Dental Decisions - Help Pls!

himawari

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I have been waiting for this month since last year when I didn't know about it and missed it. I got an estimation from my vet and have saved up enough money for the highest estimation. But I called them today to confirm about said estimation, and they sent me a new one. That was about $600 more (in the highest total) than I was previously given. Costs apparently went up. I could swing that -- provided that I be in an even more of a debt, I eat ramen for the entire 2018, borrow money from family/friends, and begin feeding him cheap canned food with kibble.

He isn't in pain or anything so it isn't exactly dire. But he is getting old (becoming 8 in June), and I worry about the anesthesia effects in senior cats. I know dental cleaning is important because if it's important to humans then why shouldn't it be for cats? It's just that I was planning on becoming debt-free (while still maintaining his regular diet/lifestyle) by September and doing a dental cleaning would mean I won't be until the end of 2019.

I can't help but wonder if it will be worth it. Or maybe I should push it back until next year (but he'd be almost 9). I want to do what's best for him because I want him to live longer than my age when I adopted him.
 

jen

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IMO a dental is always worth it, spending money on one now will save his teeth and save you from even more expensive dentals down the road. Do they determine his teeth are bad? I can see prices changing but to go up $600 for a routine dental cleaning? That seems extremely excessive to me. Unless they are factoring in extractions. Do you have an itemized quote or just the number?
 

CaliCatCharlie

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I agree with jen jen above getting a cleaner sooner than later is best.

Charlie is going on Friday for his first full dental. Make sure they are not factoring in extractions and meds to go w/ that. I got an estimate that is a range from $600-$900. Only if they pull something will it be more than $600. The extra $300 covers 2 extraction and meds.

Maybe just a quick call. The desk staff might know more about estimates.

Good luck with your kitty’s cleaning!
 

FakeGourmet

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Unfortunately, you have to be prepared. I had my cat's teeth done in December knowing that one tooth for sure would be pulled. Between the original estimate of about $800 and the complications, it has cost over $1,400. I am seriously considering going to my sister's vet, 50 miles away, to have the other cat done. I can't afford that kind of cost either (I'm on disability). Rural vets charge much less but at least she is a cat/dog vet with many years of experience.
 

1 bruce 1

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<--- remembering when a routine dental was $50 or so.
Feeling old...:bawling:

JMO but almost $1500 for a dental on a pet cat is insane unless the teeth were crowned in gold and extractions were replaced with chunks of the Hope Diamond.
It's frustrating because it's becoming financially impossible for average non-rich people to own pets.
 

lalagimp

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Tommy and Yue had no indications of needing teeth pulled, so I got them each a $199 Groupon to a good clinic in DC for their first cleanings at age 8 under general anesthetic.
Amalie has FORLS. She HAS to have x rays and an estimate for extractions, and she's 11 or 12 maybe. Her estimate is $600-1000 which would cover 2 extractions.
I hate it but that's the price of where we moved. I think extractions here are $80 and back in Phoenix they were $35, and there are other price differences, which both hospitals provide pain meds, nerve blocks, monitoring, anesthesia, antibiotics. My old hospital also gave discounts for February for Dental Health Month.
 

Sagwah

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I also agree a dental is so very worth it. Maybe ask if your vet has a month or two when they run specials, and schedule for then. My vet does two months a year when she does discount dentals (for all clients) and shock, she's booked like mad then.

My Gypsy Rose has very few teeth left (her adult teeth were too large for her jaw) and when I had her dental done that extracted most of them, after the drugs wore off and the pain left, she was a happier kitty than I had seen her be in years. Amusingly she still eats kibble (her choice, not mine) and the same things she was eating pre-extraction. Even popcorn. (One of her favourites. Silly girl)
 

FakeGourmet

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It's frustrating because it's becoming financially impossible for average non-rich people to own pets.
Well, I'll tell you, having 5 cats is not ideal under any means, but that was not my decision. You just have to plan ahead, which I did. I put $200 a year into a kitty fund for unexpected costs, but it just doesn't cover multiple surgeries. My suggestion to the OP is to talk to the vet. If the cost is over the estimate, what can you work out? Can you pay some every month?
 

Sagwah

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Gypsy's dental was one of those $1500ish ones. I'd planned ahead for it, and booked when my vet had a special, to get the cost down as much as reasonably possible. The thing was, since it was an almost total extraction, it was pretty much a one off deal. She pretty much won't need another dental - ever, because you need teeth to have dental work done. When one of her remaining ten (or so) teeth got bad looking, yes, she did go in and get that dealt with.

So a $1500 dental might end up just like Gypsy Rose - a one shot in the life of the cat deal. Her only other dental since then was pretty cheap.
 

abby2932

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It really just depends on how bad his teeth are. If it gets to a bad point, the infection in his teeth gets into the bloodstream via the gums and can travel to the heart, kidneys and other organs. That's why it's so important for a cat to have a healthy mouth.

If the vet says there are no rotting teeth or periodontal disease, then he probably just wants to do a cleaning as a preventative measure. If that's the case, you should be fine waiting a couple of months. Definitely get it done sooner rather than later or you'll be paying much, much more if you end up with an ill kitty when it could have been prevented.

Last year, Kali (6yo) needed a dental and it was $370 total, with no extractions. Then I got Malibu's (11yo) bill and his was $791 with 2 extractions. Just numbers for reference.
 

1 bruce 1

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Well, I'll tell you, having 5 cats is not ideal under any means, but that was not my decision. You just have to plan ahead, which I did. I put $200 a year into a kitty fund for unexpected costs, but it just doesn't cover multiple surgeries. My suggestion to the OP is to talk to the vet. If the cost is over the estimate, what can you work out? Can you pay some every month?
Same here. We have more than 5 plus a ton of doggers and sometimes emergencies set us back. We go without a lot for them. They're MORE than worth it, and I feel my vets deserve every penny for what they offer (24 hour care, emergencies, the highest tech diagnostic stuff, etc.) but I sometimes feel that frustration of financial struggle when emergencies happen...even though we have an emergency fund strictly for pets, it can be wiped out with one single emergency.
I've known too many folks that can't afford emergency or needed vet care for a pet so they surrender because people pressure them. It's heartbreaking for all and there's no real perfect answer =(

Some vets and corporations offer funds or payment plans. It still can sound scary if you're wondering how you'll pay it back, but it's always worth seeing if it can be budgeted for.
 

Midnight_Echo

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I agree that dental care is a necessity. When my other cat (Shadow) was 17, had his teeth done. Luckily he had no issues but he was cranky as heck for a few days later. But since the cleaning, he seemed to enjoy his food more....

Midnight ~ vet was concerned that she had an abcessed tooth. But due to her cardiomyopathy, they were hesitant. Since I didn’t have enough to get her cleared by her cardiologist...asked the regular vet to do the workup himself (way cheaper). I made him promise that if anything was abnormal (pre surgery related) - that he wouldn’t do the procedure. Luckily the labs were fine and her heart was ok. Sadly doc got more than he bargained for....while attached to the breathing tube, something caught his eye — two masses on the tongue (medium sized tic taks). Was able to get them off and sent out for a biopsy (thought it was cancer, but the lab said it was an allergic reaction). Anyway...regarding the dental procedure ~ doc was surprised. No issues with her teeth, what he thought was an abscess turned out to be excess tartar. Vet said to offer dry food more than wet ~ said dry food prevents tartar build up. I also keep greenies (dental treats) on hand. So far so good, it does seem to help.

Cost wise ~ are you eligible for Care Credit? Not ideal in some ways (high interest rate) but they do offer promotions (ex: $600.00 bill, pay it off during the promotional period = won’t have to worry about paying interest). Talk to your vet, see if you can work out a deal of some sort/payment plan. Doesn’t always work, but no harm in asking.
 

epona

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OK for start, 8 isn't old. It's middle aged. As a middle aged human, I object to a middle aged cat being called old :D :D

Secondly, dental health and gum health is really important, not just for the teeth - but because if a cat (or any animal!) has dental and gum issues, it stresses the immune system (due to having to fight bacteria in the mouth all the time) and can cause issues in the organs - such as kidney problems or heart problems.

So it is very important to get dental problems treated.
 

Furballsmom

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8 isn't old. It's middle aged. As a middle aged human, I object to a middle aged cat being called old :D :D
hear hear - It's what the Big Guy (13) has been saying all along LOL
And, epona's comments and everyone's are very accurate.
 

leechi

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Does the vet think teeth need to be pulled? If not, and it’s just a cleaning, there are other things you can try first. You can see if your cat will eat chunks of raw meat, such as chicken gizzards, hearts, and especially necks. There’s also a seaweed supplement called plaque off, which I’ve seen do wonders for a family member’s dogs.
 

neely

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My old hospital also gave discounts for February for Dental Health Month.
Same here, our vet offers a discount during February. In addition, they offer a financial discount to seniors, (people not cats), two days p/week. I'm not asking your age but just thought I'd mention it.

Out of curiosity, what did your vet say at your cat's last exam? Is the vet recommending a dental because of something they saw, e.g. a particular area of concern? If so, then I agree a dental with x-rays is imperative. Just because the cat is not showing any pain to you doesn't mean he doesn't have plaque, FORL, etc. Cats instinctively hide their pain as a survival strategy and you wouldn't know it until there was a more severe problem.

As Midnight_Echo Midnight_Echo suggested, Care Credit is another option to help you pay your bill(s). If you have a good relationship with your vet then talk to them and explain your situation. Ask them what they feel is the best preventative dental treatment for your kitty. Best of luck, please keep us posted with an update. :alright:
 

maggiedemi

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I wanted to try those Plaque Off treats, but was worried about the Iodine/Thyroid thing.
 

leechi

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I didn’t know they made treats. I just looked them up, and unfortunately they’re made with potato starch, not something I’d give a cat with tooth problems. You can just get the powder and mix it into wet food.

The iodine is a concern, but maybe the op could just use it in conjunction with meat pieces for chewing until things are under control, then just the meat. Or cycle on/off of it as needed.

himawari I recommend you read the reviews for the plaque off
ProDen PlaqueOff Powder Dog & Cat Supplement
 
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himawari

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Thank you so much for all of your replies, everyone!

When I adopted my cat, he already had a little bit of tartar/plaque build up which was why my vet suggested a dental cleaning (even more so since I'm not sure if his teeth was well taken care of prior to his abandonment). So far, no teeth extractions that my vet saw is required but she said she doesn't know for sure & will only be certain once he's under. Currently my vet does not do any payment plans, and no vets near me (within a 10 mile radius) does. The quote she gave me is itemized. As for specials, it is only this month and nothing else in the future. And I only said he is old because my vet says the older the cats, the more problems might arise with anesthesia...right?

Sadly, I had a family emergency which means money is a little too tight (so much so that he won't be in his raw diet any longer and will be in kibble & sometimes canned :( ). I did speak about this with a few of my close friends, and they all mentioned that dental cleaning is one of the ways vet "extort" money from you which is why all vets recommend it... and I'm not really sure what to think of that.

leechi leechi Thanks for that suggestion. I'll probably end up buying it after a few more review reading.
 
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