There Is Never A Good Time For A Surprise Vet Bill

When Mr. MMM and I decided to blend our lives together, that meant combining animals. That puts us at a total of 2 dogs and 2 cats. They outnumber the humans in our house by 1. The cats are fairly innocuous, but the dogs are big and hairy. And unfortunately, they both have anxiety and allergies to boot. Needless to say, this can be a handful. Over the past few weeks, I noticed that one of our famous Mad Money Pups started to shed excessively. At first I thought nothing of it, thinking it might’ve been the recent change in food. However, since he never exhibited food allergies before, and since we’re currently experiencing sub-zero temperatures in our little corner of the world, I finally decided it was odd that he be shedding so much. Our green couch, now white. After considering everything, I picked up the phone and called our vet to make an appointment.



He anxiously awaits his name to be called

I called for an appointment in between meetings at work the other morning. Did I also mention that Mr. MMM is away on business for a bit? That leaves me to figure out the daily routine of me, Mini, and the pets, including: bus schedules, days off, early dismissals, dinners, homework, baths, working full-time, running this blog ๐Ÿ™‚ and, well, everything. I was a single parent before and I know there are plenty of other people out there doing it. But no one said it was easy! This was one of those not-so-easy things to coordinate on the first day of being without Mr. MMM.

Aside from that little rant, it’s important to note that our vet is the best! They were able to squeeze him in that same day at 5:20PM. Since I was leaving work early to get Mini off the bus at 4pm, this worked out great. Mini and I hurriedly had a snack (since dinner was obviously going to be a little later) and took Mad Money Pup to his appointment. We arrived with 5 minutes to spare. Perfect.

The Prognosis

Once there, the office was booming. Shocking, at 5:20pm. I did mention that this is the one with the major anxiety disorder, correct? No? Well, this is the one with the major anxiety disorder. I couldn’t even get out of the car without him pummeling over my lap and out the door before I had a chance to pull the keys from the ignition. All 70 pounds of him.

He shook. He shivered. He backed under a bench and hid. Finally, his name was called and I dragged him into the exam room. The vet examined him on the floor, rather than trying to put him on the cold, hard exam table. Good call. Ultimately, the vet agreed that he was experiencing excessive shedding and decided to take a blood sample. And just in case you’re wondering, he had an accident on the floor. Poor guy ๐Ÿ™

The Bill

After the floor was soiled and the blood was drawn, it was time to step up to the front desk and pay our bill. Fortunately, we have plenty of cash set aside for instances just like this one, so there wasn’t any anxiety for us over how we were going to pay the bill. It was $146. Before I handed over the payment, I asked if that included the multi-pet discount, which we receive because we take 4 animals to the clinic. Sometimes they add it and sometimes they don’t. It all depends who’s working the controls that day. Turns out, they forgot to add it. I’m so glad I didn’t just blindly hand over my cash. Just by asking one simple question, I saved $14! It never hurts to ask. And if you have multiple pets that frequent the same vet’s office, you should ask, too.

Now, we wait. We’ll hear what’s going on with him in the next few days. I’m hoping it’s a simple fix. He’s only 6 years old and has been in good health his entire life, short of the his anxiety and allergy to pine needles. We’ll see.

We’d love to hear all about your pets in the comments. Do they have health issues? If so, how do you budget for the expense? Does anyone have pet insurance? Tell us what you think.


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  • Run The Money (@RunTheMoney) Feb 23, 2017, 9:59 pm

    I’m with you regarding vet bills. My wife and I joke all the time that you can’t leave the vet without paying $300. They always find something to charge.

    We had a pug who got cancer and we spent thousands to save her a few years. She passed away in October (unfortunately the same day as my little guy’s first birthday party), but it was from a separate illness. It was worth saving her, and we would do it again, but it’s just incredibly hard. The emotions take a toll, the expenses take a toll, and in the end you just want your puppy to be alright.

    Shortly after our pug passed, we rescued another pug named Max. My wife just couldn’t be without a dog and she wanted our son to grow up with dogs. So, we got a new member to the family in November.

    Hope all is well with everybody’s pets!


  • TPOHappiness Jan 24, 2017, 3:38 pm

    My wife and I decided to rescue a second dog a little over a year ago. After significant searching we found one that matched with our climate area and lifestyle. Little did we know just how sick he was at the time and our first Vet visit with him ended up with $1800 in procedures and medications. Our savings rate was high enough to cash flow the totally unexpected costs thereby soaring or emergency fund but you are right, there is never a good time for an unexpected vet bill.

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 24, 2017, 4:53 pm

      Wow! Thankfully your little pooch found you guys! It can be a major expense caring for a sick/aging pet. We just had to euthanize one of our cats last year and before we did that, he ran up about $2k worth of bills. He was almost 20 years old, so it was hard to make the final decision. Ultimately, his body wasn’t able to keep up anymore. In my opinion, it is a necessity to have funds set aside for these unexpected circumstances. I hope your little guy is doing better these days. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Smart Provisions Jan 12, 2017, 1:27 pm

    Awwh, I hope he’s better now.

    I don’t have any pets, but I might adopt a German Shephard or a Husky in the future. But if any emergencies or accidents occur, I’ll definitely put aside some money in my emergency fund to make sure he/she will be okay and taken care of.

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 12, 2017, 3:15 pm

      Thanks! I just had a call from the vet this afternoon. Apparently his thyroid levels are on the low side of normal so it could be attributed to that and the fact that we recently changed his food. Thankfully it isn’t anything major, at this point ๐Ÿ™‚ BTW…you should definitely adopt a dog and let us know how it goes!

  • Miss Mazuma Jan 11, 2017, 4:02 pm

    Not pitch…pooch! ๐Ÿ˜œ

  • Miss Mazuma Jan 11, 2017, 4:01 pm

    Awww. Poor thing! Sounds exactly like my girl when I take her too the vet…peeing the floor and all! I’ve decided next time we go to make the doctor come outside to see her. Maybe that will help but who knows!! Anywho, you’re right, there is never a good time for a vet (or doctor) visit but thank goodness you have the money to afford it when it comes up. The alternative is an unbearable thought. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for your pitch and keep us updated!!

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 11, 2017, 4:25 pm

      Awe…thanks so much for your kind words. Yes, it was nice not having to worry about the bill on top of worrying about the actual medical issue. I’ll keep you posted!

  • Des Jan 11, 2017, 3:29 pm

    Oh no! I had a somewhat-surprise vet visit yesterday with my dog too – doggy pink eye, apparently. I felt the exact same way – so grateful that they could accommodate our schedule and the last minute visit, and so so so grateful that even if it turned out to need more than a few meds, I had the money earmarked to cover it! I hope the shedding turns out to be a simple, straightforward and fixable issue for you guys!

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 11, 2017, 4:24 pm

      I didn’t realize dogs could get pink eye. I guess it makes sense, but fortunately I never had to deal with it. Hope all is well with your pooch now! We’re still waiting to hear on our little pup. For some reason, it’s not that serious in my mind. Let’s hope that’s the reality of it, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • retirebyforty Jan 11, 2017, 10:11 am

    I hope he’s better now. It’s tough when pets get sick. We only had cats and they were pretty healthy so no huge pet bills for us. We just absorb the bill whenever we need to.

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 11, 2017, 2:28 pm

      That’s pretty much what we do, too. But it’s nice to know we have extra cash sitting around for emergency stuff. Still haven’t heard from our vet but my gut tells me it’s not too serious. We’ll see! Oh and by the way, cats rule!

  • Kate Jan 11, 2017, 9:28 am

    Wow, I had no idea you had so many pets! I hope your dog is ok. Keep us posted.

    My cat is diabetic so I completely understand. With that comes insulin, syringes, prescription food, and glucose checks (since I don’t home test). Today marks one year that he’s been on insulin. Poor guy has been poked and prodded so much in the past year — I feel awful for him. It also means I have to be home every 12 hours for his feeding and injection.

    He’ll turn 12 this year, and with my other cat passing away last October, I’ve made the decision not to have any more pets once he’s gone. I love having them around but it stresses me out since I feel like I’m not doing a great job caring for him. The decision is definitely more of an emotional one than financial.

    People really need to think of all possible costs before making a commitment and adopting a dog or cat. They’re cute but they can also be really expensive!

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 11, 2017, 9:43 am

      Yes, unfortunately, we do have too many pets. We do love our animals but it is a bit much. Once the dogs go, I don’t thin we’ll be in a hurry to bring home another one. We had a cat last year with major health issues that ended up costing us thousands of dollars, just to put him down in the end ๐Ÿ™ They are wonderful but can also be a major expense. If you can’t keep up with the medical side of it, it’s probably best to not bring them into your home. ๐Ÿ™

  • youmeanme Jan 11, 2017, 7:05 am

    That’s so stressful, I hope he’s alright.
    Bunny’s savings account is hidden in our Life Happens line and she has her own monthly allowance. She’s a fairly frugal creature

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 11, 2017, 9:40 am

      I love the idea of a Life Happens account! Hopefully your little one stays healthy for a long time to come ๐Ÿ™‚

      • youmeanme Jan 12, 2017, 5:48 am

        She’s been pretty good! Our big scare turned into a discovery that the poor thing has arthritis.
        How is he doing? Any news from the vet?

        • Mad Money Monster Jan 12, 2017, 6:22 am

          Oh good. Arthritis isn’t too bad of a diagnosis. Still waiting to hear from the vet on our guy ๐Ÿ™

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