Expensive medical procedures for animals


what’s so wrong about spending money to medically cure an animal? or donating to shelters so they can do their work?

I’ve read so many responses on CAF that are of the nature that spending money on animals is wasteful because we shold be helping the poor. but if that’s wasteful, than so would be buying a new computer, a vacation, and all sorts, wouldn’t it? it’s a similar amount of money

I mean I don’t understand why certain tests and procedures have to be so expensive, but that’s a whole different story. and let’s say a person couldn’t afford an expensive procedure. would it be wrong to ask a charity for help?

I’m obviously talking about things that have a reasonable outcome. if the pet will likely not get better even if they get surgery or what have you, that’s a different issue. why do people say it’s not justifiable to God?


Angel. It is a prudential judgment. Things are not always black and white. In fact, rarely.

The Catechism gives us guidance on how to form our conscience, how to be good stewards and how to discern when something is excessive. It is not always wrong to treat an animal, nor always right.

You’ve cast your questions as absolutes, when none of those things is in fact an absolute.


yeah, still working on the grey.

ok, sure, it could be wrong in some situaitons, if you decide not to feed your kids or forgo your mother’s cancer treatment or something like that.

but you know, scruples. I can’t always tell is things are excessive or not. many peoples’ attitude is that it’s wrong if I’m not giving all that money to the soup kitchen instead and to just euthanize the pet


Donating to animal shelters is very good. There are so many animals that are abandoned and unwanted. Some are abused. Some things are just unspeakable, like the man who burned the family dog to death. Authorities found the charred remains in the yard. He had poured flammable liquid on the dog and torched him with a match.

Helping animals out is also OK, as long as one knows what to expect, and what the outcome will probably be. If a dog dies of natural causes, that is the best way to go, but some need to be put down because they are suffering.

To get a reasonable view of things, know that in parts of Asia, terrible things happen to both dogs and cats. Boiling alive, hanging and beating with a club, blowtorching the fur off, etc. Whatever love and care animals get, it can never match the abuse they get.


I think it varies by person.

When my 15 year old cat was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2011, I did everything I possibly could to keep him alive. We put him on medication to try to stop the tumor growth. That meant regular vet visits for blood work and testing. I even took him to a holistic vet. None of this was cheap. As long as he was eating and comfortable at home, I was willing to do what I could. When a couple of months later, he became very agitated and not himself (pain was setting in), I knew we couldn’t go on like that. The vet checked the tumor and despite all our efforts, it had grown. I asked her point blank "he isn’t going to get better, is he’. And she said “no”. I had to make the decision to put him to sleep.

It broke my heart, but once I realized he was hurting and it was only going to get worse, I couldn’t prolong his life. It would have been selfish of me.

These are hard choices to make. I don’t judge anyone who chooses to do what they can for their pets, and that includes spending money.


I think one needs to prioritize their charity giving according to what is reasonable for their situation. I have had pets whom I loved dearly and who at the end I had to put down because of age and disease, and I spent a reasonable amount of money on their care. I also gave to human charities as I could. However, since we have retired and have less money coming in now and more medical bills for us, we have to prioritize our charitable giving. First comes our Church and the Bishop’s appeal. After that comes human charities such as the Food Bank, or anything to help children or adults in poverty. Also maybe a religious order. If there is enough money, then perhaps a donation to animal charity. That is what works for us.

It is no sin to spend money for reasonable care on pets, or give to animal welfare. The only thing is that we should not, IMO, put human beings who need food, clothing, and shelter at the bottom of the priorities.


This thread begs me to ask the question: what charities are good?

Last January, my wife was fired from her job, we lost our home, and our life savings. Guess how many of these “charities” would help. ZERO.

That’s right, the same I had donated to in the past, did not help us one bit. The biggest strike against us? We were not a minority.


I’m in the same boat right now. Our dear dog has been diagnosed with a brain tumour and has months to live. However, the time is not now. After a fairly expensive MRI, we knew exactly what meds to give him to allow him a comfortable life, and while the (hopefully) occasional symptoms flare up (seizures, etc.), he is still up and about and responsive. We judge him to have a good quality of life right now, so we will continue to maintain him until he no longer has that quality of life. For now, I will not put down a happy dog.

We have the funds, and he is insured. And I will accept no opinions that I should direct my money to other “more worthy” causes simply because “he’s just a dog.”


thanks for your perspective, it’s good to get a concrete example. I’m certainly not suggesting not prioritizing human needs.

but there is a rather common view that if you pay $2000 for a lifesaving surgery for your dog, with a reasonable outcome, then somehow that’s not relieving human suffering. usually those procedures only need to be done once though. any other time, the money can go to human needs, the rest of the 12 other years. and of course, there’s a difference if there’s little chance of the pet getting better


actually, my friend’s dog is in a similar situation. she needs to see a enruologist but I just can’t believe how much they charge. my friend is out of work due to disability and her husband is retired so they don’t have much income.

it’s hard to know what to do if you don’t even know what’s wrong. do you have any suggestions? the regular vets suspect either a brain tumor or canine cognitive dysfunction but we won’t know for sure unless there’s more testing done.

how much do you generally have to pay for pet insurance? and are there any organizations that oculd help with the cost. my friend has a chronic illness and the company of the dog helps her a lot. but with them both being sick, it’s getting taxing on her.


MRI’s are expensive, but invaluable. What we thought was a herniated disc turned out to be brain tumour. It was devastating to us, but it allowed us to target his palliative care appropriately.

For charities, the Farley Foundation exists in Ontario (farleyfoundation.org/), and Tails of Help in Alberta (tailsofhelp.com/vets/). I don’t know if they can help those in other provinces or if they can think of a counterpart. Then there are financing companies that help stagger payments over an extended period. For Canada, some might include Petcard (petcard.ca/) or Medicard Veterinary (medicard.com/veterinary-services.php).

Pet insurance premiums will depend on various factors such as pet species, breed, size and age. We’re with Petplan (gopetplan.ca/), and for our sick dog, he was six years old, in good health and is a Bichon Frise-Shih Tzu cross, we pay just over 400 dollars a year, for a 200-dollar deductible per diagnosed condition and 80% coverage. Our little Goldendoodle was only a few months old when we insured him at the time time, and we pay less per year because of his age, for similar coverage (I think just over 300 dollars per year).

In the case of our sick dog, the insurance is a boon. The MRI and associated costs (medicines, consults, etc.) set us back about three thousand dollars, of which we got twenty-eight hundred back. Yes, it’s hefty, but money well spent, because it allowed our vets to plan out a palliative regimen to keep him comfortable for as long as possible. The maintenance meds themselves aren’t too expensive.


There isn’t an official teaching on spending money for animal care.

Pope Francis, himself from Latin America, has (I believe justly) expressed sadness & concern over the amount of money Westerners spend on pets, which I believe is a higher sum of money than any other luxury spending.

Of course, I’m saying this as I type on a large screen Toshiba laptop, next to a painting on a wall, nearby a large flat screen TV. These, too, are luxury spendings, though combined they are less than $1000, which can be small compared to how much can be poured into a dog.

There is a long history of saints that teach us about how the luxuries of the world can hinder us and cause us to become distorted in our priorities. There is so much concern over the finances to support children, yet we are a culture that constantly goes on vacations that last for a week and are over with, and sometimes aren’t even that great, and we put cats & dogs into intensive surgery. Pets & the vast amount of money that might be spent on them is no exception to this. Ultimately, it is prudential and not something forbidden by the Church.


well we wouldn’t have to if vets didn’t charge such crazy amounts.

I’m ok with it for medical care. I don’t think dogs necessarily need fancy spas and other crazy things, on the other hand


I don’t know the specifics of veterinary, but it takes 4 years of undergraduate and 4 years of graduate, for good reason, because just like with the human body, they are dealing with an incredibly complex system and a lot of knowledge & skill is needed to become proficient in everything you need to do. So, I don’t know whether prices right now are too high or not, but I certainly know that one way another, medical care isn’t something that comes cheap if you’re talking about something extensive. The professional formation of a veterinarian alone is extremely expensive (think: for the past 8 years this person was going to school instead of working full-time or doing something else) which means there needs to be a heavier payoff to counteract all of the time & money invested.

This is a profession dedicated exclusively towards luxury (except for vets that work to treat livestock), because pets are owned as accessories to a home, and this all the while children, elderly, and the vulnerable are dying of hunger and untreated disease. Again, this doesn’t mean taking an animal for extensive medical care is “evil”, but as with all luxuries, they are something as Catholics we need to be conscious of, and carefully ponder how much of that empathy is ultimately rooted in our sentimentality. I will not say what the answer is because there is no definitive answer. It’s something to pray about. I understand that when you have an animal companion living with you for a long time, and they become sick, there is a sense of obligation that presses upon you to do something about it. It’s natural & healthy to feel such a way, and you are not at all a shallow person for feeling that way.


If spending money on your pet makes you happy then go for it.


I don’t necessarily like the term “luxury” for animalunlike other man-made things, these creatures were created directly by God. we actually do have an obligation to to take care of them. even if every single household got rid of their pet, animals aren’t suddenly going to disapeear. that’s not to mention wildlife, we have to be conscious of their needs as well, lest we really do something detrimental to nature

if we’re going to compare everything to those who have less, we might as well not have cars, tvs, computer, cell phones, even large houses. yes, those are real luxuries. I just don’t know why certain people are so dismissive of those who care about things that god created himself. they’re not just here for us to use and then throw away when they aren’t healthy anymore. I’m not saying that what’s you said, by the way, that’s just my perspective


These could be thought of as expensive luxuries,

Or the money and research and practice generated for the ultimate good of mankind.

Zoonotic diseases
Skeletal and structural issues
companion and therapy and assistance animals
drug, bomb, cancer, contraband detecting animals
security and herding animals

Diseases that jump to humans and kill - ie bird and swine flu, cattle disease, mosquito borne illness

And those strange rare and deadly things like the horse to human hendra virus that kills


A vet in UK is pioneering 3d printing of different hips and other body parts , for pets. Imagine better human hip replacements etc


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