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Is back surgery for my dog the only option?
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Is back surgery for my dog the only option?

My dog has a compressed disc in his L4-L5 area which was diagnosed on Tuesday (04/17/12).  He is in a lot of pain (cries almost constantly and is having a very difficult time having a bowel movement).  He is currently taking muscle relaxor, pain med (tremoral) and an anti-inflamatory (prednizone).  We are keeping him crated except to eat or to urinate/defecate. the meds helped for about a day and a half - he was able to sleep comfortably, but now he takes the meds and will maybe sleep an hour or two and then he is awake and crying.  Initally he was still able to walk, but now he is losing funciton in his left rear leg.  The vet has upped his pain and anti-inflamatory, but has told us if that doesn't work, then an MRI and surgery would be next.  My family cannot afford several thousands of dollars (much as I wish we could); it was hard coming up with the $400+ we're already in for in vet bills.  Is there any alternative to this drastic of a measure?
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441382_tn?1329196690
Unfortunately, if the problem seems to be getting worse instead of better with everything you are doing for him, it truly MAY be a case of the only way out being surgery.  There ARE options, however.  If I were you I would start calling veterinary colleges to see if there is one within a reasonable drive for you that would be willing to take him on as a patient.  Another thing you can try is talking with every vet you can find that you can drive to and explaining the situation to them.  If you can prove that it truly would be a hardship for you to pay for this surgery but you want to do everything you can to help your dog, there ARE vets who would perform the surgery either free or at a VERY reduced rate.  Lots of animal hospitals have benefactors who donate moneys to them to be used for things just like this and if you meet the criteria, a vet may just choose your case to take on free of charge.  

In every vet's office there is something you can apply for called Care Credit.  This is something you would be instantly approved for if you qualify and the cost of the surgery would be put on the Care Credit card and you would pay it off just as you would any other credit card.

Here is a link that hopefully will help.   The page has many links in it to organizations who offer assistance to people who have enormous veterinary bills to pay who cannot afford to pay them.  If it is truly a matter of not being able to pay it (vs some folks who just don't want to part with the money but have it) then you would hopefully qualify to be assisted by one of these groups.   http://www.aaloc.com/helplinepetaid.htm

Please keep us posted on how your boy is doing.  Best of luck to you.  It's an awful thing to go through, wanting to do everything you can for your beloved pet and just not having the wherewithal to do it, and so many of us have been in just this situation.  I really hope that one of my suggestions ends up being a solution for you.  Please keep us up to date.

Ghilly
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Avatar_m_tn
thanks for your help.  I actually already have Care Credit - used if for dental bills but didn't know it could be used towards vet bills.  There is a vet school near enough by so I will check into that as well.  I am also looking into a vet that was suggested by my friend who takes a wholistic, but practical approach; she may have alternatives like physical therapy that may be a little more affordable for us.  

Unfortunately Frodo is about the same; although since upping his meds he is getting more sleep, which means we are too.  His crying seems to be less pain related and more pitiful now because we have to keep him crated, which may be a small improvement. When it is just one family member awake (like I was last night) we can let him out to lie on the floor to be petted.  
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Avatar_m_tn
You might want to look into other options, like veterinary discount programs. Usually they'll only charge you about ten bucks a month, and you can get a nice percentage off the vet bill. Try Pet Assure, or United Pet Care.
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462827_tn?1333172552
Ann.....My dog has had the surgery...His was an emergency situation as he went from walking to paralyzed in 30 seconds.....His was done at a Veterinary Teaching College and was about half the price that the specialists charged.....I ended up there, because it was Christmas Eve and everything else was closed.....

The Teaching University DID accept Care Credit........They required half the money up front & the second half could be paid out in monthly installments to the Teaching facility......Or cash or credit card......

He has done very well since then....It's been over 3 years, ago....I see a Holistic Vet that performs Acupuncture to keep him pain free......He gets a tune up about once a month that  keeps him from having any prescription pain medication.......Karla

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