A growing number of Americans are seeking financial assistance due to their pet’s illness. Larger veterinary bills, such as cancer treatments and cardiac surgeries, are often too much for pet lovers to bear alone.
Pet assistance for low-income families
Here are 10 organizations that offer financial aid to pet owners who qualify.
1. The Magic Bullet Fund
The Magic Bullet Fund works with partner shelters in the United States and Canada to help low-income families keep their pets by providing financial assistance. They also provide training and education on how to care for pets.
2. The Pet Fund
The Pet Fund is a nonprofit organization that works to help low-income families afford veterinary care for their pets. The foundation has provided more than $3 million in assistance and has given out more than 1,000 grants since it was founded in 2003.
RedRover provides emergency financial assistance to pet owners or caregivers who are struggling to provide food, shelter and veterinary care for their animals. RedRover also offers counseling services for victims of domestic violence who have pets.
4. The Brown Dog Foundation
The Brown Dog Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to low-income pet owners and dogs in need of lifesaving treatments. They offer grants for emergency vet care, including surgery and medication, to help keep pets healthy and happy. The average grant amount is $500, and grants are available for dogs and cats of all ages.
CareCredit offers a credit card designed specifically for medical expenses. It allows consumers to purchase items or services and pay them off over time. The card can be used at any time during the year, but it’s important to remember that interest charges start accruing immediately after your purchase is made.
The ASPCA provides financial assistance to pet owners who cannot afford the cost of their pet’s emergency medical treatment. The organization also has a database of programs that offer financial aid for pet owners on its website.
7. The Humane Society
The Humane Society also maintains a database of resources for pet owners in need, including financial assistance programs and information about low-cost veterinary care options.
8. Veterinary Care Charitable Fund
The AVMF Veterinary Care Charitable Fund was established to provide financial assistance for veterinary care. The AVMF is the charitable arm of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). One of the roles of the AVMF is to help veterinarians and veterinary students in times of need.
The AVMF Veterinary Care Charitable Fund provides grants to pet owners and Good Samaritans who are caring for animals in need. Grants are provided through veterinary practices based on the needs of each application.
Sites like GoFundMe let you create fundraising campaigns for yourself or others to raise money for medical costs and other expenses. You can use crowdfunding sites to raise money for yourself, your family members, and animals in your care that need veterinary treatment.
10. Payment plans
When you first learn that your pet needs serious medical care, talk to your veterinarian about payment options. Many veterinarians will work with you to arrange a reasonable payment plan. Some clinics offer discounts for cash payments and/or provide reduced rates for people who can’t afford full-service treatment. Some veterinarians may also provide follow-up care or prescription medicine free or at a reduced cost if they know you can’t afford it.
If your veterinarian doesn’t offer these services, he or she may know of a clinic in your area that does offer discounted services that could help you with payment arrangements.
Why do vets charge so much money?
Veterinary bills can be extremely expensive and, sometimes, leave you wondering why the bill was so high. It’s important to understand that your veterinarian has spent a lot of money on his or her education and training (and will continue to do so in order to stay on top of the latest advances in veterinary medicine) and is running a business just like any other business owner.
Veterinarians have many expenses including:
- Professional school loans – A veterinarian goes to college for four years and then receives an additional four years of professional education at a veterinary school where they obtain their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (DVM). Many veterinarians have $100,000 or more in student loan debt by the time they graduate from veterinary school.
- Office space – Just like any other business, veterinarians have rent or mortgage payments. They also have utility bills, taxes, building maintenance costs, and insurance premiums.
- Staff wages – Veterinarians employ licensed veterinary technicians, receptionists, and assistants whose job is to help them provide quality veterinary care while keeping clients happy. These employees typically receive benefits such as vacation time, sick days, health insurance, and retirement plans.
- Equipment – Veterinarians must provide the latest equipment in order to properly diagnose and treat their patients. We have multiple ultrasound machines, an MRI machine, several x-ray machines, etc.
Can I get help to pay the vet bills?
Yes. There are a number of options for assistance if you can’t afford your pet’s medical bills.
Asking your veterinarian for payment plans and discounts is a good way to go, but there are other sources of help as well.
Veterinarians often offer their own payment plans or discount programs. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) says that 80 percent of its members offer some kind of in-house payment plan, and most will work with customers to keep pets healthy without breaking the bank.
Some AAHA-accredited practices have gone even further and set up charitable funds to help clients cover big expenses when they can’t afford them. The funds are typically set up by individual veterinarians or veterinary hospitals and rely on funding from donations.
Many nonprofits provide grants or interest-free loans to pet owners who need financial assistance for veterinary care for their dogs or cats.
If you’re an animal rescue organization or know about one that offers financial assistance for pet owners with no income or very low income, please post information about it in the comments below.
Some vets do offer various financing options, with varying levels of interest rates and down payments required. The best thing to do is to call your vet directly and ask if they offer a payment plan. If they don’t, they may direct you to another vet who does.
What happens if I can’t afford the vet bill?
If you don’t have pet insurance, and your cat or dog needs emergency medical treatment, the cost of that treatment can be financially crippling.
If you are not able to pay the vet bill in full, ask the clinic what payment arrangements they can offer you. Most vets will be happy to accept a large down payment and then small payments over time. Some even offer interest-free payment plans and accept credit cards.
You may also be able to get a loan through CareCredit. This company offers no-interest payment plans for medical bills, including vet bills. You can apply for care credit online or at most major veterinary clinics.
There are also charities that may help with veterinary expenses in certain situations. The RedRover Relief program offers financial aid grants of up to $500 per family per year to pet owners who need help paying for their pet’s emergency veterinary care. The Pet Fund offers financial assistance with non-basic (i.e., non-routine) veterinary care only after all other resources have been exhausted, but it does not cover preventive care, such as vaccinations.
Conclusion of vet financial assistance
In conclusion, there are many resources for veterinary financial assistance. The most important thing is to be prepared. If you have a pet, make sure you are financially prepared for the possibility of treating your animals with unexpected illnesses or injuries. In addition, make sure that you do your research and look for the best financial assistance programs for your needs and situation.
Please note: this article is not meant as an endorsement of any of these programs, but rather as a collection of information to help pet owners find the financial assistance they need when they need it most.