If/when you can't afford vet care (solutions, not shaming)

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If/when you can't afford vet care (solutions, not shaming)

This is a discussion on If/when you can't afford vet care (solutions, not shaming) within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; This came up in a rather heated and sideways manner on another thread, but I think it would be useful to have a thread about ...

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Old 12-30-2012, 07:28 AM
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Lightbulb If/when you can't afford vet care (solutions, not shaming)

This came up in a rather heated and sideways manner on another thread, but I think it would be useful to have a thread about *solutions* for extreme or apparently insurmountable vet bills, however much that may be for an individual case. Nobody's financial status is *ever* completely secure, and even emergency funds run dry unexpectedly sometimes for us all, so please no shaming or blanket assumptions about the supposed immorality of not being able to afford vet care.

There is a stickied thread about Care Credit at the top of this forum, which is a financing plan. I also really liked some of the Humane Society's suggestions, which I haven't seen mentioned here yet.

For example, if you have wheels or a good and pet-friendly local public transportation system, you might well be able to find more affordable vet care in a nearby community. (VERY much the case where I live, US Midwest/Great Lakes region). If you are having trouble finding one on your own, trying asking your neighbors, pet store employees, or volunteers at the local shelter for a vet recommendation.

Another option is to contact a breed rescue group, many of whom are committed to helping dogs stay with their original owners if possible. They often have suggestions for discount-rate but NOT discount-quality vet care, and/or connections with organizations to help people continue to care for their pets during tough financial or medical (human or canine) circumstances. This was very useful to my family when my childhood pet's ongoing renal problems escalated at the same time my own health fell off a cliff.

Some organizations are specifically geared to help seniors on fixed incomes or with limited mobility care for their pets, whether it is help with vet bills or stopping by to take a dog for a long walk. So that is something else to consider, should that be your situation.

I think it's pretty clear that many of us depend on our dogs just as much as they depend on us, if in a different way, and I just wanted to promote some ideas for making sure we all get to continue!
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Old 12-31-2012, 02:28 PM
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I don't know how great of a solution this may be but one option is to get the Banfield Wellness Plan. The Banfield vets are located within a great deal of Petsmart stores. You pay $35/month per pet but that includes vet visits, any medicine they need to take, emergency visits, flea medicine and it takes a great percentage off surgeries as well. You can also choose different plans but I believe that $35/month is the lowest one available. Just thought I would throw that one out there.
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Old 12-31-2012, 03:14 PM
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Well, I have to say I thought it was a really good idea to start this thread, so I will offer a couple of ideas.

One thing you can do, is once you have established what you are going to use for regular heartworm prevention medication and flea-tick preventative you can often get these supplies a bit cheaper on-line. Of course you still need to go to your vet at least once a year for a the 4dx snap test to check for heartworm and the tick diseases.

And if you are willing to do a bit of calculating you can save additional money. For example, I buy Frontline plus for the largest sized dog. Then I take a syringe and measure out the appropriate dose of this for each of my dogs indivitually. I find I can get both dogs covered with just the one dose divided accordingly. I like this system for more than just the money savings but also because the smooth nozzle of the syringe (no needle) is nicer to apply the Frontline on my dogs than the sharper plastic of the foil packet.
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by RJBurrell View Post
I don't know how great of a solution this may be but one option is to get the Banfield Wellness Plan. The Banfield vets are located within a great deal of Petsmart stores. You pay $35/month per pet but that includes vet visits, any medicine they need to take, emergency visits, flea medicine and it takes a great percentage off surgeries as well. You can also choose different plans but I believe that $35/month is the lowest one available. Just thought I would throw that one out there.
I would love to hear about people's experiences with this. I wonder if you can do it with any age dog. It seems like there must be limits, but then if you're having to pay for treatments and surgeries maybe the older dogs pay for themselves anyway. Very interesting! I would be torn, though, as we've been going to the same vet for almost ten years and I really like her (dogs are not so sure!). I feel like she's supported us through so much, though, and I feel kinda loyal to her.
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Old 01-01-2013, 09:09 PM
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Tess we did that with the comfortis pills...we bought for a 40 lb dog (ours is 20). We didn't do this on our own...my nephew works as a vet tech when he's home from college and he told the receptionist how big my dog was and they gave me the next size up and told him to get me to split the pills.

I don't know how much the biannual heartworm shot is but I think it's cheaper than the monthly preventative. I know some people don't like it but I really like not worrying about forgetting heartworm pills!
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:09 PM
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Another tip would be do your homework. Simple example, our vet wanted to charge us $40 dollars for 6 mths of Iverhart. I checked with 1800petmeds, and drfosterandsmith.com and they had it for 19.99!!!! I called the vet, asked them to price match (my mom's vet does)..they said no, then I asked them to send over the RX to drfosterandsmith. IF they were to decline, I'd find another vet. I didn't mind having to order it and saved $20 dollars.
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:23 PM
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RE: I bought ASPCA pet insurance but I know VPI is just as good if not better!
It is about 35.00 a month and it has saved us thousands of dollars for our liver failure ER with Addison. I don't know about Banfield...but I was kind of appalled at the doggy day care scene I came across at PetSmart and the ignorance of the dog watchers...to the point where I made a complaint that almost involved the ASPCA. It is a chain and profit is the major motive, just like a lot of current nursing home chains...I would be very careful with "franchises" as turn over can be high with the staff.

What a great thread!
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Nylanat View Post
Another tip would be do your homework. Simple example, our vet wanted to charge us $40 dollars for 6 mths of Iverhart. I checked with 1800petmeds, and drfosterandsmith.com and they had it for 19.99!!!! I called the vet, asked them to price match (my mom's vet does)..they said no, then I asked them to send over the RX to drfosterandsmith. IF they were to decline, I'd find another vet. I didn't mind having to order it and saved $20 dollars.
I got a similar deal of inverhart plus on 1800 petmeds, like $50 for a years worth. My vet gave me a very hard time and offered me their amazing deal of $90 for the same brand and amount. I declined and I picked up the paper Rx,the receptionist and gave me an ear full and sent me home with several pamphlets about horror over buying from online pharmacies.
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:44 PM
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I got a similar deal of inverhart plus on 1800 petmeds, like $50 for a years worth. My vet gave me a very hard time and offered me their amazing deal of $90 for the same brand and amount. I declined and I picked up the paper Rx,the receptionist and gave me an ear full and sent me home with several pamphlets about horror over buying from online pharmacies.

They will try to do their best to discourage you from buying online since they are losing money that way. It's not like your buying from ebay or something though. These are trusted sites.

1800 pet meds was more expensive than drf&s though so we went with them. Great service too..
Iverhart PlusŪ Tablets (Generic)
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:44 PM
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For regular shots and check ups there are low income vet areas that will give your pets their shots at a low cost. My sister does this for her cats. The vet office will do it once a month, offer the shots for $10 per animal. Might be able to look into that as well in your local areas
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