Need Advise anv Vet wants over $1000 for tests

We rescued a Basenji mix from the pound 11 years ago. We had never heard of a basenji until the traininer came out to work with her as a pupply. I have some concerns about her health, and the vet wants more than we can afford to try and diagnois her. My first concern is her weight. She is only skin and bones, we feed her and she eats, the vet says she is eating the correct amount for her size, but you would think that she does not eat at all. She has always been house broken even as a pup, now if she does not get out for her walk she can not hold her bladder, she will pee while she is walking and even while she is eating. There are times she seems to be in a lot of pain and ends up walking almost sideways. After several long walks it sometimes corrects it's self, but the fact that we had to downsize to an appartment is making it harder and harder for her to get the right excersise. The other night, my daughter was holding her and just pressed down on her back slightly and she yelped in pain. The vet wants to do a number of work-ups, as much as she has been and is a part of the family I feel guilty seeing her live like this. If there is something anything that we can do different within our means that would bring her comfort we want to do, but I have read about the malnurtrision these dogs get and I don't know if it is too late to do anything. Help any advise. Just a little background. Our daughter at age 3 started asking for a dog, we told her she would have to be responsible and take care of it. She saved every penny she could until she could afford to pay for her, all her shots, toys, food etc, by her 5th birthday she picked it out and paid for everything, so needless to say she has been a big part of the family. I never knew Dogs could smile before.:(

What kind of tests does the vet want to do? Have you had any tests done so far?

All he said is it would be a complete work up, with xrays.

I would start first with a urinalysis to see if she has a urinary infection and/or glucose in the urine. If she has an infection then she will be on antibiotics and if she has glucose in the urine then she will need blood tests done. I would do this ASAP!

Jennifer

OK I have strips at home and can test her urine, one thing at a time, I guess I just need to find a vet that does not want to do everything under the sun.

@knkpatrick:

OK I have strips at home and can test her urine, one thing at a time, I guess I just need to find a vet that does not want to do everything under the sun.

You can not test her for infection at home, only the Vet can do that. Have they done basic blood work, including thyroid panel? Yes, they are usually 100+ here in California, but well worth it to get an idea of what is going on with her internal organs.

I was going to test for sugar in the urine at home, and start there. I will call around and see how much the others tests are going to cost. Unfortuniately sometimes other priorities like my daughters health have to come first, but we are trying to balance everything.

If a mix and unless she has diabetes, testing for sugar will not tell you much. Very unlikely that she would have Fanconi as a mix. If nothing else, take a urine sample to the Vet and ask that they test for infection

@tanza:

You can not test her for infection at home, only the Vet can do that. Have they done basic blood work, including thyroid panel? Yes, they are usually 100+ here in California, but well worth it to get an idea of what is going on with her internal organs.

Pat, the thread says over $1,000…is that normal for a blood work up in California?

I would rule out urinary tract infection first. You SHOULD be able to find a vet that can test her for that for less than $1000! I always appreciate it when my vets start simple 🙂

I cannot even begin to fathom any normal diagnostic tests that would cost $1,000? A senior profile at my vet clinic includes a physical exam, complete blood panel, urinalysis, and fecal exam is is only about $100.

Everything you have described sounds like a major kidney infection or perhaps renal failure. If you can afford to do a urinalysis and complete blood panel please do both. Your vet should be able to tell a great deal from both tests. One other thing, look into her mouth and check for cracked teeth, periodontal disease, or infected gums. That could be the cause of her difficulty eating and may also be connected to a kindey problem.

I agree, a blood panel will tell you about blood sugar and kidney function, and a urinalysis will tell if it is an infection. Those would not cost more than $150 here at my vets, including the 'exam'. But check for low cost clinics, sometimes they will do basic lab work at a reduced rate.
Good luck, when we had a dog who got very thin, she was diabetic. So strip her, that is something you can do right now. (If your strips are old, check them first to be sure they work)

I will remark, that others in different parts of the country might get lower prices… but here in Ca.. they are twice to three times what others might expect... Blood work panels are usually around 150.00, in my experience. You will not find them cheaper

I would explain to the office that you do not have the money for everything they suggested and ask how much a urinalysis and a blood profile test would cost. It is your dog and your money and you should have the right to decline certain tests.

Jennifer

First Basenji's

Hi, I'm in California too. We had a very thorough round of bloodwork done for one of our dogs recently that was listed as a "senior panel" which included thyroid readings and lots of other stuff. That package of tests alone was $230. Tack on some sedatives (which were absolutely needed to get that blood from my dog), some other tests to rule out other problems, the consultation fees, etc., and yes, we easily saw a $500 bill. Without X-rays. For a relatively young dog.

I've learned that vet bills can and do get REALLY expensive in this state.

And I think once dogs get older, some increased level of medical maintenance and expenses is to be expected. You can't really avoid the fact that your pet is getting older, but I think you can work with your vet to establish a plan of care that would work for your budget. I don't think you should be expecting to pay $1000 or jump to X-Rays immediately. But yes, ruling out a urinary tract infection sounds like a good start.

Not sure how your relationship with your vet is, but I've learned that it's worth it to shop around for a vet that you do feel comfortable with. Yelp.com, for all its issues, has helped me navigate the local vets, as well as talking to other pet owners whose opinions I trust.

I've found vets out in the country are cheaper than city vets. Personally, I'd ask the vet to prioritize some tests. And I agree with Robin that it sounds like some sort of kidney-related issues going on here. So, if it were up to me, I'd start there.

Do let us know what you have found. We so want the best for you and your companion.

I have called around to a couple of other vets, and will check some more today, normally the financial would not be an issue, but my oldest daughter is having surgery and even with insurance we are looking at $500.00 a day co-pay and a 5 day stay in the hospital, so eventhough that is the priority, our dog is still part of the family. I have contacted the local Basenji rescue and they are going to get back to me today. Thanks so much for all the good advise and help, I will keep you posted.:(

@YodelDogs:

I cannot even begin to fathom any normal diagnostic tests that would cost $1,000? A senior profile at my vet clinic includes a physical exam, complete blood panel, urinalysis, and fecal exam is is only about $100.

LOL give me your vet's name. At my vet it's nearly 200. I'll drive to Atlanta!

To the OP, yes get urine tested for infection first. Bladder/kidney could cause lots of pain walking and picking up. Start simple.

Also, on the weight….I know folks here get tired of my saying it, but...
first treat for worms even if none show up in fecal. DO NOT USE OTC, get from vet. Then, order cyproheptidine. It is a cheap antihistamine that works miracles with increasing appetite. My basenji was getting to the bone stage, massive testing... all normal. She simply didn't care if she ate. No matter what your vet says, you don't go by AMOUNT for what is right, you go by results. If they eat and are thin, they need MORE FOOD or food with higher calories. Also, you might try something like FASTRACK, healthy bacteria which helps them USE the food they eat much better.

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