Unexpected Vet Costs
Puppies are hard to resist – especially corgi puppies, amirite?! But before you venture into the life of dog ownership, it’s important to consider the costs and make sure you're prepared for them.
Most new dog owners are probably aware of standard vet costs like vaccinations, annual checkups, teeth cleaning, and neutering/spaying. But what they don’t always realize is that they also need to plan for the unexpected medical costs. After all, dogs are living beings that can get sick or suffer from injuries. Being a dwarf breed, corgis are especially prone to orthopedic issues.
A couple of years ago, I noticed that Geordi would sometimes look uncomfortable when getting up from a long nap. It seemed minor but I took him to the vet just in case. He was prescribed pain meds, but his symptoms persisted.
After seeing multiple orthopedic specialists and rehab vets, we finally got an accurate diagnosis: medial shoulder syndrome (MSS). Similar to a rotator cuff tear in humans, MSS is a soft tissue injury caused by repeated activity and overuse.
It was heartbreaking to see Geordi in pain, and I sought out the best treatment for him. This included non-stop physical therapy and an arthroscopic surgery on both shoulders. He’s better now, and it was all worth it to see him run again pain-free. But the cost was something I never would have anticipated when I first made the decision to get a puppy.
Here's a cost breakdown:
First vet exam with x-rays & meds: $451
Orthopedic surgeon visit: $135
Second vet visit & meds: $259
Rehab vet & physical therapy: $10,938
Pre-surgery consultation: $515
Arthroscopic shoulder surgery & stem cell injection: $10,184.89
And here are some of our corgi friends who were kind enough to share their own experiences with unanticipated vet costs.
Chibi was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at just 18 months old:
Initial vet exams & x-rays: $342.92
Orthopedic surgeon consultation: $115
Left FHO surgery: $2,591
Orthopedic surgeon followup: $370.50
Right FHO surgery: $2,668
Physical therapy & meds: $12,000
Mae was diagnosed with PDA (patent ductus arteriosus), which is a congenital and life-threatening heart condition at just 10 weeks old:
Initial vet exams: $200
EKG tests: $1,400
Heart surgery: $6,100
Followup visits: $120
Otis was diagnosed with patella luxation on both knees when he was 10 months old:
Initial vet visits: $120
Physical therapy and rehab: $3,000
First knee surgery: $3,572
Second knee surgery: $2,693
So, what can you do?
- Cannot stress this enough: wait until you are financially stable and ready. A corgi’s lifespan is around 12-15 years. And as they get older, vet visits will become more frequent and costs will only continue to rise.
- Start a separate savings bucket specifically for your future pet expenses.
- Keep your dog fit & healthy. Allowing your corgi to be overweight leads to serious health problems like early arthritis, joint problems and heart disease.
- Get pet insurance. If you wait until your dog is diagnosed with something, it will be considered a pre-existing condition and insurance won't cover it. Here are some of my recommendations for pet insurance – take some time to compare quotes and find a plan that works best for you:
With corgis being so popular these days, too many people buy puppies impulsively only to realize later on that they can't afford to pay for the expenses. Having a sick or injured pup is already a horrible and stressful experience for dog owners. But you'll feel much better knowing that you're prepared to provide them with the necessary vet care and treatment.
Even though your corgi pup might fly up and down stairs, don’t let them until their at least 8 months old. The impact from stairs—especially going downstairs—can damage their growth plates and lead to issues and expensive surgery as an adult.
We are lucky we got Trupanion insurance the moment we got our 1st dog. Our dogs are now 13, 10, 9, 8, 2, and 4 months. Ascher had back surgery ($14k), Ajax had 2 knee surgeries ($3k each) plus Diabetes and Cushings (monthly costs forever) plus 2 bouts of HGE ($5k each) plus cataract surgery ($7k), Bear had 2 knee surgeries ($3k each) plus Epithelioma (ongoing) plus 1 bout of HGE ($5k), Dallagher has Collapsing Trachea (ongoing) plus frequent attacks of pancreatitis ($2k each). Trupanion pays 90% of our bills for illness and emergency. Thank heavens!
Thank you for sharing this information! So many people get a dog and never realize what it truly costs. They don’t factor in vet bills, injuries, grooming, training. So many animals end up in shelters because people couldn’t afford them. Getting a dog is basically like having a child and should be cared for and thought of as such.
Thank you guys for sharing these stories! This really provides exposure to what it’s really like to own a dog. It’s not only about how cute these dogs look, but also how much work AND money it takes to maintain their health.
We have Nationwide (formerly Veterinary Pet Insurance) for Sugar. Their might be other insurance that is less expensive or has better coverage, but Nationwide is the one company most offered as a voluntary benefit (employee pays the premium) through the employer with a 10% discount based on age of the dog and breed. The younger the dog, the less insurance premium you. Which is a very common practice for individual insurance plans.
The biggest factor for staying with Nationwide is that the premium will remain the same for the life of the dog, as long as you have an employer plan. If you leave the company, the policy becomes age rated and the premium will increase every year.