Cataract surgery costs for dogs can be upwards of $3500 to $4500, depending on the veterinarian hospital. If your dog has any underlying disease or complications, the surgery could cost more. Keep reading to for tips on how to get a better price.
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It’s frustrating and stressful to hit a financial wall when all you want to do is look after your dog the best way possible. One of the best ways to offset veterinarian costs is to have pet insurance. Of course, that’s not much help to you right now if you don’t already have it.
I’ve written this post to try and help you find little ways to best afford cataract surgery for dogs. In addition to explaining what cataracts are, how they are treated, and what you’ll need to do for home-care, I also share a few tips on how to get the best price possible.
What is Included in the Cost of Cataract Surgery for Dogs?
This includes all of the things the veterinarian must do to determine the extent of the problem and whether there are any underlying conditions that could be contributing to the problem.
Diagnostic tests include using a tonometer to measure pressure in the eye.
When the veterinarian does this, he/she is actually checking to see if the dog is developing glaucoma. Glaucoma is a condition where pressure builds in the eye. A dog can have glaucoma and cataracts at the same time.
Other tests might include blood tests to see if your dog has developed diabetes or some other illness contributing to vision problems.
Cataract surgery for dogs involves the use of general anesthesia, which contributes greatly to the overall cost. Unfortunately, you really can’t get around this. The best you could do would be to phone around and find the best price in order to save a bit of money.
Even if your dog can go home right after surgery, you will still have to pay for the time he/she spent under professional care.
You’re not only helping to pay the salary of the surgeon, you’re also going to be covering a portion of what it takes to run an animal hospital. Lights, sterilization, cleaning, monitoring the patient, maintaining the files, and all of the administrative costs are included in the overall cost of cataract surgery for dogs.
Disposable supplies like syringes, needles, and gloves are also factored into the final veterinarian bill.
Post-operative medication, including eye drops and antibiotics, are pretty standard after cataract surgery for dogs. Of course, they’re not free. It’s possible to ask for eye drop samples to help save money. The veterinarian may even have antibiotic samples or even generic brands to help you save on overall costs.
Have a look at this post on The Simple Dollar to get an idea of pet ownership costs overall.
If you are fortunate enough to live in an area with multiple animal hospitals, you can probably shop around for a better deal. I suspect the price won’t fluctuate drastically, but it might be possible to save a little bit.
Although, even with competitive options, I recommend staying with the veterinarian who knows the dog’s health history and has the records. Some veterinarians might not even perform the surgery unless they’ve seen the dog previously.
The following are a few ways you can save money on cataract surgery for dogs.
What About the Cost of a Dog Cataract Surgeon?
The cost of a dog opthamologist/surgeon is typically higher than that of a general licensed veterinarian. When it comes to your dog’s vision and quality of life, it’s often the best choice. Then again, your regular veterinarian might be able to fix the problem.
Diseases other than cataracts in dogs include sudden acquired retinal degenerative syndrome (SARDS), complications from diabetes, corneal ulcers, dry eye, glaucoma, blepharitis, conjunctivitis, infections, uveitis, retinal detachment, cherry eye, and cysts.
1. Pet Insurance
There are 10 top pet insurance companies in the United States including:
AKC Pet Healthcare
ASPCA Pet Health Insurance
Like any insurance company, premiums typically rise the older the dog is when you sign up. The greater the chance of health issues, the more it’s going to cost.
However, if you can still get on a pet insurance plan, it will still be cheaper than paying for the full amount of surgery.
Insurance plans like Trupanion cover the costs of hereditary conditions like elbow & hip dysplasia, diabetes, upper respiratory tract infections, and thyroid disease, and treatment for dog tumors.
In addition, Trupanion also covers congenital conditions your dog may have been born with. That includes heart disease, nervous system conditions, and cataracts. Check to see if your dog’s health plan covers dental as well.
The list above isn’t exhaustive and there are more ways to secure money than from insurance companies. For example, www.lendedu.com offers loan options to free up emergency funds.
Does My Dog Qualify for Pet Insurance?
Whether your dog qualifies for pet insurance depends on your dog’s age, your dog’s current health, and whether your dog has, or is at greater risk of, chronic health problems (breed specific).
2. Shop Around!
Ask friends or family for referrals to alternate veterinarian clinics/hospital to see if you can get a reduced rate.
A rough guide on insurance deductibles might look something like this: $4700 for surgery minus a 10% deductible. You would pay $470. Health insurance would cover the remaining balance of $4320
Again, that’s just a general formula that might not apply to all insurance companies. It’s best to get quotes and study the health plan for details on what is, and isn’t covered.
3. Wellness Plans and/or Care Credit
Ask Whether the Practice Offers a Wellness Plan or Care Credit.
The cost of cataract surgery for dogs varies widely from practice to practice. Shop around for the best price, and ask about payment assistance through a wellness or Care Credit plan.
I’ve spoken to many dog owners who swear by the Care Credit plan. From what I understand, they are able to pay the bill off within 6 months before being charged interest. For more detailed information, CLICK HERE: Care Credit
There’s no national standard for wellness plans, and not all veterinarian clinics offer them.
Finding a clinic that does offer the service helps to cover at least a portion of the costs.
Watch the following video by Dr. Jones, DVM, who talks about the signs and symptoms of cataracts in dogs.
Unfortunately, there is no Medicare coverage for pets. However, there are lots of options out there for pet insurance. The important thing is to find one with a reasonable deductible.
What are Cataracts?
Cataracts in dogs are no different from cataracts in humans. This condition occurs naturally with age and involves a clouding of the lens. Cataracts are not painful, but they do affect vision.
If your dog has cataracts, he may not be as active as once was, will appear clumsy, and his eye/eyes might appear red or irritated. Since he can’t see very well, your dog might end up rubbing or pawing at his eye.
They usually develop in stages, from immature cataract that causes blurred vision to mature cataracts where the eyes look cloudy and the visions is seriously impaired.
There is also a third more severe case called hyper mature cataract where the lens starts to shrivel.
Dog Breeds Prone to Cataracts Include:
Cataracts are typically genetic; however, there are also certain conditions that increase the risk, including advanced age, diabetes mellitus (chances are as high as 75%), low calcium levels, and uveitis which is an inflammation of the eye.
Signs & Symptoms of Cataracts
The easiest way to tell is by a cloudy or grayish film located just behind the retina.
However, there are other ways of spotting cataracts such as if there is inflammation in the eye sockets, chronic eye redness, or whether one eye is bulging compared to the other.
You may also notice your dog pawing at the eyes and sometimes, you may even notice that they are not seeing very well. These are all signs that could suggest canine cataracts.
Your dog might not be able to locate his toys as easily as before, or might start bumping into furniture. These are all signs of a vision problem.
How to Treat Canine Cataracts
Once you notice that your dog is displaying the symptoms above, the best course of action is to take them to the vet. The vet will want to know about the medical history of your dog so be sure to provide them with any previous medical records.
The vet will also proceed to conduct a physical examination. The dog may get a blood test as well as a urine analysis. This will help to determine if there are any underlying conditions that may lead to the development of canine cataracts such as diabetes.
In such an instance, the dog will be put under the right medication.
There will also be a physical analysis of the eyes. There is a high chance that you will be directed to a veterinary ophthalmologist who is better suited to handle issues relating to vision. Cataracts in dogs have a tendency to develop at a rapid rate.
What Does Cataract Surgery Involve?
Cataract surgery for dogs involves administering general anesthesia. The surgeon inserts a slit in the eye and a small tool is used to slide the lens out. A replacement lens is inserted and your dog’s vision is as good as new.
Cataract surgery for dogs is quick and painless and almost always results in a positive outcome. Yes, it’s expensive, but hopefully you can find a cheaper route through one of the methods above.
Regardless of the cost, it is a worthwhile option to improve your dog’s quality of life.
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