I don't really think this is fair -- these places are business, not banks, and have no idea of anyone's ability to repay a costly service. The best solution is to go to a bank and ask for a loan as that is the place that considers your financial situation and lends money on a payback scheme -- I could not possibly run a business relying on people who might or might not pay me in the future. The dog's suffering is not due to a neurologist refusing to treat for free on the basis that they might eventually get paid, but the owner having made a conscious decision to own a dog despite potential problems and not having insurance, or insurance early enough, or the money to pay for treatment -- please do not try to shift the blame! If she has had these symptoms for years, and there was some suspicion already on her records, surely it would have been wise to be setting aside some money each month towards possible need for treatment later if you chose not to investigate this earlier?you have to have the money upfront or your dog can suffer,
There is also the issue that if you had insured the dog from the start you'd be covered -- which is your responsibility, not the vet's or the neurologist's. That is what insurance is for -- it doesn't work that you only get it after you think there might be problems otherwise the whole point of insurance wouldn't work. I've paid insurance for years on my dogs with no claims on the basis that I MIGHT need it -- not that I WILL need it. if people just sign up late and expect big cost problems to be covered, it is people like ME paying for people who have paid nothing into the scheme because until then they didn't think they needed insurance. Why should I pay for that?
Dogs do not come cheap -- I am sure as someone showing and breeding already, you had investigated the breed and responsibly read up on the probable costs of MVD alone in this breed when the incidence is so high and the treatment can be expensive? That is why unless someone has a large number of dogs (in which case I recommend taking the cost of a monthly premium for EACH dog and putting it into a rainy day illness account) I strongly suggest insurance from the day people get their dogs. the reason why is because of exactly the terrible situation you now find yourself in. But it is not the fault of vets -- you needed to make those decisions yourself from the start. SM and serious indications of its high incidence has been known about at least since 2003 as that is when I first read about it on the UK CKCS Club site and elsewhere. There's been info up on the main discussion boards for four years or more in the health sections and on many breeder websites. I simply do not understand how people cannot come across this issue with just a small amount of research into the breed.
Anyone who is breeding and showing MUST take responsibility to know about this condition and be prepared for the financial implications -- including considering their responsibility towards owners of puppies they breed that end up with serious health problems they didn't test breeding stock for. The surgery costs close to £5000 with the MRI -- to me that is the minimum one should be able to easily pay out of pocket if choosing not to take out insurance.
If you feel you cannot manage the full cost of an MRI then consider going to one of the low cost schemes just for the diagnoses and then proceed with medications. Just be aware surgery will not be an option, but if the financial situation is this tight, I don't think that would be one of your options anyway. You can work with a basic MRI diagnosis and a sympathetic vet and Clare Rusbridge's treatment information. All this information is available at www.smcavalier.com as are symtpoms lists, neurologists in your area, etc.