Being a dog owner in America is rewarding yet challenging. The biggest challenge of being a dog owner is the cost associated with it. In a world that is becoming more expensive than ever, being in the most regulated place of commerce in the world, there are little fees everywhere that can suck your bank account dry if you let it. Being a dog owner has its perks, but it also has its drawbacks. The biggest drawback is the cost of the fear-based system in veterinary care.
For more than 15 years as a dog owner I was straight and went along with the system. Whatever the Vets told me to do I did because I wanted what was best for my dog. Of course I had to deviate the path in some areas where I couldn’t afford some of the health needs, but for the most part over the course of 15+ years, I paid tens of thousands of dollars to treat his needs. Half of those costs were associated with preventative care and check up fees. As he got older, his needs grew and it was becoming tough to afford them.
In some areas of the world such as the United States, check up visits have high fees. Depending on which town or county it is, costs vary, but the fee per visit remains the same. Akin to paying copay for each doctor’s visit, the same rules apply to pets in the regulated world. Likewise, the idea of preventative care being mandatory-psychologically in peoples minds, causes people to shell out thousands of dollars every year to maintain their health.
The biggest thing I’ve noticed with doctors and veterinary doctors that go along with this system, is that they wholeheartedly believe in it. Depending on if they are good at what they do, most doctors are mostly correct in their assessments of their clients’ health needs. But most tend to lack the sensibilities of people’s abilities to provide for their health needs due to the costs associated with them. For example, if I couldn’t afford an echocardiogram because it costs $700 on top of the mandatory $65 office visit for my pet dog, they would almost guilt trip me – “why wouldn’t you pay for what your dog really needs, he’s family isn’t he?” However, if I couldn’t afford it, I couldn’t afford it, and I’d much rather pay for 12 months of prescriptions that fill his needs.
However, even some of the best doctors can get their diagnoses wrong, or implement bad advice. For example, I had to pay $135 for a urinanalysis, and the tests came out inconclusive due to my dog’s predilection for peeing due to his heart medication: a diuretic which causes humans and pets alike to pee…a LOT. Everytime these bad diagnoses or advice happened, I paid the price.
For a long time, I saw the price I was paying to keep my dog alive, and I was sacrificing my body and time as a result. One bad thing about most Vets in the US is their tendencies to have a moral stance on pet ownership. They send a moralistic vibe of “if you’re a dog owner, you should be financially solvent enough to pay for ALL of his or her needs”. But let’s get real, even some of the most median-wealthy families in America can’t afford for ALL of their pets needs. And not to mention, there are a lot more pets vs humans per capita, that being in a loving home is more than enough for their needs. There is a huge problem with kill shelters, and over crowded no-kill shelters. The moralistic stance that most Vets take causes owners to pay any price associated with keeping their furry family members alive.
For a long time, I wanted to bypass the system by buying medications off shore…That way I would not be paying the “co-pay” of each visit JUST to fill a prescription that my dog needs. But I was so entrenched in the system that I couldn’t bear the thought of losing my best friend and furry-family member due to my negligence. Every time I brought up the issue of buying heart worm medication off shore, my vets would tell me “you can do that, but since you won’t be buying it from us, if your dog does get heartworm, he would not be able to have the insurance associated with purchasing heartworm medication in the US. Not to mention that sometimes pets that use these off shore brands sometimes get complications”. I’ve been to nearly 20 different veterinary practices in my life, and they ALL say the same thing. I am willing to bet that 80% of the time these vets are bullshitting. Or they are telling the truth, but still employ fear-mongering techniques because of their ideologies.
For a long time, nearly all of my dog’s lifetime, I paid the price for regulated pet healthcare and it drained my bank account, my soul, and my actual health. I spent more of my time on my pet’s health than I did my own. And most of that was due to the ancillary costs associated with keeping my dog alive. A bulk of that was due to mis-diagnoses or faulty advice – for example paying $700 for an operation on my dog just to find that the “tumor-esque” sample ended up just being a benign cyst. I iterated to the doctor that I felt like having an operation on an old dog with heart problems was irresponsible and that I was angry at her. She always ignored me from that point on, especially with a bad yelp review.
That isn’t the whole picture. To paint a picture of the whole scope of the status quo of veterinary care, and to do it justice, I will also say that a lot of vets get it right. They’ve been doing it so long that they know how to prescribe just the right amount of medication for pets. When I deviated from their suggestions and did half the dose, my pet suffered from it because he wasn’t getting the full benefit of the dosage. As a veteran pet owner, I am able to see the signs and communicational methods of my dog, and I knew that when I half-dosed my doctor’s orders, my pet had longer term damage than if I had just stuck to the script. However, I knew I needed to find a way to triumph over the current damaging system of veterinary health care because I knew that if I had more money in my wallet, I can better care for my dog with his core needs.
After using the web for my own health needs, and finding it beneficial in my own life financially and healthily, I decided that enough was enough. I decided to trust in the deep web network of positive reviews in off shore pet medicine, and I took a dive. I decided not to opt into the traditional veterinary system of paying extra fees for a “mandatory” yearly check, to see whether my dog was positive for heartworm, before even being able to buy heartworm medicine (after nearly 2 decades of this, he never tested positive even when he was off medicine). Instead, I decided to find an offshore pet medicine company and buy heartworm medicine from countries that did not require prescription.
I searched the best off shore generic brands, and I found the best reviewed most inexpensive merchant, and I ordered. Within a week my product arrived and I was really pleased with the results. I purchased 3 months of heartworm medicine for $45 that included shipping, and it arrived quickly. I chose Advocate Multi-Advantage instead of the usual Revolution (or better known as Stronghold in other countries) because of the price. As a result, it did not have the same scent as Revolution, but I found it more pleasing and non-invasive. Revolution tends to have a strong smell, but Advocate had a less “mediciny” smell. I don’t know whether that has to do with efficacy or not, but either way I was pleased that it came in time, and I was pleased at the positive reviews of this product. The other difference was that Revolution or Stronghold uses Selamectin as its main ingredient for heartworm and parasite protection whereas Advocate uses Moxidectin. Both should incorporate the same results, but I will be testing the offshore version of Revolution at a later date to test it.
In any case, veterinary health care in the US and many heavily-regulated countries, is fearmongering and debilitating. It causes an us vs them mentality that creates friction between pet owners and veterinary health professionals. It also causes friction between ex-veterinary caregivers that went holistic vs the status quo current-veterinary caregivers. There are pages of articles where ex-veterinary doctors lambast the current system as fearmongering and devastating to pets, for example when many preventative shots like Bordatella are one-sized-fits-all shots that can create longterm health defects. In any case, being able to save money on ancillary costs by going offshore and deep should be the norm for most people. Break out of that cycle and save your money to save your dog on his or her core needs.
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