Exorbitant veterinary fee forces owner into DIY dentistry

DIY animal dentistry
DIY animal dentistry. Image: MikeB
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

A woman living in South Wales, UK, said that she was forced into trimming her hamster’s teeth herself in an act of DIY animal dentistry because her veterinarian had quoted £500 for the task.

Danielle Amos, from Sarn, near Bridgend, believes that the veterinarian’s quote was “ridiculous” and confirmed that she had been forced to learn DIY hamster dentistry using YouTube videos.

She thought the £500 pound quote was okay for a dog or cat but for a hamster, no, it was too much. Especially with the cost of living in the UK at the moment.

Comment: regrettably, I think she’s wrong. The cost of filing down or doing dentistry work on a hamster should be no different to the cost of doing it on a dog or cat I would have thought. I don’t think that the species of animal is relevant to the cost. But I do understand her sentiments in terms of funding expensive veterinary work.

But is the £500 excessive? It possibly is but it might not be. One problem in the UK is that citizens are attuned to receiving free medical treatment at the point of delivery under the NHS. We aren’t really acclimatised to the idea of paying privately for medical treatment which is what one does when you take your cat or dog to a vet.

It comes as a bit of a shock which is what happened to Danielle. She said: “I couldn’t find another vet in my area that would do it, so I decided to look up on a YouTube channel on how to trim a hamster’s teeth properly and that’s what I’ve been doing every month by myself.”

Comment: I admire her determination but is it sensible and in the best interests of animal welfare to be doing a vet’s work on your pet? Might harm by caused?

The RSPCA commented that such an approach is not advised! We can all agree that. It is generally agreed that the cost of veterinary care in the UK has become prohibitive for many people as it has risen sharply due to the purchase by big conglomerates of independent veterinary clinics leading to a focus on profits over excellent treatment as is believed by many.

The Competition and Markets Authority is investigating and they have reported that the cost of veterinary care in the UK is now rising faster than other goods and services.

The RSPCA reported that four in 10 of pet owning participants surveyed had either stop visiting a vet due to financial pressures or had fed their pet less food or used a food bank.

One dog owner, Victoria Jones, said that she thought she would need to sell her home to find £4000 for emergency surgery on her dog’s intestines.

She said to BBC Wales that “It was a very stressful time. We didn’t know if we were going to lose her, but we also didn’t know if we might have to lose our home to.”

She is a dog walker by profession and had pet health insurance but it reached its limit and had to call on family and friends for financial support. She became very anxious. She didn’t know how high the veterinary costs would become and complained that “There’s no transparency with costs”.

She argues that, “When you take your pet to a vet, or any kind of pet professional, it can be difficult to budget for it.”

The PDSA once again provided good advice and its advice which I have repeated on this website is that you should really budget very carefully before you adopt a companion animal. Richard Hooker from the charity said that “When you are thinking about getting a pet, think really carefully and do your research. Are they predisposed to expensive diseases that have to be treated as they get older? Is that pet right for your lifestyle? Is it from healthy parents? Has it had all the necessary health checks and screening?”

About hamster teeth trimming

Hamster teeth, like those of other rodents, continuously grow. This means they naturally grind their teeth down as they gnaw. In fact, it’s important for their health that they have things to chew on to keep their teeth at an appropriate length.

Ideally, you can provide them with appropriate chew toys made from untreated wood or other safe materials. These will help keep their front teeth worn down.

However, sometimes hamsters can have problems keeping their teeth trimmed even with proper chewing materials. This can happen for a few reasons, such as:

  • Diet: If their diet is too soft, they may not be gnawing enough to keep their teeth worn down.
  • Age: As hamsters get older, their teeth may not wear down as evenly, leading to overgrowth.
  • Underlying health problems: Certain health conditions can also affect their teeth.

If you notice any of the following signs, it could be a sign of overgrown teeth:

  • Difficulty eating
  • Drooling
  • Weight loss
  • Wet fur around the mouth

If you suspect your hamster’s teeth are overgrown, it’s important to see a vet. They can determine the best course of action. In some cases, they may be able to trim the teeth themselves. However, for back teeth or more complicated situations, anesthesia may be required.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t attempt to trim your hamster’s teeth yourself unless your vet instructs you to do so and shows you how. It’s a delicate process, and improper trimming can cause serious damage.
  • Regular vet checkups are important for hamsters, just like any other pet. This will allow your vet to monitor your hamster’s teeth and identify any potential problems early on.

Sources: Google Gemini researching the topic with online searches using sites such as PetMD.

Leave a Comment

follow it link and logo