August 24, 2008

Getting help with vet costs.

The other day Free Money Finance raised the question of how much would you be willing to spend to save you pets life? I think its a pretty tough question. For me its a matter of how much I think is too much to spend. Thankfully I have the resources to cover almost any kind of vet bill we might encounter.

But for many Americans if they are hit with a high vet bill they simply may not have the money to afford it. They are faced with the choice of cutting back their quality of life, going into debt or euthanizing a loved pet. For a beloved family pet this can be a very difficult situation to deal with.

But there are ways to

First I would make sure to shop around a little and get quotes on the cost from multiple veterinarians. The prices charged by vets can vary widely. If it is an emergency situation than first ask your vet if they know of more affordable vet services, they may be understanding and quickly refer you to a lower cost peer.

Second I'd ask the vet(s) if they can help subsidize your costs, help with financing payments or know others who can help you. If you explain that your financial situation won't allow you to pay the full bill up front then the vet may work with you to reduce the rate or at least provide an option to pay over time. They may also know an organization that can help.

Finally you can look into getting help from non profit organizations. There are a number of charities that offer assistance to help people with financial need pay for their vet bills.

I found this site with a list of organizations that might be able to help with financial assistance to save the life of a pet. I looked through there list and

Feline Veterinary Emergency Assistance Program - helps with cat vet costs
Feline Outreach - offers aid for cats
Help a Pet - offers aids for households making less than $40k
The Pet Fund - offers non emergency aid, has a wait list
United Animal Nations - provides grants for animals in need

It is important to understand that the cost of a pet can potentially include a substantial vet bill. You should keep the cost of vet bills in mind when you are getting a pet. If you have lower financial means then consider at least buying a lower priced pet. Cats are generally less expensive than dogs. Keep your cat indoor to improve their chances of a longer, healthier life. A small bird or rodent is even less expensive.

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