How to pay your vet bill if you don’t have pet insurance

May 20, 2019 | Pet Health, Pets

“Maggie just came back from the groomers and I called her “Pretty Girl”.  
​”This was the face she made”.

This past weekend was crazy for us.  We spent the entire weekend getting our lawn mowed, shrubs and trees trimmed, and landscape weeded.  We made trips to Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowes for flowers, potting soil and a Weber grill.  The biggest purchase was our new Kubota tractor which makes mowing the grass a breeze!  We took Jake and Maggie with us because it was a long ride and they love bye byes in the car!  The Kubota dealership was a hike from our house so it gave me time to talk about my blog with Thomas.  I had been researching pet insurance and came across an article on ways to find funding if you can’t afford pet insurance.  

When we had Bella, our Pitt/Rottie mix, she lived until 13 years old but had some surgeries and medical issue along the way.  She was a stray from the pound but we loved her with all our hearts and would do anything for her.  She ended up costing us close to $12,000 over the course of her life and we paid every cent of it out of pocket.  

Pet Insurance can be expensive depending on your plan, and if this is something you are thinking about but just can’t afford it right now, here are a few ways to help pay for your vet bill or a pet emergency!  

Holly’s Legacy – a fund for treating dogs with cancer in families experiencing financial need as well as disability or elderliness.

Ella’s Fund – provides grants of up to $1,100 to dog owners in financial need, for dogs with a good prognosis that need life-saving or emergency healthcare. In exchange for the donation, pet owners volunteer their time at an animal-care organization, paying back the loan at a rate of $13.50 per hour.

Consider applying for CareCredit, a healthcare loan that can also be used for pet healthcare. To access charitable funds at some hospitals—for instance at CSU—you have to first show that you have been denied CareCredit or maxed out your account with them.

Look for a veterinary teaching hospital or nonprofit hospital – You can search veterinary colleges by state on the American Veterinary Medical Association’s website, and call your local institution to check. 

RedRover – 
RedRover President and CEO Nicole Forsyth says: “We recommend applying for more than one grant (from different organizations) asking other area clinics for a quote or second opinion, and applying for Care Credit, just to name a few.”  On those resource lists, check for breed-specific dog healthcare funds and condition-specific dog healthcare funds, which are often national and operate outside of hospitals.  Check for state-specific financial assistance programs for pet healthcare.  If there’s no fund designed for your specific situation, RedRover‘s Urgent Care Grants might help. RedRover provides almost 700 grants every year for pets whose owners can’t afford treatment, with an average grant amount of $200.  In 2018, the organization approved 80 percent of applicants who qualified for a grant. Decisions are based on medical urgency, financial need, and other factors.

GoFundMe – Several hospitals and nonprofits have seen clients successfully pay for treatment using crowdfunding sites such as this one.

If you’re considering asking for financial assistance from an animal hospital, here’s the inside track on how they work.
  • You’re most likely to find these funds at a veterinary teaching hospital (see above for details on finding your nearest) or nonprofit animal hospital, such as Animal Medical Center in New York City, the largest nonprofit animal hospital in the world.  In 2018, AMC granted a total of $1.7 million toward pet care for more than 600 pets.
  • The funds are often established by individuals and families who have lost pets, and the founder of the fund often specifies how the money can be used—for instance, there might be a requirement for recipients to complete volunteer work, or a fund might be reserved for particular medical disorders or populations.
  • In order to qualify, you will often have to demonstrate your financial need (for instance by showing that you’ve been denied CareCredit), and your dog might need a good prognosis—though some funds do not factor in prognosis. For instance, all of the funds at CSU’s Flint Animal Cancer Center. Many funds require that treatment be life-saving or based on emergency circumstances, and that treatment is carried out at the hospital in question. Grants are also often capped at $1,000 per pet, though some funds offer more.
  • Funds around the country include Washington State University’s Good Samaritan Fund, which typically offers up to $1,000 for treatment that must be carried out at the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital—and in certain cases, the fund has granted up to $1,300 or $1,500. In the last year, the fund has received 713 applications, of which 168 received funding. The College of Veterinary Medicine at Midwestern University in Glendale, Arizona, also offers a hardship fund, at its Animal Health Institute. For funds in your area, check your local veterinary teaching college.

How You Can Help Other Pet Owners – these funds rely on donations, and sometimes, they don’t receive enough. That means that even if a pet owner qualifies for a grant, there might not be enough money in the fund to pay it. If you’re reading this and you’re not currently experiencing financial hardship, you can help pet owners in need by contacting your local hospital or nonprofit to offer a donation.

“Where’s Jake?”

“The morning sun was coming through the entry way and hitting Jake as he was falling asleep”.  

I hope this has helped you.  It never hurts to call and ask your vet questions.  It’s also important to know that if you decide to get pet insurance, to verify if your vet will take the insurance you have applied for.  

Don’t forget to share with friends.  Never hesitate to ask me questions or make suggestions on a topic you are interested in. I also want to know if you enjoy the recipes I’ve been adding and “Things I’m Loving” which I’ll be posting about in my next blog post.  Do you want to see more dog treat recipes?  Do you want to see more pictures of the dogs or less?  Let me know!!!  

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