My Tigger (aka “Tig,” and who is 14 years old) lost a canine tooth recently. I noticed it, and thinking there might be some danger, I took him to the vet.
The vet found that while infection did not appear to be a problem, the empty socket, as well as Tig’s other teeth might be. Gingivitis, and so on. They wouldn’t know for sure until they had Tig under a general anaesthestic, and could x-ray him, and probe around a bit.
They could repair the socket left by the lost canine, and the doctor explained what he would do, using a model. It all sounded fine–I am no veterinarian, so I trust the doctor. Tig is old, but he is far from decrepit, and I would like to see him live out his last years comfortably. He still plays with his toys, chases the laser pointer, wrestles with my other cats, and complains when there is less than three days’ worth of food in the food bowl. He is a pain in the ass at times, but he’s also a buddy.
I got an estimate from the vet as to the cost of the procedure, and it is expensive. Very expensive. That prompts my question.
Remember, Tigger is 14 years old (human years). My feeling is that I can let Tig live out his life until he expires, or I can try to improve that quality of life, until he expires. It should be a no-brainer, but maybe it isn’t. I don’t know.
I have scheduled surgery with the pet hospital for a few weeks from now. But when I mentioned this to a friend, she was shocked. “You need a second opinion! At his age, Tigger doesn’t need that. Veterinarians are only out to rip you off when it comes to older cats!” My turn to be shocked; I thought veterinarians worked in the best interests of all animals, regardless of cost.
So my question: Do you think that this vet is working in the best interests of Tigger, or is he working in the best interests of his bank account? I can get a second opinion from a neighbour who is a retired veterinarian (and who will only charge me a glass of Scotch for the consult).
Hell, maybe that’s the secondary question. Maybe what I really want to know is, based on the facts I’ve stated here, will Tig be okay if we do nothing? Will his quality of life suffer? Does he need this? If so, I will make sure he gets the care he needs. But still …
I will consult with my retired veterinarian neighbour, but any comments would be appreciated.