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How to get financial assistance with veterinary care: The ultimate resource

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

Veterinary assistance for working & service dogs

Humane Societies

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.

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

BTW…

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!

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Special note: This directory is provided as a resource and does not imply the endorsement, recommendation and/or approval of any of any of the organizations listed within it. I cannot guarantee that any of the organizations listed will be able to help you in your specific situation, but at least it is a place to start. And perhaps they can suggest another charity or other solution I don’t know about.

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Poisoned Pets is made possible by the generous donations from readers like you. Thank you.

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Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and advisor to AAFCO. Help support her work by making a donation today.

Comments (4) Write a comment

  1. I was just debating the unthinkable…yesterday in tears and feeling so hopeless. My English bulldog is suffering and every day in more excruciating pain then the last…i didn’t know what i might have to do. His last surgery was almost $4000 which my whole family pitched in for and now he needs another..including his daily meds for his skin condition, I cant even fathom a day without him. He counts on me. I don’t want to lose him…and I came across your listings!!! I feel the hope back and feel the sunshine again. Thank you so much and I am going to make those calls and applications. Will keep you posted

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  2. Thank you for this comprehensive list. Although financial considerations do in fact prevail for many pet guardians, an education about the importance of food as you try to do is an important component of ensuring for their long term welfare. This is an issue that could be addressed at a federal level as well: if the government can fund “flood insurance” that in so many instances subsidizes homeowners in wealthy communities who insist on building and living in places that are dangerous and inappropriate, why can’t we establish something similar for low income families who want to take animals into their lives?

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  3. Mollie, this is so wonderful, thank you so much for posting this. I greatly in need of getting my Chihuahua Mia medical care. I am concerned she has Diabetes, Cushings and I know she has a Heart murmur that has gotten much worse. We are struggling financially and have not been able to get her the urgent care she needs, so these different links are wonderful. thanks so much! Laurie Cederstrom Matson

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