Pet Health Problems
* Notes Links not working at last update
Finding that this was a reason pets are surrendered was a surprise to me, but there it is. It's #7 on the NCPPSP list. But, thinking about it, and reading about problems on the internet, and having once had to consider euthanizing a pet because of financial cost (no, turns out I didn't have to), I can see how people might not realize the options available.
For instance, there are two types of mange, both can be treated. It is sometimes a symptom of a weakened immune system for whatever reason. A visit to the vet and special baths is all that's usually needed to control the mites that cause it (though some dogs might need to be isolated). With the new products now available, fleas are no longer the problem they were even 5 years ago. For instance, my husband's dog who died 5 years ago suffered terribly from flea allergies, though we sprayed, dusted, and went nuts trying to help him, the poor boy itched most of is life. My Leilah has hardly ever had a flea on her at all in the 3 years I've had her. Deafness and blindness, and even the amputation of a leg are not such horrible problems to live with - with a little training and understanding, very often such dogs have absolutely wonderful lives.
For more serious problems, a little dedication and sometimes sacrifice is required to pull them through. Yes, sometimes it's expensive, and you must consider that too. The decisions involved to determine how you can afford to save a pet's life when you truly can't afford it is agonizing. With some diseases, the financial cost is enormous and truly unaffordable for some. While there is some financial aid available, I doubt it's available for everyone. You must be very, very honest in evaluating the cost and burden of saving this life, or making it livable. Do you really need that new car? New TV? New dress? etc.???. Is it truly worth the price of the life of a living breathing creature who loves you, and often lives just for you? (Yes, I've seen where people say they can't afford the vet bill, then put their curable dog down, then go on an expensive trip!) If you are seriously backed into a financial corner, you can cut the pet's losses in these cases by putting them down when their quality of life deteriorates too far. But, there are ways of saving money on medicines. Mail order drugs, even prescription drugs, and of course generics are often a big money saver. Veterinary schools, being teaching institutions, often have state of the art treatments at a savings. Look into studies being done for your pet's particular problem, maybe he can be treated for the problem that way (or at least help others learn about it). Home nursing after being instructed by your vet on what to do can save big bucks too! My vet was a wonderful source of info in cutting safe corners to save money to save my pet, like not buying sterile bandages if you don't need them, etc...You can even give your own vaccines and other shots after being taught how by your vet.
Prevention of course is the best way to go. Elevated and careful feeding to prevent bloat in large dogs for instance. Careful vaccinating, good, and sometimes special diets, and regular vet checkups will go a long way towards keeping your pet healthy. Even training your dog can help. For instance, I trained Leilah to assume the position necessary for hip x-rays, and therefore she needs no anesthesia for them (good for both her health, and my wallet). Having a good relationship with your vet if at all possible goes a long way towards getting questions answered on the phone. Get some blood work done (especially on older pets) to catch early indicators of possible problems. On the internet you can get basic answers to some questions, and best of all, hope.
For the pet with health problems, it is very hard to find an appropriate home. They are often considered "unadoptable" by shelters. If you truly can not keep the pet, and you have made a sincere effort to find one of those rare appropriate homes for him, then please consider euthanasia instead of taking the pet to a shelter. Please read: Surrendering your Pet to a Shelter vs. Euthanasia