Learning your dog has a devastating disease requiring surgery is difficult enough; coming up with a large sum of money on short notice is impossible for some people. Veterinarians normally will not begin treatment until the question of finances has been settled.
Begin With the Clinic
Dog image by yellowj from Fotolia.com
Ask the clinic administrator if you can set up a monthly payment plan. This may work especially if you have a long-standing relationship with the clinic. Offer to set up an automatic payment plan directly from your bank account to demonstrate your intention to pay. If the administrator does not authorize a payment plan, she may be able to point you towards some promising resources; surely she has dealt with this before.
Care Credit is a credit card company specializing in health and medical services. They offer low-cost financing as well as low monthly payments for everything from routine check-ups and food to emergency surgery. If you apply during a promotional period, you can avoid finance charges altogether.
Red Rover, formerly United Animal Nations, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that has a number of programs to assist animals. They offer grants to assist with emergency surgeries for domestic animals. In order to apply you must have a diagnosis and treatment plan. You can apply for assistance online at uan.org.
Breed- or Disease-Specific Resources
There are a number of organizations dedicated to helping pets afflicted with specific diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart or kidney disease and neurological problems. One such organization is the Dog & Cat Cancer Fund, which assists pets with cancer surgery and treatments. Breed clubs may offer assistance for owners of pets who are members of a specific breed. Check with your local breed club or online for a national breed club.
Raise funds on your own through online fund-raising programs such as Fundrazr on Facebook, or Chipin, Gofundme or Giveforward. Let your friends and family members in on your dilemma and ask for small donations from them. Ask your church or civic group to put out a donation jar to collect donations. Check with your local media to see if they would be willing to run a story to ask the community for help. Ask local animal groups if they know of any foundations who assist with pet medical bills where you can apply for a grant.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Michelle A. Rivera is the author of many books and articles. She attended the University of Missouri Animal Cruelty School and is certified with the Florida Animal Control Association. She is the executive director of her own nonprofit, Animals 101, Inc. Rivera is an animal-assisted therapist, humane educator, former shelter manager, rescue volunteer coordinator, dog trainer and veterinary technician.