$1725 for a dental! - what do you pay?

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the_food_lady

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I didn't mean to offend anyone with the 'dim-witted vet tech' comment. I definitely not that not all are dim, I've just had some bad experiences over the years:

-finding out that the tech was using the totally wrong sized blood pressure cuff on my CRF cat, for months (and he also had a very rare condition of adrenal glands that caused his blood pressure to be super higher, higher than just with CRF) until one day she brought the portable monitor into the exam room. The cuff size was wayyyyyyyyyyyy too large (wide) for the diameter of a cat's leg. With my cat, she had specially compounded liquid Amlodipine that I gave to her based on her weekly blood pressure readings........so for months I'd been incorrectly dosing based on incorrect BP readings. I had to show her, as it is with humans, how you determine the correct cuff size based on diameter.

-had one tech take one of my cat's temp w/ a tympanic thermometer; temp was 40.2. She didn't even question it. It wasn't until the end of the appointment where I saw the cat's vitals written in the chart and I questioned it........this is darn high. She didn't seem to have a clue. I had to request that she redo it, then take it rectally.

-i've had them weigh my cat, only to find the weight was grossly higher or lower than the previous time my cat was in and weighed. It shouldn't just be me, the owner, who compares the new weight to the last one done. They have the chart right there, with the vitals sheet that shows the date last weight / heart rate / temp / resps were done. In this case, the scale was way out to lunch and had to be recalibrated. I wonder how many other owners' pets had false weights.t

-I almost got into an argument once when I had asked the Tech giving my cat's vaccinations to NOT give them (particularly Rabies, and it was not Purevax) in the scruff. She disputed VAS totally, told me that the scruff area was the only place to give vaccinations, etc. She was adamant. I got into discussion with one once who assured me that Metacam liquid was perfectly safe for a senior cat who had CRF, after all, she gave it to her OWN senior cat.

-when I had my diabetic cat, and my CRF cat, I found out quickly that there was no point in talking to them about these conditions because when I would start rattling things off, they'd just look at me blankly. When I'd tell them what my diabetic cat's blood glucose had been running (I did home testing faithfully), they truly had no idea whether the numbers I was giving were good or not, no clue.

In all honesty, I've found owners on cat forums such as these to have way more knowledge about feline disease processes, anatomy/physiology, medications, lab tests. I dunno?

-I've always considered Vet Techs to be like an animal "RN". I know with us human RNs, we know more than just basic skills. We have extensive training with respect to body systems, anatomy/physiology, pharmacology, lab tests (what each test is for, normal ranges, what decreases and increases can indicate, etc). As an RN and cat owner of many years, I have always been sadly perplexed by the lack of knowledge the Techs around here (Canada) have. Don't ever ask them a question about pet meds, usual side effects, lab results, diseases processes, etc. When I have, they just look at me strangely, they have no clue what I'm talking about. I encountered one once who didn't even really know what a urine culture/sensitivity was; what it was done for, etc. Perhaps the training here in this part of Canada is to blame, I suspect it must be.

So based on the above, it scared the crap out of me to envision a tech doing something as invasive as dental extractions WHILE monitoring the Iso and vitals at the same time. Also, if you want to use the analogy of a human dentist and a vet (the doctor), it seemed scary to me that the vet tech (akin to a human RN) would be doing extractions/monitoring and managing general anesthetic; you certainly wouldn't find a dental assistant (human) doing this; it would only be the dentist who did the extraction and if a general was used, an anesthesiologist or anesthesia tech. Back in my earlier years of having cats, it was only my old Vet who did the extractions so I didn't know that things had changed.

It sounds like the Vet Techs in the U.S. are much more highly trained and knowledgable. here it seems they know how to do basic procedures; take a temp, draw blood, do a weight...........but when it comes down to animal health, understanding common feline conditions (CRF, diabetes, hyperthyroiidism, fatty liver), being able to talk about lab results, medications, etc........they just don't have that training or education.

If I can't trust a tech to question my cat's very high temp, recheck it........or notice a very huge change in my cat's weight over a period of 6 months, or know the correct size bp cuff to use on their dynamap, yes - it does scare me that this same person is extracting my cat's teeth while monitoring him/her under anesthetic, all at the same time.
 

otto

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I can understand your concern after reading your ^ post. Is there another clinic you can bring Cleo to, for both a second opinion and to discuss your concerns about the procedures?

I know a vet tech who does routine dentals, and loves doing them, though I don't know if she does the extractions or not, I'll ask her about that next time I talk with her.

Because of Tolly's special needs (and Ootay's also when she was still on this side of the Bridge) my vet always does/did the dental work herself. My vet uses Sevorflourane gas anesthesia, it does not require a preanesthetic injection as it is fact acting.

Tolly had to have four extractions the last time he presented with FORL, my vet did do xrays at my insistence, he was on a drip, received antibiotics and pain meds, the entire cost was $407, that did not include the bloodwork, as he gets routine blood work regularly and had just had it done a week before. Full Blood work (sent out to lab) is currently $100. This was 2 years ago.

The x rays were not that expensive in the whole scheme of things, $43 for two. The extractions were the most costly item at $50 each.

Please do keep us updated on what is happening with Cleo.
 

ralphjolly

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I have a 5yr old male with bad teeth. He just had a clean and four extractions, two of which were canines. The extractions cost $179, and the balance was for cleaning and drugs.
I used the VCA and was happy with their work.
 

missmyra

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Originally Posted by the_food_lady

Not many months ago I had major dental surgery; the extraction of a cracked molar by a dental surgery, under general anesthetic. He accidentally perforated my maxillary sinus and had to do extra to repair that. The total charge was $1200. I had to pay out of pocket because my benefits at the time didn't cover dental surgery.
I am in the U.S. - I was under the impression that Canada had national healthcare, does this not include dental? Sorry for being a bit off topic... --MissMyra
 

whuckleberry

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Wally is getting a dental cleaning in a few weeks. The minimum it will be is $450. Some of that charge is for pre-op bloodwork, which they require because he is a senior. He has one really bad-looking tooth,which if they pull it, will add another $100-$150 to the bill (including antibiotics, pain med,etc.). So I'm looking at possibly $600 or so.
 

canaws

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I just paid $734 (US) for a cleaning and two extractions (after a $100 discount). She had some tartar, gingivitis, and extra teeth. They cleaned her up and took out the extra teeth.

They gave me a breakdown, it included*....
Preanesthetic bloodwork - 72
IV & fluids - 96 total
Anesthesia (isoflurane) - 187
supplemental anesthesia (they charge by how long they use it) - 77
cleaning (scaling/polishing) - 110
antibiotic injection (clindamycin) - 33
dental x-rays (2) - 71
extractions (2 of these, but they charge by how long it takes) - 134
liquid pain medicine (buprenex) - 30
day hospitalization (she was there from 8:30am-4:30pm) -25

I hate that I had to pay that much. I thought about looking into other places, but I decided that I didn't want to trust a random place with my cat. It's surgery, you know. I tried two other vets in my area when I moved here and I like the place I'm at the best.

*numbers are rounded to nearest dollar
 

rarepuss

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Marshmallow already had 2 dental cleanings... they both ran about $550 each. with blood tests, etc. no extractions. He's now on a diet where I'm trying to cut the wet food down to 3oz a day and feed more dry.. specifically Royal Canin 30 - oral sensitive, which has worked really well for me. the kibble is large-shaped, very similar to Greenies. Marsh loves to eat it like treats.. a big plus.

 
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the_food_lady

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Well despite me having decided I would opt out of having (4) dental xrays done (which would have put cost at $1725 CDN), the dental was done Thursday. The Vet did the extractions. Turns out he ended up doing 6 extractions instead of 4 (but apparently only charged me for 4). He ended up doing 5 xrays but at no cost to me, claiming he just ethically couldn't extract teeth without seeing below the gumline; plus he wanted to show me the xrays afterward to "show me" the things he saw that he wouldn't have been able to see without them, to show me how important xrays are (of course I know they are but unfortunately I'm not a millionaire and $1700 for a dental is more than most would dream of paying).

So, despite not charging me for the 2 additional extractions or the xrays, it still came to $1579.00 including tax. (CDN).

Cleo did really well, particularly for an old girl. By that evening she was eating canned food. Has been eating normally ever since. He told me to feed her only dry for 2 weeks but it's not possible or practical to take away all the dry food that's out (I have 4 other cats, 2 who eat mostly dry). She's been eating dry without any problems.

My other older girl Spookie needs a dental but I will have to save up for it. He made it very clear that when I do her, he'll almost refuse to do it unless I agree to 5 dental xrays (that should cover the whole mouth). So I guess I gotta save up a freaking $2000 for a cat's dental. That is absolutely extortion, if you ask me.

Here is a breakdown of the charges for Cleo, for her dental:

-preanesthetic bloodwork: $161.00
-predental Convenia injection: $76.66
-predental consult: $76.00
-charting, ultrasound scale, prophy Med Inj: $485.00
-anesthetic (Iso): $244.00
-extraction: $364.00
-dental local block: $49.00
-gum sutures: $37.50

As a "courtesy", they didn't charge me for the IV/fluids
 

katkisses

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Holy crap!!!!

No wonder several people on here "can only afford one cat!"

My mothers cat got a dental 3-4 yrs ago and it was $95, no extractions though. I bet the price is a little more now, but I doubt it is over $120. Wow.

I hope your kitty recovers soon.
 

fivecorners

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I recently got an estimate for Sally's dental work here in the far western suburbs of Chicago. About $400 for basic cleaning and up to about $600 if extractions are needed. This does not include any preliminary lab work or post-operative meds (antibiotics, pain, etc.).
Right now, we're waiting for the methimazole to bring down her hyperthyroidism so that there's less risk with anesthesia.
A lot of money for a 15-year-old cat.
 

slave2_ragdolls

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WOW..........Some of these teeth prices are very scary. I paid $250 for 8 teeth pulled and cleaned for a rescued cat that I took in last July. The bill was $450.00 before my vet gave me a break do to an unemployment discount. I thought that was high in price at the time ........My god............you ladies make me sound like I got a discount....... NO BLOOD WORK was performed on Simon
 
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the_food_lady

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Cleo recovered from her dental amazingly well. Hard to believe she's 15! I kept her in my spare bedroom that first night, just so she had peace and quiet and I could monitor her better. She ate a good bit of canned food about 2 hours after I got her home. And she's eaten really well ever since. the Vet told me to keep her off of dry food for 2 weeks but with 4 other cats and (2 of those who prefer dry to canned), that wasn't possible. She was eating dry the next day. I figured if it bothered her she'd avoid it. I've never had a cat who had that many extractions (6), the most was 3. She's recovered the quickest and she's been the oldest of those ones. Amazing too that her bloodwork was so great.........everything within normal limits, everything. Even kidney function (BUN and creat). We're pretty lucky.
 
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