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Sick Pet. Tough Economy. What to do?
Some helpful tips for getting the veterinary care your pet needs.


Possible solutions
(continued from page one)

  • Veterinary Pet Insurance
    Even though this option has been available for approximately 20 years, it hasn't been available everywhere, hasn't always been cost effective for some pets/pet owners, and is not the answer for something immediate, like an emergency situation. However, this option is being used more commonly by pet owners today. Planning ahead is the key. The best bet is to sign up early -- at the healthy puppy or kitten stage if possible, and select a plan that best fits your needs. Pet insurance can definitely help for the unplanned pet emergency. Click here for more information about pet insurance plans.
  • Maintain a "pet emergency" credit card to be used only for unforeseen pet medical needs
    For those where credit is an issue, this isn't a viable option, but many people do have a credit card that is used only for pet emergencies. This allows the client to pay the veterinary bill in full, and pay on the credit card as able.
  • Payment plans offered through your veterinarian
    I have found that many people don't even bother to call the veterinarian when money is an issue -- assuming the worst, that the vet will refuse the patient outright. This could indeed be the case, but phone several clinics if need be! You may be surprised. Many vets do offer some sort of payment plan on a case-by-case basis. It won't hurt to ask. Some clients have even traded services or labor to pay off veterinary bills. This is not the norm, and can't be done for every client in need of course, but communicating with your veterinarian honestly about your situation will allow for a quicker resolution and hopefully treatment for your pet.
  • Check with your local Humane Society or shelter
    Your local animal aid organizations may be able to offer assistance if they have a veterinarian on call or on staff, or they may have a list of veterinarians who offer low-cost or subsidized care to those in need.
  • Animal welfare groups, breed rescues, or veterinary school funds
    There are a few nonprofit groups that offer funding to those in need after submitting an application.

    Help-A-Pet - A nonprofit organization which provides financial assistance for the medical care of pets whose owners are unable to afford the expense.
    Labrador Life Line - Labrador Life Line, Inc. is a 501(c) (3) Not for Profit Organization created to help owners or rescuers of Labrador Retrievers who are in need of financial assistance.
    The Travis Fund - Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine. Created in memory of veterinarian Dr. Stanley O. Travis, the fund benefits injured and ill found animals, and owned animals undergoing treatment at Tufts' Foster Hospital for Small Animals or Hospital for Large Animals whose caring and responsible owners cannot afford the full cost of their veterinary care.
    IMOM - In Memory of Magic - All volunteer 501(c)3 registered charity - Founded in 1998
    More groups that offer support and financial aid - click here

Hopefully, this article helps answer some of the "what can I do?" questions. The quicker treatment is provided to a sick or injured animal, the better. It is hard to visualize our healthy animals sick or injured, but planning ahead will help to alleviate the stresses that an emergency situation brings.

Text: Copyright © Janet Tobiassen Crosby. All rights reserved.

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