Out of all the injuries a dog may sustain, tearing or rupturing a cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) is the most common and likely the one costly injury to break the bank for unassuming dog owners.
In short, repairing your dog’s knees is likely to cost $2,000 at minimum and as much as $8,000 depending on various factors — vet’s experience, location, type of dog, severity of injury, to name a few.
Now multiply that cost by 4, and your dog’s knees are now worth a mid-sized sedan and car payment. Ouch!
A dog could recover and rehab from sustaining a CCL tear or rupture. It’s not recommended due to greater risk and more change of damaging others limbs due to overcompensation of injured limb.
While small dogs can likely recover with pain killers, bed rest, and reduced exercise and activity over a 6 month period, they also too can undergo extracapsular repair — a surgery designed with small dogs in mind.
Unfortunately, bigger dogs must endure costly TPLO or TTA surgery. While the cost is a debbie downer, the good news is that there are ways to lower the cost and save money should your dog be in need of dog knee surgery.
Read on to review and learn in detail about 6 tips and tricks to save money on your dog’s next knee surgery.
1. Conservative Management
By any means necessary, be sure to give great preventative care to prioritizing your dog’s ligament and joint health to avoid any ACL/CCL ruptures.
Try these commonly used conservative management techniques and strategies to guard against your dog sustaining a ACL/CCL tear or rupture:
- Top-notch nutrition – feed your dog with certified, healthy dog food to help build and maintain healthy tendons, muscles, and joints.
- Consistently exercise your dog by moderately walking, running, and allowing for agility play when possible. But be careful NOT to excessively exercise or allow your dog to become a weekend warrior.
- Introduce herbs and supplements into your dog’s diet, in addition to exercise and healthy food, to reduce the chance of obesity — one of many factors a dog is likely to sustain a knee injury.
- Ensure your dog has bi-annual or at least an annual check up to detect early stage diseases or injuries.
2. Pet health insurance
A common occurrence for pet owners, especially owners of dogs, is to simply not insure their pet. Of course, it’s nearly impossible to attain pet health insurance once a costly injury has been sustained.
Pet health insurance is pennies on the dollar when compared to the cost of ACL/CCL surgeries for your dog. There are many affordable pet health insurance providers and options available.
3. Financing Assistance
Most veterinary clinics often offer pet care credit, if not their own in-house financing or payment plan options.
- Pet care credits works like a credit card and has two benefits:
- Can only be used for healthcare services of your pet
- No interest charges due on amount
In addition, you can use a Care-Credit facility, and make monthly installments until paid in full. A variety of other financing options exist for dogs needing knee surgery too.
4. Cash or Payment Negotiations
If you don’t have all the cash on hand, or simply don’t have access to credit, then you may want to option for a down payment and payment plan with your local vet.
Obviously, not all vet clinics offer such surgery financing options, and are likely a case-by-case basis and dependent upon your history and relationship.
After all, a little money is better than no money at all!
5. Find a low-cost veterinarian
Just like in real estate, location, location, location determines the price for what you’ll pay to repair your dog’s knee injury.
TPLO surgery costs vary from state to state and by region. Rural surgeries tend to be less costly while urban surgeries could bankrupt you — depending on who performs the surgery.
It’s always a great idea to have a second opinion to ensure you invest your money wisely while doing what is best for your dog’s quality of life.
6. TPLO Alternatives
While TPLO surgery for dogs is the costly, the following are common alternatives to consider:
- Lateral suture technique or extracapsular repair
- Tibial tuberosity advancement (TTA)
- Tight rope technique (TRT)
- Pain meds with adequate lift/brace and much rest
The aforementioned options may save a boatload of money, but they may not truly solve your dog’s injury.
In fact, they could cause greater harm to your dog’s quality of life while also costing you exponentially more than if you had performed dog knee surgery to begin with (double whammy!).
It goes without saying, but please be wise and considerate for your dog’s sake when considering any knee surgery alternatives!