Emergency Vet Bills, There Is Help Available
A sudden pet emergency can be a major family disaster when the budget is tight. Unfortunately, in spite of how many fingers you keep crossed and how careful you are, dogs and cats (and hamsters, fish, and all the rest) do get sick. A cancer diagnosis, sudden onset of diabetes or a run in with a car happens and you feel like you’re facing a life or death decision. This is the situation we faced a few weeks ago when our youngest dog got sick, and other than worrying about her, all I saw were dollar signs. It was a terrible feeling. Thankfully for us, it was a false alarm. We just had to buy some inexpensive medication and she was back to her old bouncy self. But what happens when a visit to the veterinarian results in the outlook of expenses far larger than you can afford, to provide care for the furry member of the household? Fear not! There are things you can do, and places you can go to get help with meeting those unexpected veterinary expenses!
What Can You Do?
- Get Pet Health Insurance – Okay this is more a form of preparing for the pet emergency. But it's a great way to be prepared for an emergency. There are numerous pet insurance plans out there, most providing a very reasonable monthly fee and covering a wide range of well pet and emergency veterinary coverage. Also, ask your veterinarian. Some offer their own annual plan for shots, exams, spay/neuter, etc. It’s easier to pay a small amount monthly than it is to pay a lump sum when you least expect it.
- Contact Your local humane society - They can connect you to local veterinary schools/organizations providing discounted care and a other options for financing emergency veterinary care in your area.
- Apply For a Grant or Financial Assistance - Organizations like RedRover.org can help. You'll also find various breed specific or working dog support groups online.
- Visit Your Bank or Credit Union - Apply for a small line of credit or personal loan to pay for emergency treatment. www.care.com is also a great site that offers special financing for veterinary care. Note that if you’re in the process of rebuilding credit this may not be an option for you.
- Speak to Your Veterinarian - If you’re a long time customer, they may be willing to spread payments out over a few weeks or months to help make the cost more affordable.
- Consider a Second Opinion. There will be the added cost of a second veterinary visit, but some doctors offer different services or treatment options which may fit into your budget.
- Raise the Funds Yourself - If you have time, consider having a yard sale, or setting up a help page on a site like giveforward, or just letting your friends/family know what's happening. You'd be surprised how quickly some people will help out when they know what's happening.
Deciding on the best care for your family pet is a personal choice. Sometimes pets get sick, and no amount of money will make them better. But knowing that help is out there takes a huge amount of stress off a family dealing with a sick or injured pet and budget issues. We love our pets as much as family, and when money is tight knowing your options can help you make the best choice for all concerned.
If you’ve faced an emergency health situation with your family dog or cat that had budget implications, let us know how you handled it.
Red Rover Relief
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