Getting financial help with your pets medical expenses – Part 1

Cost of veterinary care continues to rise, even as the economy falters. Pets suffer medical emergencies and need treatment just like their human family members. Sadly, some families face the difficult choice of euthanasia for a pet with a treatable, but expensive medical problem. There are options available to help offset the high cost of veterinary care.

~Charities~

There are foundations and funds established solely for the purpose of assisting with extraordinary veterinary expenses. Most are funded by grants or private donations. These non-profits establish guidelines based on income.

“American Animal Hospital Association Fund provides need based assistance for emergency and non routine veterinary expenses.

In Memory of Magic, IMOM.ORG is funded by private donations and grants. In Memory of Magic helps offset extraordinary veterinary costs for pet owners. Founded in 1998 upon the simple principal that lack of money should not determine the medical outcome for pets, IMOM issues grant matching or partially matching funds for needy pet owners.

“The Pet Fund is a private charity dedicated to providing assistance for non emergency veterinary costs associated with chronic illnesses. The Pet Fund does not give money directly to individuals, but instead its income based assistance is sent to the treating veterinarian. The Pet Fund makes determinations based on income.

“Help a Pet is an Illinois based charity funded by private donations. It assists persons with disabilities, senior citizens and children of the working poor with veterinary expenses for their pets.

“Labrador Lifeline provides need based assistance for Labrador retriever dogs. Veterinary care, boarding and other emergency expenses are funded through grants to the care provider.

~Other charitable sources:~

Breed and Kennel Clubs. If your pet is a registered purebred, check with your breed club. Many breed clubs provide assistance for veterinary expenses if an owner of their particular breed is unable to afford care.

Veterinary Colleges: If your pet is being treated at a veterinary college find out if there is a discount available if the college accepts your pet as a teaching case. Also, many colleges have foundations that provide grants for veterinary care so speak with the practice manager to find out about funding sources.

~Insurance~

Pet health insurance is becoming popular as veterinary costs rise. Most insurance plans partially reimburse members for veterinary expenses. Members pay a monthly premium based on the pet’s breed and age. The largest pet insurance carrier in the United States is “VPI, Veterinary Pet Insurance. Discuss available coverage with your veterinarian and ask friends for referrals to their insurance carriers.

~Loans~

“Care Credit provides no interest or very low interest loans to cover veterinary expenses. The veterinary practice must be a member in order for its clients to apply for Care Credit.

~Family and Friends~

If all else fails, send an email to your friends and family. Explain the situation and how medical treatment will save your pet’s life. Include pictures and your paypal account email address. Ask for that your contacts forward your email to anyone they think might be willing to help. While begging can be embarrassing, a little humble pie is certainly worth it when the life of a family member is at stake.

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