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

Budget101 Discussion List Archives Pet Care What You Can Do If You Are Having Trouble Affording Veterinary Care

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      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 CareCredit® Healthcare Finance – Payment Plans and Financing for Cosmetic Surgery, Dental, Vision, Hearing, Veterinary & Other Medical Procedures

      • Apply for a Citi Healthcard at http://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
      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)

      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

      max fund, maxfund.org
      harrison memorial animal hospital, harrison memorial animal hospital

      connecticut humane society fox veterinary clinic, cthumane.org/site/pageserver?pagename=about_fox

      maryland/washington, d.c.
      washington animal rescue league, warl.org

      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_assistance):

      angell memorial animal hospital-boston
      350 South Huntington Ave.
      Boston, MA 02130

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

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

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

      michigan humane society maintains three veterinary clinics:

      mhs detroit center for animal care
      veterinary center:
      7401 Chrysler Drive
      Detroit, MI 48211

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

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

      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/

      the bearen foundation, bearenfoundation.org/funding.htm

      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 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
      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

      manchester area network on aids aid-a-pet, mana-ct.net/aid-a-pet.html

      district of columbia
      pets-dc, petsdc.org/

      pals – pets are loving support, palsatlanta.org

      hawaiian humane society: pals program, hawaiianhumane.org/programs/pals/

      phinney’s friends (mspca), mspca.org/phinneysfriends

      pet support services, petsupportmi.org/

      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

      pittsburgh paws (pittsburgh aids task force), andrew.cmu.edu/user/natashat/paws/

      spca of texas, spca.org/site/pageserver?pagename=programs_socialservices_2004#petomeals

      pet samaritan fund, pet samaritan fund home

      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

      pet program (toronto pwa foundation), pwatoronto.org/what.htm#pets

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

    • #412909
      Avatar for rtebaltAnonymous

      Wise article. Thanks for being so proactive about spaying and neutering. A couple of additions: for Texans… the http://www.spaytexas.org website has lots of low-cost programs to chose from. For non-Texans, see http://www.spayusa.org. Spaying and neutering really does prevent SO many costly medical problems. Fix them early, they recover much quicker, when they are young!

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Budget101 Discussion List Archives Pet Care What You Can Do If You Are Having Trouble Affording Veterinary Care