What You Can Do If You Are Having Trouble Affording Veterinary Care

What You Can Do If You Are Having Trouble Affording Veterinary Care

Help for Pet Health Care Costs Many pet owners, at one point or another, are faced with unexpected veterinary bills. Veterinary medicine has advanced to such a degree that caregivers have new, and often expensive, options for the care of their ailing pets. Although the cost of veterinary

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    Deal GURU
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    Default What You Can Do If You Are Having Trouble Affording Veterinary Care

    Help for Pet Health Care Costs

    Many pet owners, at one point or another, are faced with unexpected veterinary bills.

    Veterinary medicine has advanced to such a degree that caregivers have new, and often expensive, options for the care of their ailing pets. Although the cost of veterinary care is actually very reasonable in comparison with the much higher cost of human health care, an unexpected medical emergency can present a major financial dilemma for an unprepared pet owner.

    The Humane Society of the United States recommends that, in addition to preparing for routine pet-care costs, you regularly set aside money to cover for unexpected veterinary bills or consider pet health insurance. For example, create a special "pet savings account" and contribute money to it on a regular basis.

    Another great option is to purchase a pet health insurance policy. The HSUS has partnered with Petplan USA, to offer great saving to our members. Petplan USA is affiliated with Petplan UK—the world's largest and most trusted pet insurance company. It's recommended by more pet owners and veterinarians than any other. Use whichever option works best for you. The important thing is to have a plan and stick to it.

    If, despite your planning, your pet incurs major veterinary expenses that you have trouble affording, consider these suggestions:

    • Ask your veterinarian if he or she will let you work out a payment plan. Many veterinarians are willing to work out a weekly or monthly payment plan so that you do not have to pay the entire cost of veterinary care up front.

    • Contact your local shelter. Some shelters operate or know of local subsidized veterinary clinics or veterinary assistance programs. You can find the name and number of your local shelter in the Yellow Pages of your phone book under "animal shelter," "animal control" or "humane society," or by calling Information. You can also go to Pets911.com and enter your zip code to find a list of animal shelters, animal control agencies, and other animal care organizations in your community.

    • If you have a specific breed of dog, contact the National Club for that breed. (The American Kennel Club, akc.org, has a list of the national dog clubs.) In some cases, these clubs offer a veterinary financial assistance fund. Additionally, The HSUS has a list of breed-specific assistance groups.

    • There are some organizations that offer assistance locally (by state or community). See our state-by-state (including Canada) listing.

    • The HSUS also has a list of organizations that provide assistance to senior, disabled or ill pet owners.

    • Ask your veterinarian to submit an assistance request to the American Animal Hospital Association's (AAHA) "Helping Pets Fund." In order to qualify, your animal hospital must be AAHA accredited. To learn more about the program visit the AAHA web site. To find an AAHA accredited hospital in your area, search online at Pets911.com.

    • If you bought your dog from a reputable breeder, check your contract to see if there is a health guarantee that covers your pet's ailment.

    • Check with veterinary schools in your state to see if they offer discount services to the public. You can find a list of veterinary schools in the Education section of the American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA) website, avma.org.

    • Use your credit card. Ask for a higher credit limit or a cash advance.

    • Call your bank. Ask about loan programs or other options they can suggest that might be helpful in your situation.

    • Ask your employer for a salary advance.

    • Alert family and friends and ask them each for a $25 loan.

    • Consider taking on a part-time job or temping.

    • Contact Care Credit at CareCreditฎ Healthcare Finance - Payment Plans and Financing for Cosmetic Surgery, Dental, Vision, Hearing, Veterinary & Other Medical Procedures

    • Apply for a Citi Healthcard at www.healthcard.citicards.com

    • Start your own fundraising collection at Fundraising Made Easy — Online


    Given the current state of the economy, many pet caregivers are in need of basic necessities such as pet food. If you find yourself in this position, be sure to contact your local humane societies as some organizations have started their own pet food bank program. In addition, you can visit petsofhomeless.com/members.htm to view a state-by-state listing of food banks that are offering pet food for the pets of the homeless and disadvantaged.

    The following is a list of organizations that provide financial assistance to pet owners in need. Please keep in mind that each organization is independent and has their own set of rules and guidelines. Therefore you will have to investigate each one separately to determine if you qualify for assistance:

    IMOM Inc., IMOM.org
    Help-A-Pet, help-a-pet.org
    The Pet Fund, thepetfund.com
    Good Sam Fund, goodsamfund.org
    United Animal Nations LifeLine Fund, uan.org
    Angels for Animals, angels4animals.org
    Brown Dog Foundation, browndogfoundation.org/home
    Feline Veterinary Emergency Assistance Program, fveap.org
    Feline Outreach, felineoutreach.org
    Cats In Crisis, catsincrisis.org
    The Perseus Foundation (Cancer specific), PerseusFoundation.org
    Orthodogs' Silver Lining Foundation (Orthopedic Cases and Service Dogs), oslf.org
    Canine Cancer Awareness, caninecancerawareness.org
    Cody's Club (Radiation treatments), codysclub.bravehost.com/
    Diabetic Pets Fund, petdiabetes.net/fund/
    The Mosby Foundation, themosbyfoundation.org
    Magic Bullet Fund (Cancer Specific), Let's Make Magic!
    Please remember that, depending on the severity of your pet's illness or injury, you might still lose your pet even after great expense. Discuss the prognosis and treatment options thoroughly with your veterinarian, including whether surgery or treatment would just cause your animal discomfort without preserving a life of good quality.

    Also remember that a little preventive care can go a long way. Having your pet spayed or neutered, keeping her shots up to date, and keeping your pet safely confined can prevent serious and costly health problems. If you have trouble affording the cost to spay or neuter your pet, contact your local animal shelter. They might operate a clinic or know of a local clinic that offers subsidized services.

    Unfortunately, due to our limited resources as a nonprofit animal protection organization, The HSUS does not provide direct financial assistance to pet owners for veterinary or other expenses. If you know of any veterinary assistance programs or services that we have not included here, please let us know by calling 202-452-1100.

    Breed Specific Assistance Programs
    The Boston Terrier Rescue Net, bostonrescue.net
    CorgiAid, corgiaid.org
    Special Needs Dobermans, doberman911.org
    Disabled Dachshund Society, ourdds.org
    Dougal's Helping Paw (Scottish Terriers, West Highland White Terriers and other small, short legged terriers), Dougals Fund
    Labrador Harbor, labradorharbor.org/
    Labmed, labmed.org
    Labrador Lifeline, labradorlifeline.org
    Westimed (West Highland White Terriers), westiemed.org
    Pyramedic Trust (Great Pyrenees), intro


    Working Dog
    Helping Harley Cancer Treatment Grant, Helping Harley Cancer Treatment 'Working Dog' Grants

    State-Specific Programs
    CANADA
    Animal Cancer Therapy Subsidization Society Lucky Moffat Memorial Fund, actssalberta.org/lucky/lmmf.asp (Alberta Canada Only)
    The Farley Foundation, farleyfoundation.org (Ontario Canada Only)

    CALIFORNIA
    Actors and Others for Animals, actorsandothers.com
    SF/SPCA Animal Hospital, sfspca.org/hospital/index.shtml
    Animal Health Foundation, Animal Health Foundation
    Peninsula CatWorks (cats only), Peninsula CatWorks

    COLORADO
    Max Fund, maxfund.org
    Harrison Memorial Animal Hospital, Harrison Memorial Animal Hospital

    CONNECTICUT
    Connecticut Humane Society Fox Veterinary Clinic, cthumane.org/site/PageServer?pagename=About_Fox

    MARYLAND/WASHINGTON, D.C.
    Washington Animal Rescue League, warl.org

    MASSACHUSETTS
    Alliance For Animals Metro Action Clinic, afaboston.org/clinic.htm
    Massachusettes SPCA (Provides financial assistance for pet owners receiving services at one of its three medical centers, mspca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=AAMC_Boston_Financial_Assistan ce):

    Angell Memorial Animal Hospital-Boston
    350 South Huntington Ave.
    Boston, MA 02130
    617-522-7282

    Angell Animal Medical Center-Nantucket
    21 Crooked Lane
    Nantucket, MA 02554
    508-228-1491

    Angell Animal Medical Center-Western New England
    171 Union St.
    Springfield, MA 01105
    413-785-1221

    The Sampson Fund
    PO Box 1756
    Orleans, MA 02653
    sampsonfund.org
    The fund is to benefit companion animals of Cape Cod and the adjacent Islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.

    MICHIGAN
    Michigan Humane Society maintains three veterinary clinics:
    michiganhumane.org

    Detroit
    MHS Detroit Center for Animal Care
    Veterinary Center:
    7401 Chrysler Drive
    Detroit, MI 48211
    313-872-0004

    Rochester Hills
    MHS Rochester Hills Center for Animal Care
    Veterinary Center:
    3600 W. Auburn Road
    Rochester Hills, MI 48309
    248-852-7424

    Westland
    MHS Berman Center for Animal Care
    Veterinary Center:
    900 N. Newburgh Road
    Westland, MI 48185
    734-721-4195

    NEVADA
    Shakespeare Animal, shakespeareanimalfund.org

    NEW JERSEY
    Save U.S. Pets Foundation (Veterinarian must apply on behalf of pet owner), Save U.S. Pets Foundation: Funding Lifesaving Care for Pets

    NEW YORK
    NY S.A.V.E Inc., nysave.org/index_2.html
    ALL 4 PETS, all4petswny.org (Limited to Western New York)

    NORTH CAROLINA
    Ashley's Angel Fund, ashleyfund.org/

    OREGON
    The Bearen Foundation, bearenfoundation.org/funding.htm

    PENNSYLVANIA
    Animal Care & Assistance Fund, Animal Care & Assistance Fund - 412-348-2588
    The Animal Rescue of Western PA, animalrescue.org/Clinic.htm
    The Humane Society of Berks County Veterinary Hospital, berkshumane.org/vets/vets_services.asp

    RHODE ISLAND
    RIVMA Companion Animal Foundation, companionanimalfoundation.org

    TEXAS
    Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine "The Capper and Chris Save the Animals Fund," cvm.tamu.edu/capperchris/index.shtml

    Organizations Offering Assistance Programs for Senior, Disabled or Ill Pet Owners
    CALIFORNIA
    Voice for the Animals Foundation, Helping Friends Program, Voice for the Animals Foundation
    AniMeals Helen Woodward Animal Center, animalcenter.org/animeals/
    SF SPCA Animal Hospital, sfspca.org/hospital/index.shtml
    SHARE Marin Humane Society, marinhumanesociety.org/ProgramsServices/SHARE.html
    PAWS San Diego, pawssdc.org/
    PALS - Pets Are Loving Support, Pets Are Loving Support - Sonoma County, CA
    PAWS Los Angeles, pawsla.org/
    PAWS San Francisco, pawssf.org

    CONNECTICUT
    Manchester Area Network on AIDS AID-A-PET, mana-ct.net/Aid-A-Pet.html

    DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
    PETS-DC, petsdc.org/

    GEORGIA
    PALS - Pets Are Loving Support, palsatlanta.org

    HAWAII
    Hawaiian Humane Society: PALS Program, hawaiianhumane.org/programs/pals/

    MASSACHUSETTS
    Phinney's Friends (MSPCA), mspca.org/phinneysfriends

    MICHIGAN
    Pet Support Services, petsupportmi.org/

    NEVADA
    Shakespeare Animal, shakespeareanimalfund.org.

    NEW JERSEY
    PetPALS of Southern New Jersey, petfinder.com/shelters/NJ151.html

    NEW YORK
    Humane Society of Lollypop Farm, lollypop.org/orgMain.asp?ssid=&storyID=105&orgID=14&sid

    PENNSYLVANIA
    Pittsburgh PAWS (Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force), andrew.cmu.edu/user/natashat/PAWS/

    TEXAS
    SPCA of Texas, spca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=programs_socialservices_2004#p etomeals

    UTAH
    Pet Samaritan Fund, Pet Samaritan Fund Home

    WASHINGTON
    Pet Project: Seattle-King County Humane Society, seattlehumane.org/petproject.shtml and seattlehumane.org/foodbank.shtml
    Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine Good Samaritan Fund, Good Samaritan Fund at the College of Veterinary Medicine

    CANADA
    Pet Program (Toronto PWA Foundation), pwatoronto.org/what.htm#pets

    For more information, visit cdc.gov/healthypets/resources/local_organizations.htm.

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