When disaster strikes, it never comes at a convenient time, we are never fully prepared. The panic, of realizing that you are powerless to stop it, never leaves you. Lurking around every corner, behind every smile, is the fear that it could happen again.
While nearly every waking hour I have is happily devoted to a cause for which I receive no income from, it strikes me, that although my life is entirely devoted to helping animals and the people who care for them, if a disaster were to strike, I wouldn’t have anyone to turn to for help. Fortunately, if I were suddenly faced with a whopper of a vet bill, I would have the option of using a credit card – but only up to a certain point.
But what if I didn’t have that option? What if I were homeless and had pets?
The tragic consequences of poverty
Thousands of animals are sent to shelters and euthanized each year, many because of treatable medical conditions or suffer needlessly because their owners cannot afford expensive surgery or emergency vet visits. No one, no matter how poor, should have to make the heart-breaking decision to euthanize their pet or neglect urgent medical needs because of the costs involved.
Strapped for cash
Sadly, the reality is that charitable animal organizations that might have been able to help simply do not have the money to help all those in need. For this reason, many charities can only accept applications for life threatening pet emergencies and those that don’t qualify are turned away for lack of funds.
Because of the overwhelming number of applications they receive, they cannot help everyone. Charities rely on funds from private donors, from people who are willing to reach out and give someone’s pet the chance they deserve to live a long, healthy life.
If you are one of the fortunate few who are financially stable or just have a few bucks to share, consider making a tax-deductible financial donation to one of the following worthy organizations.
Who knows, maybe someday you may have to depend on the kindness of strangers.
How to get help with veterinary costs
For those that do need help, the first step is to ask your animal hospital or private vet whether they offer a payment plan. Your local humane organization or animal advocacy group also may have information about other groups or organizations in your area that assist pet parents with veterinary bills.
In addition, if you live in a state that has a large college or university with degree programs in veterinary medicine, you may wish to contact the school and department for information about low-cost services they might offer through their programs.
The following organizations provide assistance with emergency situations. Please contact them individually for eligibility information and directions on how to apply for assistance.
Charitable animal welfare organizations
- Animal Compassion Network www.animalcompassionnetwork.org/resource/assistance-veterinary-expenses
- ARF www.arf.intranets.com
- American Animal Hospital Association Helping Pets Fund http://www.healthypet.com/Accreditation/HelpingPetsFund.aspx
- Angels 4 Animals www.angels4animals.org
- Big Hearts Fund http://bigheartsfund.org (heart disease)
- Banfield Charitable Trust www.banfieldcharitabletrust.org/pet-owners/vet-care-assistance
- Brown Dog Foundation www.browndogfoundation.org (prescription medications)
- Buddy Care Foundation www.buddycare.org/eligibility.htm (dogs only)
- Canine Cancer Awareness www.caninecancerawareness.org
- Cats in Crisis www.catsincrisis.org
- Cats in Crisis Mesa Fund www.catsincrisis.org/mesaFund.html (kidney disease)
- Cats in Crisis Stripes Fund www.catsincrisis.org/stripesFund.html (heart and thyroid)
- Cats in Crisis Gillie Fund www.catsincrisis.org/gillieFund.html (neurological conditions and mobility impairments)
- Coalition for Animals http://coalitionforanimals.org
- Cody’s Club www.codysclub.bravehost.com (radiation treatments)
- Corgi Aid www.corgiaid.org
- Diabetic Pets Fund www.petdiabetes.net/fund
- Dougal’s Helping Paw www.welcome.to/dougalsfund (Scottish Terriers, West Highland White Terriers and other small, short-legged terriers)
- Feline Outreach www.felineoutreach.org
- Feline Veterinary Emergency Assistance Program www.fveap.org
- God’s Creatures Veterinary Charity www.allcreatures.org/gcm/help-cf.html
- Good Sam Fund www.goodsamfund.org
- Help-A-Pet www.help-a-pet.org
- Handicapped Pets http://hpets.org
- Hearts United for Animals www.hua.org
- In Memory of Magic www.imom.org
- In Memory of Magic Kitties Fund www.imom.org/funds/crf.htm (cats in chronic renal failure)
- In Memory of Magic Blind Dogs Fund http://www.imom.org (blind dogs)
- Labrador Harbor: labradorharbor.org
- Labrador Life Line www.labradorlifeline.org
- LabMed Rx for Rescued Labs www.labmed.org
- New York Save www.nysave.org
- Pet Food Bank www.petco.com
- Pet Food Stamps petfoodstamps.org
- Pets Are Loving Support www.sonic.net/-pals (for owners with HIV/AIDS)
- Pets of the Homeless www.petsofthehomeless.org (pet food and veterinary care assistance for homeless)
- Pigger’s Pals www.piggerspals.org
- Prince Chunk Foundation http://princechunkfoundation.org
- Pyramedic Trust www.angelfire.com/bc2/pyramedic/summary.html (Great Pyrenees)
- Red Rover www.redrover.org
- Rose’s Fund for Animals www.rosesfund.org
- Shakespeare Animal Fund www.shakespeareanimalfund.org
- Speaking for Spot www.speakingforspot.com/helppayingforveterinarycare.html
- Special Needs Dobermans: www.doberman911.org
- STARescue Aid-a-Pet Grant www.stamfordanimalrescue.org/programs.html
- The Binky Foundation www.binkyfoundation.org
- The Magic Bullet Fund www.themagicbulletfund.org (cancer specific)
- The Mosby Foundation www.themosbyfoundation.org (dogs only)
- The Perseus Foundation www.PerseusFoundation.org (cancer specific)
- The Pet Fund www.thepetfund.com
- The Onyx & Breezy Foundation www.onyxandbreezy.org/questionaire.php
- Top Dog Foundation Bentley Grant www.topdogfoundation.org
- United Animal Nations Lifeline Fund www.uan.org
- Westimed www.westiemed.org (West Highland White Terriers)
Veterinary assistance for working & service dogs
- Helping Harley Cancer Treatment Grant http://grants.landofpuregold.com
- International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP) www.iaadp.org/VCP.html
- Orthodogs’ Silver Lining Foundation www.oslf.org
- The Assistance Dog Special Allowance (ADSA) www.cdss.ca.gov/cdssweb/PG82.htm
Many local humane societies offer low-cost veterinary services and breed rescue groups may be able to offer assistance with medical bills. You can also check with national animal welfare organizations for additional information.
- Alley Cat Allies www.alleycat.org
- American Humane Association www.americanhumane.org
- American Society Prevention Cruelty to Animals www.aspca.org
- Best Friends Animal Society www.bestfriends.org
- Humane Society of the United States www.hsus.org
Last, but not least
Red Rover has compiled one of the most comprehensive directory of organizations in the United States and Canada that can provide financial assistance with veterinary care. This directory includes dozens of grant and loan programs and fundraising tools, and is the most comprehensive resource of its kind online. http://www.redrover.org/node/1199#National_organizations
If you appreciate the work I do, please consider making a donation to Poisoned Pets. It is truly a labor of love, one which I am proud to say is not affiliated in any way with the pet food industry. I do not sell, promote or advertise any pet products, nor will I ever do so. I rely entirely on the kindness of strangers – pet parents like you. On that note, please click here and donate today!