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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone!

Okay, so I have a bit of time before I'm actually going to be getting a dog. However, I've been reading this forum to do research and figure out exactly what I need to look for (plus getting my fix on puppy pictures!). I love dobes and always have. I grew up around them, and thoroughly enjoyed all of them we had when I was younger.

Our family's last two dobes died many years ago. Our male died young due to liver issues (actually born with a liver that was smaller than it should be). Our female died at age 8 due to lung cancer. As I have been reading the forums, the prevelance of so many types of diseases in the breed and so many dogs dying young have staggered me a bit. I know the breed has the potential for many health problems, but it seems like the majority of dogs do develop them within a short time frame (3-5 years).

Based on the number of health problems and the amount of money these cost to treat, I have a few questions:

1) How much do people generally average in vet bills per year? (whether there is or is not a health issue, I am interested). It seems like some are spending literally thousands of dollars a year, and if that's true for the majority, that's scary.

2) Is it that the majority of dobes are dying younger or getting major health problems younger, or is it more a factor of the people this happens to seek advice and that's why the numbers seem so high on the boards?

3) Is it worth it to take the risk, even if you go through a reputable breeder? I'm financially stable with a good job, but even in a couple of years I'm not sure I'll be able to spend $10,000 per year consistently for a number of years to treat major medical problems in my dog. Is it better to go with a different breed that has fewer health problems at the beginning, or is it worth taking the risk based on a reputable breeder's lines being less likely to have something catastrophic happen?

I've kind of been getting almost discouraged about owning a dobe simply because it seems like the majority of dogs are having something major happen relatively early. I like a few other breeds, but have nowhere near the same feeling as I do about dobes.

Any thoughts would be appreciated!
 

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joie de vivre
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My girls are both currently healthy so I don't spend a lot in vet bills per year. I probably average about $1,500 in vet costs each year for both dogs together. That's for both dogs annual check-up (HW testing, shots, physical exam), the random illnesses (maybe once per year per dog), and the random injury that pops up (this happens more often for one of my girls than the other but neither dog is very careful about what they're doing so accidents happen). Bad timing vet visits - i.e., trip to the e-vet because your Dobe decides to get scary sick or badly injured in off-hours. I had one of those last year so that was a significant jump in cost (and grey hair).

That's just a rough guess and it could be a little high or a little low. Big dogs just tend to cost more than little ones even for the small things that require a vet (office visit charge is usually more for a big dog than a small one, meds can be more for big vs small, etc.).

I don't want to speculate as to whether this forum has a high concentration of owners with unhealthy Dobes vs the rest of the Dobe owning population. Without having real data and controlled formulas it's purely speculation and worth nothing.

My personal feelings are that it is VERY worth the risk you take even when you go through an ethical breeder. At least by buying my dogs thru an ethical breeder I know their pedigrees backward and forward and I can call their breeder at any point for more background information on them and the health in their lines. I have information about health issues faced by their litter mates, too. All of this information adds up to being more prepared for what I could be facing with my dogs. Knowledge is half the battle. You know so you can pay attention and act if something does come up. And you have breeder support - a knowledgable and experienced breed person who can help you research problems and offer information to help you make decisions on what can be done, what should be done, etc. Well worth the risk you take, IMO.
 

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kopfgeschlagen
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Routine vet bills are not too bad - similar to what BRW said. It's the unexpected: obstruction because your dog ate something they shouldn't, injury, etc. that is usually expensive and you never know when it's going to crop up. As far as illnesses, going through a good breeder who thoroughly evaluates health and breeds healthy dogs for strong traits, you have a lower chance of your dog having something chronic, expensive, and heartbreaking. My dog has been diagnosed with epilepsy which they still don't know much about in Dobes (apparently it is genetic in some breeds). So far it has not been too expensive (visits, meds) but it depends on how it progresses - it could get expensive down the line. My dog did not come from the greatest breeder so I wouldn't be surprised if she develops something else (so far her heart is good, knock wood). I keep insurance on her and use it; I plan to continue to do so to hedge against high expenses.

If you go through an ethical breeder you have lower chances of major known health problems, but it is still a dog prone to expensive problems (and accidents) so you have to weigh that decision based on what you are comfortable with. A rescue is also a great option to give a dog a loving home but again you have no idea what you are getting.
 

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And it depends on your vet.....I've lived in several areas across the US and the rates vary greatly. Right now my vet is a friend of mine and only charges me a trip fee of $20.00, comes to my home and that includes all 3 of my dogs :D
 
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And it depends on your vet.....I've lived in several areas across the US and the rates vary greatly. Right now my vet is a friend of mine and only charges me a trip fee of $20.00, comes to my home and that includes all 3 of my dogs :D
Where do you live? Introduce me to your friend!!!!
 

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Vet bills are really going to depend on the individual dog. I currently don't have any dogs that have any big illnesses (the big 3, cancer, cardio, CVI). Only one of my dogs is a senior though so who knows what the future holds. If one of the big 3 come up, I expect my vet bills to increase a huge amount. Actual treatment and monitoring of those diseases are very expensive to be sure. We set aside a credit card just in case we face something unexpected, but so far per year I would say somewhere between 1.5-2.5k per year for 2-3 dogs sounds about right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all of the replies. It just seemed lately that everytime I start reading the threads that were recently updated, another younger (not baby, but not senior) dog has been diagnosed with something else that is very serious. It was just getting discouraging. I know there are no guarantees, and if I do get one will get a dobe from a reputable breeder.
 

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Thanks for all of the replies. It just seemed lately that everytime I start reading the threads that were recently updated, another younger (not baby, but not senior) dog has been diagnosed with something else that is very serious. It was just getting discouraging. I know there are no guarantees, and if I do get one will get a dobe from a reputable breeder.
Thanks for the post. I'm new to the whole Dobe scene and I was starting to worry about the same things. I have wanted one most of my life and am getting close to getting one( 1-2 years) from now and I was starting to have some real concerns. Hasn't changed my mind about them though.
 

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My girls are both currently healthy so I don't spend a lot in vet bills per year. I probably average about $1,500 in vet costs each year for both dogs together. That's for both dogs annual check-up (HW testing, shots, physical exam), the random illnesses (maybe once per year per dog), and the random injury that pops up (this happens more often for one of my girls than the other but neither dog is very careful about what they're doing so accidents happen). Bad timing vet visits - i.e., trip to the e-vet because your Dobe decides to get scary sick or badly injured in off-hours. I had one of those last year so that was a significant jump in cost (and grey hair).

That's just a rough guess and it could be a little high or a little low. Big dogs just tend to cost more than little ones even for the small things that require a vet (office visit charge is usually more for a big dog than a small one, meds can be more for big vs small, etc.).

I don't want to speculate as to whether this forum has a high concentration of owners with unhealthy Dobes vs the rest of the Dobe owning population. Without having real data and controlled formulas it's purely speculation and worth nothing.

My personal feelings are that it is VERY worth the risk you take even when you go through an ethical breeder. At least by buying my dogs thru an ethical breeder I know their pedigrees backward and forward and I can call their breeder at any point for more background information on them and the health in their lines. I have information about health issues faced by their litter mates, too. All of this information adds up to being more prepared for what I could be facing with my dogs. Knowledge is half the battle. You know so you can pay attention and act if something does come up. And you have breeder support - a knowledgable and experienced breed person who can help you research problems and offer information to help you make decisions on what can be done, what should be done, etc. Well worth the risk you take, IMO.
Is there a complete list of everything a dobe should be tested for somewhere? I see all these abreviations but don't know what all of them meen.I'm not sure how to ask this but, how do you check a breeder out to see what diseases the parents or their pups have , carry or don't have. Hope I'm not stealing this thread, just have concerns.Thanks.
 

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I know a lot of long time doberman owners who've now left the breed because they just can't handle the health problems anymore. I can't say I blame them, i'm getting close to that point myself.
Really ? That is sad. I thought alot of breeders were actually improving the breed now.
 

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Sea Hag
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Really ? That is sad. I thought alot of breeders were actually improving the breed now.
There are a lot of breeders trying to improve the breed, doing the best they can. However, it's a long hard road, and there are few definitive tools to work with to make these improvements.

This is a heartbreak breed, don't let anyone kid you. Yes, the dogs are wonderful, but it's very easy to get to the point where you've just had enough after you've dealt with one dog after the other with serious health problems.
 

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There are a lot of breeders trying to improve the breed, doing the best they can. However, it's a long hard road, and there are definitive tools to work with to make these improvements.

This is a heartbreak breed, don't let anyone kid you. Yes, the dogs are wonderful, but it's very easy to get to the point where you've just had enough after you've dealt with one dog after the other with serious health problems.
Thanks for the reply. I can understand that.
 

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Vet bills do vary between vet clinics. Call up each vet within a reasonable distance and ask for prices of routine things. Don't forget to ask for the small charges such as blood collection, one vet charges $20 while the other charges $30, and that's just to poke the vein and collect blood! Some clinics offer discounts for multi pet owners, dogs that donate blood, or if your affiliated with an animal shelter. Is there a vet college near by? Students that are learning need volunteers, so you may be able to get an echo, ultra sound, or holter done for a fraction of the price.

Lastly, you can get insurance to help with those uh oh moments. Dobermans are an expensive breed, but not as bad as others. I've heard the pug can rack up a huge bill for many congenital problems because that breed is quite inbred.
 

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Vet bills do vary between vet clinics. Call up each vet within a reasonable distance and ask for prices of routine things. Don't forget to ask for the small charges such as blood collection, one vet charges $20 while the other charges $30, and that's just to poke the vein and collect blood! Some clinics offer discounts for multi pet owners, dogs that donate blood, or if your affiliated with an animal shelter. Is there a vet college near by? Students that are learning need volunteers, so you may be able to get an echo, ultra sound, or holter done for a fraction of the price.

Lastly, you can get insurance to help with those uh oh moments. Dobermans are an expensive breed, but not as bad as others. I've heard the pug can rack up a huge bill for many congenital problems because that breed is quite inbred.
That can be true. We were very lucky with our pug rescue. We got her at 11 months, and 3 years later she has not had any health problems. I've only had the annual check-ups for vet costs. Hope I get that lucky with my dobe :)
 

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Good luck on picking out your pup when you get there.

I spend thousands on my first dobe (had him for a year), but I have spent only a fraction of that on his half brother. It really depends on the dog. Its really the luck of the draw. Making sure you do your research and finding the right breeder is a good first step.

Again best of luck- I hope you find the perfect needle in a haystack pup!
 
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