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Rosewoodsteel
13th April 2008, 05:23 PM
Doe's anyone know what SM surgery would cost in the US?
In the event it is ever needed (heaven forbid) it would be good for us to know.

Lynn
13th April 2008, 06:07 PM
In the post that Bridam made on March 11th, he said he had 8k invested....now I don't have any idea if that is typical, but my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I read it!!! here is the link:

http://board.cavaliertalk.com/showthread.php?t=22528&page=7

Karlin
13th April 2008, 07:13 PM
In the US, the low cost MRIs are only available from LIVS in Long Island and are only for breeding purposes --this wouldn't really be adequate for a diagnostic MRI for surgery generally. SO an MRI is more likely to be around $800-2000 in the US, average about $1250. Surgery would be at least a few thousand depending on how complicated it is and who does it. LIVS does a more involved surgery. Inserting shunts as well as the decompression would also cost more. So the answer is -- there is not general answer as the surgery and time involved would vary for every dog and vary by surgeon, part of the US, etc.

Molly's mom
14th April 2008, 03:15 PM
I live in NW Pennsylvania and our cost of an MRI was $1475. The initial SM surgery by Dr. Dewey at Cornell University (mind you a teaching hospital so costs are generally a bit lower) was around $3600 but we incurred unexpected additional expenses totaling an additional $2000 or so.

Molly had severe post operative pain which required two additional hospital stays, testing and a boat load of medications. While these complications are not common, they can happen so you want consider all possibilities.

Karlin
14th April 2008, 04:30 PM
How is Molly doing now? :flwr:

Bridam
14th April 2008, 04:38 PM
In the post that Bridam made on March 11th, he said he had 8k invested....now I don't have any idea if that is typical, but my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I read it!!! here is the link:

http://board.cavaliertalk.com/showthread.php?t=22528&page=7


Yep. So did my eyes! The MRI was $1,500 and that was cheaper than the other places in Dallas that wanted over $2,000. The surgery was $6,000 for decompression and a shunt. I think the surgery would have been closer to $3,000 for just decompression.

Molly's mom
14th April 2008, 07:19 PM
Karlin, Molly's doing well. Thanks for asking:D As far as I know she has shown no signs of progression even though there are times I drive myself crazy looking for them. It's hard to compare "before" and "after" the surgery. I don't know if it's my memory or the fact that she was diagnosed and progressing rapidly in the dead of winter so I wasn't able to see how she did on long walks or in hot weather etc.

We've had to get creative with her harness as she has zero tolerance for anything touching the left side of her neck. She's still on gabapentin and I am in the process of trying prilosec. She's a couple pounds heavier than I would like so we are addressing that. I think her becoming "full grown" around the same time of her surgery and plying her with countless meds wrapped in whatever would work, played a big part in her less than optimal waistline:o. It looks as if spring may finally be arriving in my neck of the woods so we will be able to get out more.:dogwlk:

She will be 3 on April 25th and we are just thrilled at how well she is doing:rah:

Molly's mom
14th April 2008, 07:31 PM
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2391/2413339165_d3d2a0d12d.jpg

Molly enjoying a March snow storm

Cathy T
15th April 2008, 04:39 AM
What an adorable picture of Molly!!! Look at all of those snowballs. Glad Spring is headed your way so you all can get out and get active. So good to hear she's doing well.

Spencer'sMom
15th April 2008, 05:31 PM
Rosewood, we live in Northern Virginia and had our MRI at the IAMS Pet Imaging Center in Vienna last January. It was $1,500. Our neurologist, Dr. Jay McDonnell, now has a machine at his practice, Dogs and Cats Veterinary Referral (located in Bowie) and charges $1,950. Hope that helps.

Bridam
15th April 2008, 07:43 PM
This is actually a very useful thread. There is no point going down this road (and getting you're hopes up) if it is beyond your means.

Rosewoodsteel
17th April 2008, 01:09 AM
Thanks.

natalieandmike
18th April 2008, 12:53 AM
Bianca's MRI was $1500 and her surgery was $3500 (I think? Geez, it's only been a few months, I've got to dig up the bill!). I was told to expect up to $4000 but again she did not have complications, and did not get a shunt, both of which would have upped the price. I did go to a private neurologist for both. However, I have Pet PLan which covered a good 80%, and did not charge me a second deductible (one $100 deductible for the MRI, but they considered the surgery part and parcel of the same claim). I thought that was very fair. In case you haven't taken your pup to the vet with that as a possibility, you might consider opting for insurance first--it then won't be considered 'pre-existing' and you might even get it paid for. Just a thought.:paw:

Bridam
18th April 2008, 01:11 AM
Bianca's MRI was $1500 and her surgery was $3500 (I think? Geez, it's only been a few months, I've got to dig up the bill!). I was told to expect up to $4000 but again she did not have complications, and did not get a shunt, both of which would have upped the price. I did go to a private neurologist for both. However, I have Pet PLan which covered a good 80%, and did not charge me a second deductible (one $100 deductible for the MRI, but they considered the surgery part and parcel of the same claim). I thought that was very fair. In case you haven't taken your pup to the vet with that as a possibility, you might consider opting for insurance first--it then won't be considered 'pre-existing' and you might even get it paid for. Just a thought.:paw:

Insurance. I hate you, LOL :) Got a link to your plan?

Bridam
19th April 2008, 07:53 PM
Bridam,

I did a cursory check on pet insurance and noticed (at least with the companys I looked at) that conditions associated with particular breeds were excluded from coverage. This looked like a giant loop hole to me and dissuaded me from looking any further.
What insurance company are you using?

Thanks.

I don't have insurance. We had over $8k out of pocket. I never believed that pet insurance would cover an MRI or decompression surgery. If people are having hard times getting MRIs or experimental procedures, how could any of this ever be covered for an animal? That's why I was surprised to see that someone else got something covered. If that is the case, I'll insure my other cav and all future cavs.

natalieandmike
20th April 2008, 05:21 PM
Sorry guys I've been up to my ears in alligators so to speak, didn't check in. No actually I was surprised that PetPlan DID cover B's surgery--I've got the checks to prove it! But you've got to know that if you're electing it now after a vet visit with even a 'whiff' of SM mentioned, or neuro s/sx, it will be considered pre-existing and not covered. I'm sure you know that but I want to spare you the agony of filing claims that might be fruitless! Here's the link: It's in the Us, UK and elsewhere. I actually didn't even have my premium raised this year after my whopping claim already. Now that's incredible.!:-p:rah:

http://www.gopetplan.com/

let me know if the link doesn't work. I don't understand why a surgery/MRI wouldn't be covered if a neurologist deems it is necessary, though I guess there's always loopholes I don't know about! The actual practice administrator/claims person has a Cavalier and helped to design a plan which would cover hereditary conditions traditionally excluded from other companies such as VPI. Please know I only elected this for this catastrophic need; we pay for our routine care out of pocket, which keeps the premiums down. I hope you will never need it, good luck with the pups!

Molly's mom
20th April 2008, 05:21 PM
We had PetCare insurance when Molly was diagnosed and had her surgery. They do cover hereditary conditions as long as there are no pre existing symptoms. Petcare covered our policy maximum ($3000) which did help alot.

We now have Petplan, (they also cover hereditary conditions) as I found they have more affordable rates as well as more choices in policies. Of course the syringomyelia will not be covered but if or when MVD rears it's ugly head, that will be covered.

They key here is pre existing if there is any mention of a symptom that can be traced to an illness, (example, scratching, licking, etc) they can term it pre existing. So if you are considering insurance, a. get it as soon as you can. b. get as much as you can afford ($3000 can be a drop in the bucket). c. make sure they cover hereditary/genetic illnesses.

Molly's mom
20th April 2008, 05:24 PM
natalieandmike, we must have been typing at the same time :D

Bridam
20th April 2008, 07:28 PM
This is great info, guys. What plan do you have (gold, silver, or bronze) and what are your premiums?

What was it like getting approval for an MRI? Did you have any pushback during the process? Thanks again. If this is the case, I will never own another Cav without coverage. It was a real stretch for us to get the surgery done.

natalieandmike
20th April 2008, 08:40 PM
We elected the Silver plan with a $100 deductible, but I'm going to have to look up what our premium was per year, I want to say it's around $300? or so. I think though that your premium (there's an online calculator on the PetPlan site that you can see) will depend on the age of the dog, perhaps the breed, and your geographical location, so maybe give it a whirl and see what yours comes to. The Silver covered up to $12000 a year per illness with automatic renewal/replenishment yearly. Gold is 20,000 and Bronze is 8000. I'll look up my premium again and get back with you.:confused:

Oh, yes, about the MRI. No problems at all. Just sent in the forms ,and hoped for the best:rolleyes:, which did work out just fine. No delay. We got the MRI, paid for it, and asked for reimbursement afterward!:xfngr: Which was done in a timely manner. I think it took them about a month.

Molly's mom
20th April 2008, 11:52 PM
I have the Petplan bronze plan ($8,000) with $100 deductible 0% copay, 30% specialist. You can pick and choose your deductible and copays. I don't know if it's because Molly had the pre existing SM or geographical or her age (2 1/2 at the time), but our premium is $351.

The premium is much less with more coverage than what we had with Petcare.