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    Default Veterinary costs? how much is reasonable?

    Hey Beyond!

    So the spikerS family is going to be adopting a dog. Normally, I would be going through a shelter and as a benefit, this would all be included...However....

    We are going to be getting a puppy, and we think we have found a litter that we would like to choose a puppy from. As it will be a larger dog, I want to start with a puppy so the kids can get used to the puppy when it is smaller and adjust with the dog over time as it grows. SO, I know we are going to be incurring vet costs pretty much from day 1 and over the first 6ish months before we get on a schedule for yearly checkups.

    What are the normal costs for puppy vaccinations and getting spayed/neutered?

    Also, looking for some recommendations on good vets in the north end of the city / Airdrie area with good service and pricing schedules.

    I haven't had to deal with the puppy side of things in like 15 years, so I am sure the costs have changed, and I just want to make sure we budget appropriately for it.

    And before you ask, the puppy breed we are considering is a Black Lab x Saint Bernard x Bernese Mountain Dog.
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    Vets, you'll here both horror and great stories about every one of them. We don't have a dog and never have and it would be folly for me to make any recommendation with respect to a dog. As a soon to be dog owner, one thing you should seriously consider is a health plan as dogs often tend to get into things they shouldn't. Larger breeds can also have other issues that a health plan could offset the costs of - there's been many a beyond dog owner in here who have posted about the value they've realized from their dog's health plan. Others will chime in soon enough and hopefully that'll aid you in coming to some sort of budget.
    Ciao, beyond.

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    Knowing the little I do about you and your family, I think pet insurance makes a lot of sense for you.

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    We use Vets-To-Go who are located in the North end of town mostly because my dog has crazy anxiety so having them come to us for routine stuff has helped a bit. We find their fees are pretty reasonable given the service: ~175ish per visit if she gets a vaccine of sorts. The fact that they also have a physical location helps a ton because we needed to use it for dental surgery. The owner, Dr. Wendy, is amazing and super friendly. They've also followed up each and every time we've had some sort of medication administered, or a surgery to see how our dog is doing and it's never felt like they were just checking a box to say they've called.

    My only complaint is they seem to have a high turn over rate. I've talked to a few of them when they come over and they have pretty much all said that they love the clinic, love the staff, love their job, but driving around the city all day is not really what they wanted when they became a vet. However, they also travel around with iPads and some sort of internal system on it so they have my dogs whole history on hand regardless of which vet comes to see her.

    EDIT: About the fees, the home visit was about $25-30 more than an in-clinic visit. Looking at my last bill it was $175 for the annual wellness exam. Rabies was $25, and deworming pills were $7.
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    Beddington Trail Animal Hospital. Very reasonable pricing, and service is good. I've never been to a vet that had bad bedside manner, so it usually comes down to convenience and price... and when we lived in the north, this was the best we found.

    edit: $170/visit seems to be the high end of what I've seen. I'm pretty sure I recall paying significantly less than that for vaccinations, but it's been a couple years so my memory may be off. edit 2: $175 for annual wellness exam is very high. Cost of convenience though.

    For general non-vaccination stuff (ear infections, etc), should expect $80 for a consultation/exam fee as a base, then whatever drugs/treatment required on top of that. For us it's usually just over $100, I think the last one was $115 for an ear infection (and came with a free follow up visit with the vet after 1 week).
    Last edited by cjblair; 12-03-2019 at 09:36 AM.

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    You’re not going to be incurring spay/neuter costs for at least a year. The thinking on when to do that has been changing and the general consensus is to wait until maturity, especially for larger breeds.

    I’d also be very leery of a breeder that has a litter just sitting there to be picked up. Are they willing to give you the health testing record from both parents? I’m guessing that they advertise getting the best traits from all the breeds they dumped into the pot, but they are selling you a lie.
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    Yea my vet is pretty hellbent on waiting until at least 18Mo to neuter unless we have debilitating behavioural problems because the extra testosterone proves to have a lot of health benefits until they are finished growing.

    Knowing the emotional state of my wife, I opted for pet insurance because I know the alternative would be bankruptcy in the event something happened.

    The first 6Mo is pretty regular costs, and this is also the time puppy is most likely to get sick from little things. For example my puppy had a worm infection we just couldnít kick for 3 months which was... fun. But after that itís mostly just annuals and incidentals.
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    Join Calgary dogs on FB. Lots of questions asked about different vets around the city including which is the cheapest.

    I would suggest insurance at least for the first year (to make sure no major problems arise) but expect to pay 60-90$ for the first year with yearly increases in premiums. We are with trupanion but I have heard you can get decent coverage through a Costco provider.

    People suggest waiting a year or two before spay/neutering of large dogs but this also increases the cost due to weight and maturity. Expect to pay 400-700 outside the city and 700-1500 in the city.
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    I think we pay ~$120-150/year for the maintenance stuff like examination, shots, etc. she goes to day care so she gets everything. We go to beddington as well. We used to go to a holistic clinic on 16 ave and that place was ~$250/year!

    On top of that ~$400 for dental cleaning (our dog is prone to dental diseases. We actually did the first one too late and lost a few tooth). We also have pet insurance that's ~$60/month.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FraserB View Post
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    I’d also be very leery of a breeder that has a litter just sitting there to be picked up. Are they willing to give you the health testing record from both parents? I’m guessing that they advertise getting the best traits from all the breeds they dumped into the pot, but they are selling you a lie.
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    1. Pet Insurance. Do it.
    My dog passed away 2 weeks ago, I went and added up the insurance costs vs. claims and I think I was -$700, so pretty decent in the long run, especially considering a few large expenditures which occurred when times were tight and I could have claimed a few more teeth cleanings and come out closer to even.

    2. If you are in Airdrie, Id strongly recommend driving to Didsbury for any large vet items. (possibly other small towns, but I had good experiences there)
    Two examples:
    -My dog needed a bunch of teeth pulled.. I was quoted $3500 in Calgary.. Didsbury did it for ~$500.
    -My brother just got quotes for getting his dog neutered, $600 in Calgary, $250 in Didsbury.

    Another thing, good quality dog food will pay off, healthier dog and less crap. I went with a raw dog food which was $65 a month as I bought in bulk (50lb orders)
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    I go to the 24 hour McKnight vet hospital and have been pretty happy. Last annual checkup was I think 75$ and then 20$ for the vaccine.

    Quote Originally Posted by thinmyster View Post
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    I would suggest insurance at least for the first year (to make sure no major problems arise) but expect to pay 60-90$ for the first year with yearly increases in premiums. We are with trupanion but I have heard you can get decent coverage through a Costco provider.
    The amount definitely depends on the breed, but worth it either way. Also with Trupanion and my mini schnauzer was 37 first year. Now in his third year it's up to 55$.
    Last edited by pheoxs; 12-03-2019 at 12:02 PM.
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    Edit: Double post
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    I spent ~$130/round for my pups second and third round vaccinations. Haven't neutered yet. Include a contingency though- I've spent ~$500 in total vet bills so far (puppy is 6 months old). He ate a little bit of rat poison, it's better to budget for an accident like that than fight with yourself "should I take him in? will he be fine? fack that's a lot of money if he is okay" My vet also suggested not neutering until 1 year because bone/joint health (also a lab). I didn't realize at the time most daycares stop taking puppies at six months if they aren't neutered... one more thing to consider.

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    We started using City Vet in Airdrie after a late night emergency with one of our dogs. They stayed around late, did examination, x-rays, gave us honest advice and provided meds and in the end what they suggested worked great and the entire bill was less than $300. I haven't gone anywhere since, and funny enough, when my daughter finished her Vet Rec program from Olds College, this place hired her so now we have a family member working there which give us a more benefits even still.

    My best advice though with any large breed dog is understand that your bills will be higher than the same treatment of smaller dogs. I mean everything! Higher volume of meds... anesthesia... Surgeries... everything... It all is more expensive for big dogs. GET INSURANCE!! We have one dog that costs us a good $2000/year because of lifelong issues and we did not have the insurance. Then another dog has been to the vet for nothing but check ups. Just depends on the animal, but if you wait until issues come up, insurance is no longer an option and it will be considered a pre-existing condition.
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    Is the insurance really worth it though? As opposed to a separate savings account of similar monthly payments/deposits and then spend from that as needed.

    I've always thought the fight with 'pet insurance' is always such a pain in the ass.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 88CRX View Post
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    Is the insurance really worth it though? As opposed to a separate savings account of similar monthly payments/deposits and then spend from that as needed.

    I've always thought the fight with 'pet insurance' is always such a pain in the ass.
    Like all insurance policies it's hard to say and a lot of it depends on luck.

    Me: I've paid my fees monthly for 2 years and haven't used it, so I'm currently at -1000$

    One of my friends: Their dog ate something it shouldn't and started having problems, had to take him in and get surgey, remove the object and it did some damage so had to operate. end bill was 7k$ and they only had to pay 1k deductible. So they are ahead by around 5k$
    Nolan

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    Quote Originally Posted by 88CRX View Post
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    Is the insurance really worth it though? As opposed to a separate savings account of similar monthly payments/deposits and then spend from that as needed.

    I've always thought the fight with 'pet insurance' is always such a pain in the ass.
    Hasn't been my experience, but you have to understand what is covered and what you are paying for.

    If you put 60 bucks a month away and 3 months in are hit with a 5,000 bill, well you have a extremely hard decision to make.

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    Like all optional insurance, you buy it because it removes risk of a large cost, not because it's going to save the average person money. Trust me, the companies that sell these policies know the odds better than you do, but that reduction in risk is totally worthwhile to many people.
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    Last edited by 01RedDX; 05-06-2020 at 12:50 PM.

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