What To Do If You Can’t Afford A Veterinarian

What to do if you can't afford a veterinarian

People regularly join our forums seeking medical advice on a sick pet they can’t afford veterinary care for. Unfortunately, nobody online, not even veterinarians can safely diagnose a sick pet via the Internet. The only way to obtain proper medical care is to see a veterinarian. But what does the pet owner do if they don’t have the funds for a vet visit?

Be prepared:

The best piece of advice is to be prepared for the fact that at some point in time, your cat will need medical care from a veterinarian. There are several ways to be prepared for the unexpected.

  • Take out pet health insurance.
  • Have an emergency credit card which is only for medical emergencies.
  • Put away a small amount of money every week into a separate pet fund.

Look for a veterinarian who offers wellness plans:  

Many veterinary practices offer ‘wellness plans’. This service involves paying a small amount monthly which covers the cost of vaccinations, an annual wellness examination, dental cleaning, routine bloodwork, parasite control and unscheduled health examinations.

VCA Hospitals in Canada and the United states offer this option. When you factor in the cost of these services, clients are well ahead, and more likely to schedule routine health checks which can pick up many diseases in their early stages when they are much easier to manage. Closer to home (for me at least), Vetwest offer a similar plan for $365 ($30.41 per month), which is great value.

If you are interested, an Internet search of veterinary wellness plans in mytown or pet wellness plans in mytown should narrow down a suitable list of practices who offer this service.

Prevention is better than cure:

Certainly, preventing your cat getting sick or injured is the best way to avoid expensive veterinary bills. This includes:

  • Vaccinating your cat.
  • Keeping it either indoors or providing it with an enclosure. Cats allowed to roam wherever they choose are vulnerable to cars, dogs, and exposure to disease from wildlife and or other cats in the area.
  • Annual veterinary visits to evaluate the overall health of your cat. Many diseases picked up early are much easier to treat than later.
  • Care for your cat’s teeth, not only does this help reduce dental issues, but diseased teeth can damage vital organs including the heart, kidneys, and liver.  Brush the teeth daily with a pet toothbrush and regularly feed RAW chicken necks or chunks of steak which can help to keep the teeth clean.
  • Feed the best quality food you can afford and feed different types of food. Pet owners are finally starting to move away from dry food and are realising it is not as good for cats as we have been lead to believe. Try to feed a mix of dry, canned and raw.

If you need help now and don’t have the funds:

  • Contact veterinary practices in your area and see if they will permit you to pay off the account week by week.
  • Ask friends and relatives if they will give you a loan.
  • Look around the house to see if you can sell anything.
  • If you have a credit card, ask the bank if you can increase your limit temporarily.
  • Phone around local shelters and ask if they offer or know of anybody who helps with veterinary fees.
  • Ask your employer if you can have a temporary loan.
  • Do not let your cat get overweight. Many chronic diseases have been linked to obesity in cats.

If you do either obtain a loan from a friend or relative or find a veterinarian who gives you credit, do ensure you pay them back. Just remember, your veterinarian is providing credit in good faith and it is your responsibility to ensure that the account is paid in full. Some veterinarians will not provide accounts due to people failing to pay accounts in the past.

The worst thing you can do is nothing. If your cat is sick, it needs veterinary care. To do nothing is cruel and prolongs suffering in your pet

People regularly join our forums seeking medical advice on a sick pet they can’t afford veterinary care for. Unfortunately, nobody online, not even veterinarians can safely diagnose a sick pet via the Internet. The only way to obtain proper medical care is to see a veterinarian. But what does the pet owner do if they don’t have the funds for a vet visit?

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