Heart murmurs and dental cleanings - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-08-2015, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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~Siameseifuplz~'s Avatar
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Heart murmurs and dental cleanings

As I mentioned in another post, my 11 year old cat Neko went to the vet on Friday. The last time he went was in 2009. The vet discovered a grade 1 or 2 heart murmur (sounded like he was leaning towards 2) that he did not have previously. Neko is also in need of a dental cleaning. He was found to be missing two teeth (not sure what happened there-the vet is concerned the roots might still be in there) and has tartar build up. The vet wasn't very clear on just HOW bad the teeth were and how urgent the cleaning was.

The vet said that Neko must have a cardiac ultrasound done before getting a dental to find out what is causing the murmur to determine if anesthesia will be safe for him. The ultrasound will cost about $460. If a problem is discovered they will then also do chest X-rays, blood work (which I suppose I'd get anyway), a urinalysis, and take his blood pressure, bringing the total to $850 or so. Then within two months of this I'd need to get the dental done. The dental is estimated to cost between $400 and $950 (best case with no extractions vs. worst case).

I cannot afford this. I thought maybe I could, but really I need to keep this under $1000. Even that is truly a foolish amount of money for me to spend given my income and student loan payments. This has the potential to cost nearly $2000 and I won't really know if it will until it's too late to back out. I don't know what to do. Without the ultrasound I'd be all set, even the worst case scenario would be doable.

So I guess what I'm wondering is, do most vets require an ultrasound before anesthesia on cats with low grade heart murmurs or is this vet being overly cautious? I just don't know what to do. If something were to happen to him because I didn't get the ultrasound I'd blame myself forever but on the other hand he's not getting a dental if I have to get him an ultrasound. I just can't afford it.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-08-2015, 09:29 PM
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It's only my opinion, but I think they should do the ultrasound prior to the dental.

It is a lot of money and could potentially be higher if they find coronary issues during the ultrasound or more dental issues during the dental. At this point I'd focus on the money - care credit, vet payments, fund raisers, family support - all the things you've read about in a dozen other threads about high medical costs.

Jeff & Nala
Simon and Penny, waiting patiently at the Bridge
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-08-2015, 09:45 PM
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I do think you need to do the ultrasound...but I'd shop around at other clinics for the whole deal before booking in with this vet. Sometimes you can get a better deal, especially on something like a cleaning, at a vet school.

I'd also check vets a little further out of the city - here many of the rural vets will do a great job for half the cost. Personally I'd want a recommendation from someone I knew, but I'd count going in for a more minor thing like an ultrasound before a surgery.
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