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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; buddycare.org is also another that will help with unexpected medical expenses....

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Old 02-08-2013, 02:39 PM
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buddycare.org is also another that will help with unexpected medical expenses.
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:24 AM
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I'm new to the site so sorry for stepping in if I'm not on the right topic.
My wife and I have a 9.5 year old rottweiler that has lymphoma and bone cancer (osteosarcoma). I have spent Well over $1200 since late December 2012 for testing. They do not charge me an office call, that is only the test and medicine. $619 for one round of chemo, did not even have the money to do the second round of chemo, she only got half the treatment was still $190. I still owe them $90 as I did not have all the money, blood test this week will set me back another $30. Spending about $200-$300 a month for prednisone and pain killers. They said they will not turn me down if I cannot pay right then but at the rate I am going now I will end up with a $1000 debt to them before I know it. I am not working either so I am flat out of money as I stand right now. This is not a sob story, it just shows how fast things like this can break you.
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:22 PM
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The best vet bill saver tip I have is have a good vet kit at home. Having horses myself and a accident prone dog, I would go crazy without them. My vet sells me disinfecting and antifungal solutions that just need to be diluted down for use. Corn starch for hot spots, rash cream for rubs, vaseline, thermometers, cotton roll, gauze, neoprene booties, antibiotic cream, pliers and tweezers. For medications, I do keep human benydril, clarintin, reactin, bufferin on hand, for allergic reactions if a bee or hornet sting, or he eats something (he's allergic to grains) and reactin lessnes the reaction. Bufferin helps for muscle and joint soreness, and what our old dog took for arthritis, but you have to be carefully and talk to a vet about doseage.

We have local rescue that gives $35 cat spray/neuter and $75 spay/neuter gift certicates for people that have taken in animals and not able to pay the full price. I think there should be more around.

Don't skip on prevention, treatment always cost more. Get the best you can afford, here fleas are immune to most flea medications.

Sadly though we had a elderly dog that had bad thyriod issues, but she couldn't be on arthritis pills and thyriod pills at the same time. And both cost a lot of money, in the long run didn't improve her overall quaility of life. She was put down two years ago at barely 8 years old.
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Old 02-16-2013, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Tess View Post
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.

You can just avoid dogs from mosquito bite. Don't let them playing some place that has stagnant water.The cause of that heartworm is from mosquito bite. If it will happen to your dog you can just have daily oral medications, injections and pills to stop the growth of larvae into worms.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:19 PM
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One of my labs had hip dysplasia. I was really young when this happened so let me try to describe it from memory... The X-ray during spring time showed her leg bones not quite being in the sockets in her pelvis, they said the surgery would cost close to $3000 and we couldnt afford it. We took her swimming a lot over the summer, had an X-ray done in fall and it turns out her condition improved. I think her bones moved closer to being in the sockets if that makes any sense. Long story short, swimming has helped hip problems tremendously in my experience.
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Old 06-02-2013, 11:21 PM
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hey how much of reactin do you give for your dog. and whats your dogs wait

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Old 06-18-2013, 11:56 AM
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I live in NYC and in our area, there is a website - luvmypet.com and they do low cost vaccinations, hw testing, fecal testing, hw meds, flea/tick meds, deworming at a very low cost at different pet stores everyday. There is no exam and they dont see sick pets. I use them for preventative care for both my dogs. Keep the receipts as proof of your dogs vaccinations.

Then for sick pet visits, I have pet's best insurance. They have many different plans, they are relatively inexpensive and they pay you back 80% of vet bill minus the deductible (100 or 250, depending on your plan).

I managed an animal clinic for 12 years and I know vet bills can be very very expensive. My mastiff mix has many health issues so his plan has a 100 dollar deductible and my Pomeranian hardly gets sick so he has the 250 deductible, since I reasoned that if he had to go to the vet it must be pretty serious and the bill will be alot.

Hope this helps!
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Old 06-23-2013, 08:31 PM
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I think this thread is INCREDIBLY important, so thank you so much for all of your insight and help! I hate the attitude 'if you can't afford vet bills, don't get a pet'. It sounds very well and good, except that what it really is is 'if you can't afford a 1500 dollar surgery at a moment's notice, don't get a pet' which is insane. I grew up in a low income family and the fact that people think I shouldn't have been able to have the joy of pets is so rude.

HOWEVER, it's so important to keep your animals safe - we should be helping each other! I have a tumblr account I've used for 2+ years and I dedicate money when people ask for donations for their own health care (often USA users who've been screwed) or their pet's care. Currently, I'm so blessed. We need to share and help our fellow animals and people <33
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Old 06-23-2013, 09:05 PM
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In my experience as a vet tech and owner of 6 (now 5) animals at one time, these are all of the solutions I've ever come across that our clients or that we have had to use in the past (like the time my dog was diagnosed with cancer, had to have bladder stone removal surgery, and literally a month later my other dog was diagnosed with congenital heart disease and perianaladenoma).

1. Care Credit
2. Pet Insurance-
these can be tricky. Most only reimburse what they want to approve you for. For example, our patient had geriatric vestibular disease. Because vestibular diseases can be caused by ear infections, and because our patient had ear infections 8 months before, they denied the claim and didn't reimburse them.
3. Banfield's Wellness program- Very helpful, especially to new-pet owners.
4. Low-cost spay/neuter clinics- many of these veterinarians are transferred in on a rotation, they work at these clinics part-time and work at regular daytime clinics on their other work days. Appealing to them to perform an expensive procedure at a low-cost at their daytime clinic has happened before! I'll also add here a little-known fact to many owners about Banfield- they have an emergency fund for owners who are established with them. If the client qualifies then their pet's medical bills are PAID FOR (by Petsmart.) The funds are very limited and not every Banfield gets the check so don't be surprised if you're turned away!
5. Your local government run animal services/animal control/care center- if your area is a part of the "save 90" program or is very proactive and promoting pet-retention they will hire their veterinarian or find a veterinarian to do payment plans/low cost/ or free veterinary care for your pet. This includes non-government but national private groups such as the National Humane Society, Local Humane Society, ASPCA, and SPCA.
6. Private rescue groups- the rescue I volunteer with has its own fully functional veterinary clinic. It's run by public donations and a huge auction/dinner is held at the hilton for it annually. This year they brought in over 60k in donations from that event alone. They are now able to provide more vet care for more rescued animals, as well as lower vet care to the public. Many local rescues have a running bill with their vet that their vet might otherwise not permit with regular clients, this is because the rescue's discounts are all tax deductible for the veterinarian. If you ask the rescue to get an estimate, then offer to pay them ahead of time for a procedure, they may be willing to put your pet through on their bill.
7. Payment Plans- this is a 50/50 chance of getting a payment plan with your vet. What happens is you pay upfront a certain determined amount. Our emergency department allows payment plans- you have to pay 50% upfront unless otherwise noted by the attending veterinarian. The remaining balance is paid in installments- weekly.
8. Church- If you go to Church, Synagogue, or other religious group, club, function, gym- ask the people in charge to petition donations for your pets needs. Surprisingly, a group of church members paid for one of our patients 5,000 dollar back surgery to repair a herniated disc. They did it all through donations gathered from garage and bake sales.
9. Fundraising- there are websites to raise funds via PayPal. I don't know their links but they have been plastered on my facebook page time and time again. These websites allow ANYONE to donate that visit those websites. A coworker of mine got her sister's funeral and memorial completely paid for by strangers and friend's donations on one of those websites.
10. Social Networking- A client of ours used facebook's networking pages to find a handicapped pet community that accepts all used or new doggy handicapped supplies and donates them to pets in need FREE OF CHARGE. These supplies include things such as: braces, wheelchairs, slings, booties, diapers, etc.
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Old 07-01-2013, 06:04 PM
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we need more homeless vet clinics. i know in boston i found one completely free vet clinic which was awesome. homeless kids and people aren't going to stop having pets instead of people giving them **** for having them, people should start helping them. i agree a lot of homeless people dont give there dogs satisfactory care but also many of these dogs would not get any better care from anyone else.

im homeless with two dogs (that come first always, and always have high quality food ready for them before anything else, and keep up with there shots) and people treat me like **** all the time. but i did not choose my dogs, my dogs chose me. if i were to leave them off there leash and walk away without a word they would fallow me to the end of the world. but when it comes to incidents and health issues that i am not at fault for and cant afford im always stressing to barrow money or seek aid from the people who are responsible, (talking about dog attacks in particular, owners with untrained dogs need to be more responsible please) because finding cheap enough vet care is almost impossible in most states.
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