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Keep your pets healthy: financial assistance and other options

Something I see nearly every single day in the animal-loving community are requests for aid with veterinary bills. No matter how much someone plans, it seems, emergency, unplanned veterinary bills can be difficult to cover, especially when dealing with life-threatening conditions. Sadly, sometimes pets find themselves surrendered to local animal shelters when desperate owners are unable to provide the medical care their pet requires, thinking that the shelter will provide it. Most shelters cannot provide extensive medical care beyond the basics and spay/neuter services. A sick animal will often end up on the euthanasia list.

Veterinary assistance funds can help pets get needed medical care
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

This scenario does not have to play out in this manner. There are resources for owners that need assistance with veterinary care - but often this information is not known to them. So, every so often, I like to pull together a current list of organizations that can possibly assist in these situations. Many on this list are specifically for assistance for cancer treatment, given the high cost of treating various cancers. Like us, most animals can live through cancer - but the treatment can cost in the thousands of dollars. Each organization has their criteria for selecting recipients, and some require you to utilize their network of physicians, so be sure and thoroughly review each group's requirements before seeking treatment, and don't delay applying. As soon as you realize your pet requires medical treatment that you might be unable to cover, start reaching out!

And for those of you who have healthy pets right now - consider taking out a Care Credit line for use in an emergency - they have long-term, no interest payments in certain circumstances (minimum charges of $100 or $200), or look into pet insurance plans such as Healthy Paws and PetPlan. Pet Insurance has come a long way in recent years, and can be a real life-saving tool in your financial arsenal.

This list is not exhaustive, and there may be local groups in your city that can assist. Check with your local humane society, animal rescues, and county shelters - they may have information on other local resources:

Veterinary Assistance Funds - Grants/Donations

Discounted Veterinary Services (Phoenix Metro Area, Arizona)

Additional reading:

I wish people would realize that animals are totally dependent on us, helpless, like children, a trust that is put upon us. ~James Herriot

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