Tuesday, 20 April 2010

The cost of living and dying

I've just been sent a clipping from the Daily Mirror about some Staffie owners whose dog experienced difficulties while giving birth. They took her to the vets and were shocked to find the bill for a Caesarian would be at least £1,240. They were given an ultimatum, pay £1,200 in the next 24 hours or have the mother and pups put to sleep. The bitch couldn't be moved, so there was no chance of shopping around - although I have to say that doesn't sound an expensive C-section to me.
They paid £90 for the mum and unborn pups to be put to sleep.
They had their dog's mother at home, too - so presumably they'd bred their current dog themselves so this wasn't the first litter they'd bred. They weren't complete novices.
The headline and the tone of the article instantly makes you think the vet's been a bit harsh, but unlike a car accident or a sudden diagnosis of a serious unforeseen illness, if you allow your dog to get pregnant you know there is a risk to the mum.
Why should the vet pick up your bill?
And why were these people breeding yet another litter of Staffies? Is there a world-wide shortage of them suddenly? Aren't the rescue kennels already completely over-flowing?
Was it to make money?
If you breed for money there are definite costs you should be off-setting against your profits. What would a litter of Staffie pups fetch, if you were able to sell them of course in a very over-crowded market? Around the cost of the C-section perhaps?
If you plan to breed a litter you must always be ready for the possibility of a C-section or another medical emergency in your budgeting. And if you can't cover the emergency vet's bill - in my opinion you really shouldn't be breeding. There is after all no NHS for dogs.
Please support the introduction of a Universal Puppy Contract which will hopefully dissuade people on the breadline from finding having litter-after-litter of pups attractive financially.
Very sad for the mum and pups, but logically, should they have ever been conceived?


kate price said...

I doubt that all the real facts are included in the paper. An alternative version that was heard on the radio yesterday was that the bitch was in a terrible mess for 2 days, internal organ damage, and pups nearly dead.
In that state it would surely be neglectful of the vets to allow the bitch to be moved anywhere?
I feel for the dog and the owners, but WHY BREED if you cannot afford the veterinary care including the chances of an emergency?

cambstreasurer said...

I'm afraid this (or something similar) happens an awful lot - at one point I was averaging 2-3 calls begging for help every month from people who just had no idea how much a caesarian would cost.

The trouble is that if the vet reduces the fee, gets charity help with costs or allows a payment plan that isn't adhered to there are effectively no consequences for the owners.

Mostly I don't think these are "puppy farmers" (God knows what happens to those bitches if they get in trouble), but owners who genuinely do love their animals but have been brought up to think it's always someone else's job to sort out their problems.

Don't get me started on the subject of owners with no money and a bitch with pyometria.

Anonymous said...

People like these owners/ byb's should maybe have been featured in a certain programme

kate price said...

They were in an indirect way.
Wonderlands "seven pups for seven people"

Anonymous said...

The 'newspaper' comments attached to this article spend more time slamming the vets than anything else.

But the article says more about the owners than the vets. Why breed when you have nothing in place in case anything happens.

To breed staffs at the moment would be crazy enough, with shelters brimming with them. You can see from the photo that these were in no way full staffs.

Could this be yet another case of 'oh what the hell, so and so has a nice dog, let's mate her with him' or 'I don't know what happened, we were on the park and she was in season, couldn't afford to get her done/not fare to her till she's had one litter'.