This month, the annual checkup of our two kitties revealed that one has hyperthyroidism. They’re both a bit older (~14), but they are indoor only cats, otherwise healthy and expected to live another 5-6 years. Bloodwork revealed early hyperthyroidism in Bootsie, our black and white cat. Just the diagnosis for her was $178 (in addition to the “normal” vet visit which we had saved for all year long and was already in the budget). Then we needed to decide what to do.
Untreated, it is fatal. It can be “cured” (98% success rate) with a one time injection of I-131 radio isotope (Iodine), or it can be managed with 2 times daily doses of medicine. Realistically, we know we’re not going to remember to give her pills twice a day, and many times, we leave for long weekends, and we’d have to find someone willing to come by the house to dose her up while we’re gone. So, that left the one time “radio cat” treatment. It’s not cheap, but it has some distinct advantages over the medicine – other than not having to dose her twice a day, we would only have to have her thyroid levels tested once per year after the treatment, whereas with the pills, we’d have to have her tested every quarter to make sure the dose was still correct (at $178 a pop!).
We got the estimated costs for the medicine (we don’t have pet insurance), and doing the math, the $1400 radio cat treatment would end up being cheaper if she lives 4 more years – and there’s a really good chance of that if the treatment is successful. It also means that we have to come up with about $1800 “now”. The $1400 is for the full treatment, we also had to do a few more diagnostic tests with the vet before hand, and a one month and 3 month followup with the vet to make sure she’s “cured”.
She’ll be at the treatment facility for at least a week, because she’ll literally be a radioactive cat for a bit, and we have to follow special precautions once she does come home for 2-3 weeks, but it’ll be easier than giving her a pill twice a day!
If we only had $1000 in our emergency fund, we’d still have to come up with $800 in the budget quickly, but with the $3000 we had left in the emergency fund after taking some to pay off the student loan, we’re doing OK. I’m not even going to “refill” the emergency fund until August – after the student loan is paid off. We live in a high cost of living area, and I always felt that $1000 wasn’t enough for an emergency fund – now I’m glad we had it.