How Much Does Dog Back Surgery Cost?
Intervertebral disc disease, commonly referred to as IVDD, is a common disease that affects the spine area. This disease will happen when one or more of the discs, which help provide cushion to the spine, degenerates. This, in turn, will lead to a compression feeling, leading to a painful experience for your dog. Common breeds affected by this disease includes basset hounds, french bulldogs, the pekingese, pomeranians, the welsh corgi and cocker spaniels.
How much does it cost?
- The costs for dog back surgery is a bit hard to estimate since there is a variance in costs depending on what you are having done, your location, and the vet helping your dog. Most people who have paid for their dog to undergo the procedure say that it will likely cost around $1,000 to $4,000, depending on the severity of the back injury.
- An article at ScienceDaily.com revealed that there are two types of back surgery that a dog can undergo: disc fenestration surgery and laser disc ablation surgery. The latter is preferred as it is less painful for the animal and chances of recurring are almost zero. In reference to the Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, the site states that the procedure costs approximately $1,500 (all-inclusive).
- Cyberport.net lists the average cost for disc fenestration surgery. However, the prices vary from one region to another. In Hawaii, for example, the procedure (including a week of hospital stay) costs $4,600. The costs are lower in other states such as Illinois, California, Oregon, Texas and New York where the price for the inclusive procedure can be around $4,000 and below. However, other vet clinics and hospitals in some states charge higher prices. In Ohio, for example, the cost for the procedure is usually found to be $5,000 to $6,000. You can check out the site for the detailed pricing list.
What is going to be included?
- As mentioned, there are two common types of dog back surgery. The first one is the disc fenestration. This is a complicated procedure that lets the veterinarian surgically open the dog’s back and isolate the intervertebral discs by dissecting the muscle away from the vertebrae. With the use of a specific material, the disc material is scraped out of its anatomic location which prevents it from further herniation. This is a rather painful procedure for animal since the back muscles are cut. In addition, the post-operative pain may be very hard for the animal to deal with, not to mention the costs associated for post-surgery rehabilitation.
- As for the laser disc ablation surgery, the doctors place needles through the skin into the centers of seven different disc locations. This is done while the dog is under general anesthesia. As per Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, an x-ray is taken to ensure that each needle tip is precisely in the center of each treated disc. Then a Holmium: YAG laser fiber is put through the needle, into the center of the disc, and the laser energy turned on. This laser surgical treatment liquefies the disc material and allows scar tissue forms, which prevents the disc from herniating and injuring the spinal cord in the future.
- For a more specific description of the procedures, you can check out the official site of Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences at CVHS.okstate.edu.
What are the extra costs?
- Post-surgery rehabilitation. Spinal surgery is a major operation. Thus, you need to consider the costs and the care associated after the surgery. As a responsible dog owner, you must deliver suitable post-operative care once you bring your dog home. It is always good to ask assistance from your vet about the post-operative care to speed up the dog’s recovery.
Factors that influence the price:
- The specific type of surgery. As specified above, disc fenestration and laser disc ablation surgery differ in the costs associated in them.
- Location. The location is a big determinant of the cost. The cost varies widely throughout the country. Other states offer much lower price for the surgeries compared to other states and cities.
- Veterinarian. Some vets (especially the ones with years of experience) may charge higher compared to those who are new to the profession. However, you can be certain of the success of the procedure whenever you opt for professionals.
Tips to know:
- The most common spinal surgery performed among dogs is done for the treatment of intervertebral disc disease. This disease is the most common spinal disease in dogs and is increasingly recognized among our feline friends as well.
- Laser disc ablation surgery results in a lower rate of recurrence than the other methods of spinal surgery. However, the procedure is indicated for dogs that are experiencing only “back pain.” It is not recommended for dogs with signs of spinal compression.
- As suggested by Cyberport.net, the dog owner must consider more than just the price when choosing which procedure to have done. A good way to reduce the risks of surgery is to choose a specialist, a board certified vet who is a neurological (ACVIM) or orthopedic (ACVS) surgeon and has been well trained to do the surgery and has plenty of experience and practice with any dog spine surgery. After all, working on the delicate spinal cord is a very tricky and complicated surgery.
- Always bear in mind that regardless of the specific spinal surgery, it is very important to deliver suitable post-operative care. It is imperative for the owner to keep the dog confined to reduce movement as much as possible, provide him with adequate food and water, monitor his waste elimination, check his incision site regularly and know when to visit your veterinarian again. These are all very important parts of home medical care after the back surgery.
Questions to ask:
- What is the best back surgery for my dog’s condition?
- Is back surgery the only option I have for my dog’s condition? If not, what are my alternatives?
- Will my dog health insurance cover the costs for the procedure?
How can I save money?
- Shop around for the most cost-effective procedure that your dog may undergo. Search different veterinary hospitals and clinics before letting your dog undergo any procedure.
- You may lower the costs by opting for training hospitals and veterinary centers that exist in areas around veterinary schools. Like any other procedures, you can lower the cost for back surgery if you will choose to do the surgery in these places.
- As suggested by the AllExperts.com, one can ask assistance from IMOM.org. This is an organization that offers financial aid to those people who cannot afford medical care for their pets. You can check out the organization’s site at www.imom.org for more information on how you can avail of their assistance.
- If your dog has insurance, ask if the healthcare provider will shoulder the expenses for the surgery.