Veterinary bills can be unpredictable, and they can quickly spiral out of control. The average veterinary bill per pet in the US ranges from $300 to $1000.
Charities for help with vet bills
Here is a list of all the top organizations that provide financial help for vet bills.
1. Free Funder
This is a website similar to charitable fundraising sites. Anyone can create their own free fundraising page and Free Funder will donate up to $70 depending on shares of your page.
All you need to do is provide some basic information and details of your pet’s illness. Your fundraising page is instantly shareable on all social media platforms to reach as many people as possible.
2. Magic Bullet Fund
This organization is focused on pets who have been diagnosed with cancer. Magic Bullet Fund provides financial assistance to owners who can show that a veterinarian has assessed their pet and given a cancer diagnosis.
They will create a fundraising page on your behalf and any money raised is sent directly to your vet.
3. Paws 4 A Cure
This non-profit organization offers grants of up to $500 towards bills for approved treatments. They do not offer financial assistance for basic care such as spaying or neutering.
RedRover is a nonprofit organization that helps animals escape from domestic abuse and also helps with the cost of vet bills for families in financial hardship. It’s possible to receive up to $700 per grant from RedRover if you’re eligible.
5. The Mosby Foundation
The Mosby Foundation is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization that helps cover veterinarian costs for families who are struggling financially after a natural disaster or personal crisis. You must provide proof of your financial situation along with proof of ownership of your pet in order to apply.
6. Harley’s Hope Foundation
The Harley’s Hope Foundation offers help with medical bills when they’re beyond a family’s ability to pay, as well as financial assistance for senior citizens and injured veterans who can’t afford care for their pets. The foundation will only accept applications from residents of Colorado at this time.
7. Dylan’s Hearts
The goal of Dylan’s Hearts is to help families who cannot afford the cost of emergency surgery for their pets. This charity was started in honor of Dylan, a sweet and lovable pup who had to be put to sleep because his family could not afford critical surgery. The organization raises funds through donations and events.
The ASPCA works year-round on animal issues and offers a specific kind of assistance to low-income pet owners who need financial assistance for vet bills. The organization provides grants for spaying and neutering pets, as well as care for sick or injured pets. Pet owners can search their database to see if they qualify for assistance with vet bills or other services.
The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals is a charity running animal clinics throughout the UK. They offer subsidized or free treatment for pet owners in receipt of benefits such as housing benefits or income support.
10. Dog’s Trust
This is a rehoming charity with centers right across the country. As well as rehoming dogs, they also run the Hope Project, for pet owners who are homeless. They offer free flea and worming treatments, microchipping and neutering. They may also cover essential medication or emergency treatment.
11. Blue Cross
In England and Wales, the Blue Cross offers financial support for low-income families, provided they live within the catchment area of its animal clinics. Support is means-tested to ensure people receive the appropriate level of help.
Although the coronavirus pandemic has put significant strain on veterinary hospitals, charities and non-profit organizations are still doing all they can to help animals in need.
Nobody ever wants to see their pet sick or injured and pet insurance is too expensive for many people. These charities offer a lifeline when it is needed most to ensure that pets receive the care they deserve.
CareCredit is a credit card that can be used for veterinary bills as well as other medical expenses.
The company offers low-interest plans and may also be able to extend no-interest payment options for up to 24 months for qualified applicants. CareCredit also has a database where you can search for participating veterinarians in your area.
Interest rates start at about 26 percent and go up from there, but they will vary with your credit history. If you pay off the full balance within six months, you won’t pay interest; otherwise, you’ll pay interest on the whole balance. That makes this an expensive way to finance vet bills — unless you can manage to pay off the balance within six months.
How do I cover an unexpected vet bill?
There are three main options for financing an unexpected vet bill: personal loans, credit cards, and crowdfunding.
Personal loans are one of the most common ways to finance any kind of expense — including vet bills. You can apply for a personal loan at most major banks or through an online lender. You’ll usually need good credit to qualify for a personal loan, but if you do qualify, it’s often possible to get same-day funding so you can bring your pet in for treatment right away.
Using a credit card is one of the best ways to cover unexpected bills. Credit cards let you spread out payments over time. But if you use them incorrectly, they can also drive up your debt and make things worse in the long run. So if you choose this option, make sure that you pay off the amount in full each month so that you don’t accrue interest on the balance.
You may be able to crowdfund money from friends and family members through sites like GoFundMe. With these sites, you create a fundraising page describing your situation and how much money you need, and people can donate funds toward the goal.
Can you negotiate vet bills?
Sometimes, yes. But the key to successful negotiations is to approach the situation with compassion and a desire to find a resolution that is fair for both parties.
If you’re faced with a steep vet bill, here are some things you can do:
Call other vets in your area. Yes, you should start by calling around to see if any other veterinarian practices in your area charge less for the same service or procedure. You may not get a better price, but it’s worth asking about. And even if you don’t save money overall, negotiating might get you some free extras thrown into your bill — like a free exam or discounted medications.
Find out what payment options are available. Many veterinary practices offer options such as CareCredit or ScratchPay to help clients who are struggling with large bills. Some practices also have payment plans that allow clients to make regular payments over time until their bill is paid in full. In some cases, veterinarians may waive fees for future visits as part of a negotiated settlement of an unpaid bill.
What happens if I can’t afford the vet bill?
The best thing you can do is to call the office and talk to them about what’s going on. Explain that you want to do whatever is necessary to save your pet, but don’t think you can afford the bill in full. Ask if they can work with you on payment arrangements or a payment plan, or if they will discount the bill in any way.
Many vets are willing to see pets on a sliding scale or at reduced rates for senior citizens or those who are struggling financially. Some clinics even offer free veterinary care through volunteer veterinarians.
Why are vet bills so expensive?
The practice of veterinary medicine is often more complex than the practice of human medicine, and the prices reflect that. When you take your dog or cat to the veterinarian, you can expect to pay for a higher degree of expertise and for medications, equipment, and supplies that are not as accessible in human medicine.
The cost of providing care also varies widely depending on where you live, the type of animal you have, and their age. For example, most veterinarians charge higher fees for treating exotic pets, such as birds and reptiles, because they require specialized knowledge and equipment. In addition, a veterinarian with hospital facilities may charge more than a mobile practice that comes to your home.
The cost of training a veterinarian is also high. Veterinary schools are expensive to attend and are in high demand. It can take years to become board-certified in some specialties. All this contributes to higher costs for veterinary services.
Many veterinarians have invested in costly technology that allows them to diagnose and treat problems quickly and accurately. Computers are now standard equipment at most offices, and many veterinarians have installed digital X-ray machines that give them instant results. Ultrasound machines can detect pregnancy, bladder stones, or other problems in many animals, and MRIs allow vets to see inside an animal’s brain or spine without invasive surgery (although these machines aren’t widely available yet).