Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Credit Crunch - Times Are Hard & Money is Tight - BUT The Vet Bills Keep Rolling In !!!

Firstly an apology!

I am sorry that I haven't written an entry since the beginning of November.
I like to write something of use or of interest at least once a week.

Well, I make a small living from selling used (and some new) stuff. Collectibles, Books, DVDs, CDs, etc. I do this mostly on eBay, eBid, and Amazon Marketplace. You can see from the right hand side of my blog that I promote my efforts! (And why not - you have to let people know what you do!)
This is all good recycling - first you re-use, then keep re-using until you HAVE to recycle. Much better than sticking it in a hole in the ground!

Times are hard and we are all being careful what we do with our money. My sales have dropped off, so I've had to focus hard on making a living. All my time and effort has been spent on doing just that!

End of apology and explanation!

The Vet Bills

Dogs get sick and have to see the vet - and the large bills have to be paid there and then.
Vets consulting fees can be expensive and so can the medication!

I am spending around £125 each month on prescription medicines and joint supplements for my lass Olive. She's over 12 and has arthritis and an enlarged heart. I also take her to the vet regularly for a check - another £30 or so.

This month she developed a deep ear infection, that was another £50.
Her ears were very clean in the upper parts, but there was a build up deep inside (where you can't see or access).
The vet said that this was unusual.
Olive was prescribed anti-biotics (a 5 day course of Noroclav tablets), plus Surolan drops (a steroid). I also had to clean her ears with Epi-optic ear cleaner.

The poor lass really squealed when I used the epi-optic. I think that it is a bit harsh.
Fortunately the treatment has worked.

Usually you know when a dog has an ear problem.
They will shake there heads a lot in an effort to dislodge stuff.
You will also see them hanging there head to one side.
Also the infected ear(s) may be held at an unusual angle.
Your dog might want its ears rubbed more than is normal.

I didn't see any of this until the day before I took Olive to the vet! Usually you will see signs of possible ear infection earlier.

I regularly clean the upper parts of my dogs ears. I do this with a large piece of cotton wool (NOT a cotton bud) which I wet (not soak) with warm water. Just gently wipe the easily accessible areas inside the upper ear.
If there is a lot of discharge this could mean the start of a problem.
Please NEVER put anything deep inside your dog's ears - this includes cotton buds! You can do serious damage to a delicate organ.
As my doctor once joked - never put anything larger than your elbow inside your ear!

So back to vet bills!

You can do one of three things - take out pet insurance, put money to one side, or pay as required (not good if the bills run into thousands)
Olive isn't insured, and I don't begrudge the girl anything. I've even sold some of my precious book collection to pay for her treatment.
When Spot, our old much-loved male greyhound, developed a spinal problem we spent over £3,000 in one month trying to save him. We would have remortgaged the house if we had to.

You can ask your vet for a prescription and buy the medication somewhere cheaper. VetUK is a good on-line site. It is run by a vet.
BUT I think that vets can now charge £15 for the prescription, so there may be no saving.

If you take out pet insurance do shop around and read the small print. You want a life-time policy, not one that stops paying out after a certain time.
I think that I will make another post about this topic soon.

That's all for now!

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Dogs and Fireworks - One of our dogs shook with fear.

More on dogs and fireworks. See my post of Sunday October 5th on the subject.

There were fireworks going off very close to our house last night. Olive was fine, but poor Boris was terrified. He curled up in his bed and SHOOK with fear.
I gave him Bach Rescue Remedy, which helped him. He stopped shaking and his heart thumped less. We also had the TV on quite loud to drown out the noise.
He refused to eat until very late (well after the fireworks had finished).

You can help your dog with Firework phobia and other loud noise fears.
This can be done with desensitisation and management methods.
  • Desensitisation. CDs are available which help to deal with the your dog's fears. You can buy them from suppliers like http://www.soundsscary.com/. They are available for fireworks, thunder, and gunshots. The CDs come with instructions - it is a gradual method of increasing noise level. It is important that your dog doesn't show signs of fear during use.
  • DAP -dog appeasment pheromone. This is a plug-in diffuser - it has a calming effect.
  • Make a safe place for your dog
  • Close windows doors, curtains. Play music.
  • Do NOT reward your dog - No treats, reassurance, or petting! You ignore the noises, as if it were nothing.
  • Distraction. Play with your dog. It can also help if there is a non-fearful companion animal with them.
  • I find that Bach Rescue Remedy helps
  • Other Herbal Remedies like Valerian (liquid or tablets) and Skullcap can help. Consult your vet if your dog is on medication.

Good luck!