Free or Low Cost Veterinary Care: Healthy pets are happy pets. Access to veterinary services is important for all pets, but that can be challenging for low-income families. In this article, we’ll talk about the ways you can find a cheap vet near you that won’t cost you a fortune.
At times pets can be quite an expense, as you probably already know. But aside from feeding, grooming, and buying all of the necessary expenses, it’s almost certain there comes a time when your pet needs to go to the vet’s office.
And with some vet bills easily reaching into the hundreds of dollars, if not thousands, I can understand why many have a hard time affording the bill.
How To Get A Cheap Veterinary Care
Local Veterinary School
A local veterinary school, much like a dental school or even beauty school, can offer the same services your local vet office offers but at a discounted rate. Schools offer these lower rates as an incentive to bring your pets in so that the students can learn while on the job.
And yes, while your pet will be taken care of by a current veterinary student, all procedures will be carefully monitored by an experienced veterinarian, so your pet will be in good hands. It’s going to be just as good as a local vet’s office.
For one, veterinary schools are often spread thin, simply meaning that you may have to drive 100+ miles to find a university. Most states only have one accredited veterinary school as you can see in my table below.
Secondly, the wait list could be quite long as hundreds of other people could be looking for care as well. As you imagine, this isn’t a great scenario if your pet needs help right away. This isn’t always the case, however.
Consider a National Organization
There are a variety of national organizations that may help you with your vet care. However, you should keep in mind that each of these organizations is independently owned and have their own rules and guidelines.
These organizations include;
AVMF Veterinary Care Charitable Fund
Created by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation. This fund was designed to provide veterinarians with a simple way to help their clients who are facing personal hardships.
Now, this fund doesn’t provide funding to individuals; rather, requests must come directly from a licensed AVMF member veterinarian.
Big Hearts Fund
As the name implies, the Big Hearts Fund helps with financial assistance for pets diagnosed or currently undergoing canine and feline heart disease-related procedures only.
Brown Dog Foundation
The Brown Dog Foundation is a 501c3 public charity that helps provide funding to families who find themselves dealing with unforeseen circumstances with a sick pet that could respond well to treatment and cannot afford their vet bill.
Diabetic Cats In Need
Diabetic Cats In Need has been helping diabetic cats since 2009. On a mission to keep diabetic cats in their original homes, regardless of income levels, you can request help via the organization’s assistance program, getting help with insulin, testing supplies and limited vet care.
Founded in 2013, Dylan’s Hearts will help pet owners in need as long as their pet has a life-threatening, critical injury and/or illness that requires a specific treatment. Applicants are only accepted through an attending veterinarian, with the applicant agreeing to provide updates and photos of the animal as treatment continues.
As a non-profit charity organization, the Feline Veterinary Emergency Assistance provides emergency assistance to cat and kitten owners who cannot afford veterinary services.
In order to be qualified for funding assistance, qualifications must be met, all of which you can view via the official website.
Since 2006, Frankie’s Friends has been dedicated to finding cures and saving pets with cancer and other life-threatening conditions.
Financial assistance grants are available to family-owned pets in desperate need of lifesaving emergency or specialty vet care whose caregivers cannot afford full treatment.
Friends and Vets Helping Pets
Friends and Vets Helping Pets, a non-profit organization that receives no state or federal funding, helps pet owners whose income is extremely limited.
Striving to help as many families as possible, they ask that you’re prepared to show financial need. People are interested in receiving a grant can complete and submit the Initial Qualification Form at friendsandvetshelpingpets.org.
God’s Creatures Ministry
God’s Creatures Ministry gets many requests for help and cannot send more than $50 when they do have the money, but they do encourage you to fundraise in your area.
Handicapped Pets Foundation
The Handicapped Pets Foundation is dedicated to the health and well-being of elderly, disabled and injured pets, donating wheelchairs to pets in need.
Harley’s Hope Foundation
The Harley’s Hope Foundation offers financial assistance to help assist with any emergency or major veterinary care, behavioral training and/or specialty training.
Qualified candidates must complete an application and submit proof of financial need. As per the foundation’s website, they do note that funds are available for treatment only.
Hope Mending Hearts
Hope Mending Hearts provides financial assistance grants to pet owners, with the typical grant ranging anywhere from $100 to $200.
Decisions, as per the foundation, are based upon a variety of factors, including the medical urgency, available funding, pet eligibility and your financial status.
Ian Somerhalder Foundation
In specific cases, individuals who rescued an animal within the last three months may apply for a grant as long as you meet the eligibility requirements. All animals MUST come from a rescue situation and can be received no later than three months following the adoption. .
International Association of Assistance Dog Partners
If considering this organization, ALL requests must be made by your veterinarian as a written pre-authorization is required. No more that one request per quarter, with each request meeting the $200 per grant request.
For more information on qualifications and how your veterinarian can apply, visit iaadp.org.
Joshua Louis Animal Cancer Foundation
The Joshua Louis Animal Cancer Foundation, an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was created to help families in need whose pet currently has cancer. And since the organization is a group of volunteers, almost all donations go directly to the animals.
Magic Bullet Fund
If your dog has cancer and cannot afford the treatment, then the Magic Bullet Fund may be able to help, but assistance is for cancer treatment fees and dogs only. To read more about the organization as well as the restrictions, refer to this application page.
The Mosby Foundation helps take care of critically sick, injured, abused and neglected dogs through financial support. There is no help for diagnostics, general and/or routine vet, however. Follow the link to apply and read the organization’s guidelines.
Onyx & Breezy Foundation
According to the official website, the Onyx & Breezy Foundation provides funding and support for a variety of options, including food, medicine, supplies, medical hardship and so much more. 100% of ALL contributions will be directed to help fulfill the goals of the foundation.
Paws 4 a Cure
Paws 4 a Cure is a nonprofit organization that helps pet owners all over the United States who cannot afford veterinary care. To download an application and learn more about their organization, you can do so at Paws4aCure.org.
Pet Assistance, Inc.
PAi aims to keep pets in their home, even in times of medical crises. And since it’s a lot cheaper to pay emergency vet bills than send a pet off to a shelter, this top-rated non-profit organization can help provide financial aid based on the urgency, prognosis and financial need.
The Pet Fund was founded in 2003 as a nonprofit dedicated to pet owners who could not afford veterinary care. As of now, they only work with pet owners seeking non-basic, non-urgent care help. This include cancer treatment, chronic conditions, endocrine diseases, eye diseases, etc.
Pets of the Homeless
Pets of the Homeless is the only national organization that’s able to help feed and provide vet care to pets of the homeless. If you’re currently homeless, it could a wonderful organization to contact.
Pit Bulls Against Misinformation
Even though pit bull is in the name, this organization does help dogs of any breed. While the organization’s primary function to help cover the costs of a life saving veterinary procedure, they may be able to help with euthanasia or a spay/neuter as well.
Riedel & Cody Fund
The Riedel & Cody Fund helps dogs and cats with a cancer diagnosis and only fund chemotherapy and radiation treatments at this moment. You can learn more about this organization at RiedelCody.org.
RedRover helps animals from a variety of situations, including disasters, neglect, domestic violence and animals with life-threatening illnesses. With a few grant options available, financial assistance is available for lifesaving care to those who qualify.
The main goal of Rose’s Fund to help as many pet owners as possible with much assistance as necessary. The fund helps with life-threatening illnesses and injuries; an illness, injury or condition that requires immediate medical attention; or a veterinarian’s prognosis that indicates a positive outcome.
Shakespeare Animal Fund
The Shakespeare Animal Fund primarily offers funds to those on a fixed income or below the general federal poverty guidelines. You can review the application and guidelines at ShakespeareAnimalFund.org.
SpayUSA connects pet owners with more than 1,500 low-cost clinics and sterilization programs throughout the United States. While this organization cannot help you financially, they can help refer you to the right clinic in your area with their free search tool. Use this tool if you’re looking for a low-cost spay/neuter option.
1. What should I expect when I pick up my pet?
You will receive written discharge instructions and all needed medications when you pick up. Depending on your pet’s procedure, they may/may not be mildly sedate when you pick them up. If your pet is having surgery, the area will be shaved.
2.. Why don’t veterinarians diagnose and/or prescribe over the phone and save you time?
For the same reason, a medical doctor won’t, it’s both unethical and illegal. Without physically examining an animal, it’s impossible for the veterinarian to come up with an accurate diagnosis and rational plan of treatment.
3. How do we determine desexing prices?
The prices we charge for desexing cats and dogs are based on the quality and amount of services we provide for your pet.
Always make sure you read the qualifications as these organizations are very strict as to who they can help. Also, make sure you can prove your financial situation as well to greatly increase your odds of receiving a grant.
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