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What would you do (kindness please)?

I am a numbers person, and I love crunching other peoples numbers. Yesterday my trainer was bemoaning people leaving the horse’s fans running when the horses were out of the stalls being groomed and ridden. At our local electric rates, it turned out that an hour of a stall fan running during peak daytime hours costs 2 cents.

Anyway, your imaginary numbers. Based on my location in SC, a $125,000 annual salary after taxes (federal, state, average property) results in a net monthly pay of $7,205 per month. Daughter’s leased horse and lessons and my best guess at boarding your own horse totals $850. Your horse board and lesson costs are so low people here in Aiken would think you were mistaken. But that leaves $6,355 . Say you bite the bullet for prescription diet dog food at $100 and also put your horse on daily Equioxx for $50, Now spendable income is $6,205. And your daughter’s mental well-being would improved if she got braces along with her peers, so you decide to go with the orthodontist at $100 per month. Now $6,105 to spend. So none of these examples are really big-ticket items when compared to your income.

The big stuff like home mortgage, car loans, auto insurance premiums, ad valorem taxes if your state has them on cars, only you know. Do those really eat up all the remaining $6,000 every month?

My point is that dog food, braces, and Equioxx, like the 2 cent fan cost I mentioned above, are drops in the bucket. Sure, 2 cents here and $100 there adds up every month, but look at the big expenses first.


For 7 years I was taking care of my elderly grandmother. And we were very comfortable. So part time work was sufficient.

I was blindsided by some stuff 5 months ago that significantly changed our circumstances.


We live in a small house but our mortgage is around $2100 month. Our area just got evaluated so property taxes went up too. The debt payments were $1800 month. We are now looking at $1300 a month in debt a month.

We are in a higher cost state and I’m just lucky on board. Partly because it’s really close to my house (6 minutes so I can help out there easily (like no blanketing is offered.) The lease is cheap because he’s an old lesson horse close to retirement. And it’s partial. He’s barefoot and fat too lol.
Part of my husband’s salary is seasonal. So one month we might bring in 10K and one month $4500.

So [quote=“Lunabear1988, post:13, topic:787899”]
I think the real stress is the horse and the dog.

The vet wants me to put him on $100 food which I think would only last half a month. I’m really not sure that that’s feasible. And I’m not sure an ultrasound and blood work and all that is really going to be in the cards. He’s a young dog but he’s also a bit fear aggressive and he’s kind of just hard to deal with in general. not towards our family but towards strangers. Meaning that every time he goes to the vet he pretty much has to be sedated if they are doing anything other than putting eyeballs on them. That adds to the expense and a little bit of the stress.

So, the dog… how bad are his issues? Sounds like going to the vet is stressful for him and expensive for you… is taking him to the vet often really in his or your best interest? How expensive are the vet visits and how often? I’d find a different way to deal with whatever that issue is.


I know we aren’t starving. I think it’s just so much all at once just messing up my plans and messing with my anxiety!

This is all very helpful.


Our brains can be a real jerk to us when things pile on like this.

You’ve got this. Don’t believe your brain.


your vet may be your part time job? My wife was just hired by a vet after my wife babysat a rescued GSD and her seven pups … the dog rescue was paying the bills of the rescued dogs but wife was doing the work of daily care and taking the herd in for shots before they were transferred to foster and forever homes.

The Vet liked the way wife handled these pups and offered her a part time position to help with her which is home based and travels to clients

Bonus pay today at no cost was a case of vet wrap bandage tape for our horses that the vet miss ordered


Are you anywhere close to a dental school? I know this is a longshot but, when I was 11, my orthodontics were courtesy of one such place. Done by an advanced student (resident?) under the supervision of instructors. Even had surgery covered. Perfectly acceptable result.

Another possible way to save on dental expenses: When my husband and I were young starving artists, we both (even before we met and married) had our teeth cleaned at the local university dental hygienist program, twice yearly, at no cost (also closely supervised).

One of the hygienists told me that the students were always looking for patients, and that she would stand at the entrance of a grocery store, and hand cards to customers who had bad teeth (*we didn’t, by the way). I asked her weren’t these people insulted or hurt that she was selecting them - she said no, they were grateful, and some people actually cried.

*Eventually, after a few years of free dental care, we were told that we couldn’t participate anymore, because we both had good teeth, and excellent dental hygiene, therefore we weren’t challenging enough patients for the students at that particular school. Which was nice to hear, even if it cost us $, but at least this was a great opportunity while it lasted.

By the way, neither of these situations were means tested.


Besides the random vet visits (spider bite, broken nail, cut on leg ) he’s been having diarrhea on and off for months. Pretty significantly at times. Weight loss. But acting completely fine. Each vet visit is at least $200. We’ve been averaging once a month but at the moment I’m working with her over email.

Right now I’m hoping it’s a food allergy and trying to change his food. He’s on a good quality food all ready but there are things to try :crossed_fingers:

Not sure but that’s a good idea.

I mentioned this above… but my dog of 12 years has pretty intense food allergies. Natural Balance has a line of limited ingredient foods that have been really helpful for my girl! You probably already know this, but make sure to check ingredient lists when shopping for dogs with food allergies. It may say venison on the front of the packaging, but many foods also contain things like chicken or beef. The Natural Balance Limited Ingredient line is great. For dogs with food allergies, I’d recommend trying foods with venison or fish. My girl does great on both of those. Fish is generally more affordable and not difficult to find (again, just check ingredient lists to make sure there isn’t chicken/beef/etc).

I have also had vets recommend super expensive prescription diets, but I am lucky to have found food that my dog doesn’t react to that can be bought at the pet store without a prescription.

Good luck!!


I had four former small animal vets as students over the years. They had decided to give up vet practice for medical college. A common story went like this. And remember this was 20 years ago.

“I hated having to sell dog and cat food, but without that income I’d be stuck making $50,000 a year.” There were some other things as well, like clients complaining about fees and doing euthanasias.

But food sales are money makers for vets, and often there are the same or similar options to the cans and bags on the waiting room display shelves.

I actually had a young vet in my cat’s practice walk out to the parking lot one day to tell me about an inexpensive OTC food to buy to replace the expensive stuff her senior doctor had prescribed for my cat. It may have had something to do with me saving her father’s life with CPR earlier that year.


What type of GI issues with the dog?
If it isn’t one more stressor to add to the pile, you might be able to prepare a home made diet that will address the medical issues at a lower price than the preformulated special diets.


I also just want to say, OP, I really empathize. Having to turn your life upside down and having money insecurity is so incredibly stressful. When people, vets and such, who have good intentions, make you feel like you HAVE to do something that is $$$$ it can make you feel really awful when it’s just not in the cards. Hang in there, at least you know this is relatively temporary. It sucks, but you will make it through and you will appreciate so much more coming out of this.


That’s something I was thinking of as well. He’s having diarrhea on and off but it comes on kind of severely. He acts completely fine but it’s not something I can just let go either. Obviously something’s off and I was hoping a fecal would provide answers but nothing so far.

I think that’s a big part of my stress. I love all my animals and I really do like to do things the best way I can for them but right now they’re going to kind of have to take a lower priority.

I’m not sure if my husband said something to the dog vet but she’s kind of acting like we don’t want to take care of our dog. The dog that we have been taken to the vet at least once a month for 5 months. Lol. He’s not neglected by any means.

At the barn there’s been a few people that have said some things about my horse and I think that’s adding to the stressed out feeling. A few people have been commenting why I’m not riding him. And that he’s probably losing muscle and that’s probably making things so much worse. And then I had someone who did know that I was going through a really hard time make a comment that I needed to use another vet in the area that would do everything they can to figure it out. She even said I know they’re really expensive but they’re worth it and I would get them out…

I really don’t disagree. I would love to get another opinion but again it is not in the cards. The type of stuff she’s talking about is thousands of dollars.

It’s hard because I really don’t want him to be in pain. But unfortunately the priority isn’t getting him rideable. If I can get him just baseline comfortable or see if the vet thinks he’s at least pasture sound then we will have to deal with all that later I guess. It does suck. But it’s the real situation.


You guys are awesome. I know COTH can sometimes get a reputation for being a board full bullies (I think this thinking comes from troll types) But I found it to be a very supportive place full of wonderful knowledge from all types of people and I really am grateful for it.


I just wanted to say I’m so sorry about all your losses and hardships. Life can be such a challenge sometimes but the great thing about us humans as we are pretty adaptable and make it through. I appreciate you writing here to give me plenty of great ideas.


Thank you. :heart: I love that COTH is a place where we can come together and support each other, about horsey things or sometimes life things. I know some threads can go a little sideways, but for the most part, I think this is a pretty wonderful community.

I lurk more than I post, and I recall your posts a few years ago about an OTTB that you fought so hard for. In those threads, you struck me as an extremely kind and smart and strong person. From what I remember, you tried everything you could for that horse, and when the time came, you made the most difficult decision and set him free from his discomfort and pain. That shows STRENGTH, right there. The qualities in us that help us with our horses help us in life too. You are strong. You will figure things out. You’ve got this. And I wouldn’t write that if I didn’t believe it!


That was me. Thank you so much, that is so incredibly kind of you to say. I do tend to feel like I am pretty strong and resilient. But so much kind of piled on really quickly and I kind of wish I could just catch a break for a few weeks. But that isn’t how life goes.

I was hesitant to post here but I’m really glad I did and deep down I knew I would get kindness and really good tips. It’s hard to see the forest through the trees sometimes.

I can see that this month might be harder than most but if we stay on track we will be okay and we will survive… I still don’t think there’s any room for super expensive vet visits but we are working on things and moving in the right direction regardless…