said no. So I feel I have very little say in working out a solution which fits my wallet - it seems like all or nothing.

I want to do what is best for my cat. However, I want an honest opinion as to how necessary all of this is. Is the vet trying to sell me the maximum package, when I could try to cut down in some way?
I'm looking for answers on 3 things:
1. How much can Velvet's dental problem impact his overall health?
2. Is the estimate I received too high? Could I get a better price elsewhere?
3. Is the vet possibly trying to push the maximum package? Are there parts of this procedure I can leave out, or alternatives?

I donít know what to do! Please help!

Thank you!

want4rain
September 20th, 2007, 07:24 PM
could you maybe give another vet in the area a call and see wha tthey say? ask if they can give a better price?

i imagine her teeth are hurting quite a bit. :(

-ashley

shredy
September 20th, 2007, 07:45 PM
Having done billing for several vets I think that with a 14 y/o cat who needs 3 extractions $750 is very reasonable. The reason they won't budge on the additional tests isn't to get more money out of you, it is to ensure the safety of your baby while he is under anesthesia. Some things like heart failure are not evident without a chest xray or specific blood work. Also a urinalysis will give indication of kidney function which is very important when getting anesthesia. There are always risks during surgery but they are greater when our little guys get older. Having said that... I totally understand the money issue, I have often gone without for myself and spent thousands on my girl. It sounds to me like he is not eating due to an infection or severe gum disease?? Dental infections can become systemic (whole body) because the bacteria has easy entry into the bloodstream and even the brain if they become very severe, not to mention extreme pain for our furry kids. I had to get one extraction done for Shade years ago and even with my big discount (I was the vet tech and I did the extraction!!) it cost me $400. You can get another opinion if you desire, but I think you will probably get more of the same. Good luck! Sheri

sugarcatmom
September 20th, 2007, 08:22 PM
I want to do what is best for my cat. However, I want an honest opinion as to how necessary all of this is. Is the vet trying to sell me the maximum package, when I could try to cut down in some way?
I'm looking for answers on 3 things:

1. How much can Velvet's dental problem impact his overall health?

Bad teeth can have a huge impact on everything from kidneys to heart, and can even result in a very painful condition called stomatitis. Not to mention the everyday pain the cat feels but hides so very well.

2. Is the estimate I received too high? Could I get a better price elsewhere?

Considering all of the complicated aspects of doing dental work on a senior kitty, that price is right in line with what I would expect. In fact, my 14 yr old cat just had a canine tooth and 2 molars pulled 3 weeks ago and it cost me $818, with a discount. So ya, $750 doesn't sound over the top at all.

3. Is the vet possibly trying to push the maximum package? Are there parts of this procedure I can leave out, or alternatives?

X-rays are necessary to determine the nature of the tooth decay. In my case, we weren't sure if the canine tooth really needed to come out until the vet could see what the root looked like, and it was bad to the core (in fact, the top of the root had practically exploded into his jaw and my guy was probably in a fair amount of pain for months - I had no idea). Pre-op blood work and urinalysis are absolutely essential in a 14yr old cat. I would even recommend an EKG to check for heart issues.

Other things that cost more but are equally necessary is the use of an anesthetic gas such as isoflurane, and blood pressure monitoring during the procedure. Also pain meds (my guy was on a Fentanyl pain patch for 5 days afterwards - way better than having to pill him) and antibiotics. Really, I wouldn't skimp on anything. If money is uber-tight, you might want to look into something called Care Credit (http://www.carecredit.ca/). Use this website: http://www.carecredit.com/ if you're in the U.S.

Good luck! Oh, and welcome to pets.ca. :)

starlightvelvs
September 20th, 2007, 08:37 PM
Wow, this is great - in just a couple of hours I feel that I have the information I need! What a fabulous resource.

Thank you for all your responses, I really appreciate it. Sometime soon I will put up a picture of him and hopefully I'll have an update soon on how it went.