When your pet needs surgery, especially a life-saving procedure, your concern focuses on the health and comfort of your pet. But as a pet owner, you also have to think about the financial responsibility of paying for the surgery. Without pet insurance, the cost of a surgery may be hundreds, even thousands, of dollars. Luckily, you can take advantage of several ways to finance or subsidise the cost of your pet's surgery. Your diligence in pursuing these resources can help you afford to give your pet the important surgery she needs.
Obtaining Accurate Estimates
Start by obtaining an accurate estimate of the costs you will incur. While time may be lacking when your pet faces an emergency, get as much from the veterinarian in writing as possible, as almost all foundations that provide assistance will require this type of documentation.
Lifeline grants are one of the many online financial grants for pet owners.
One source of financial help for the cost of surgery for a pet is an online grant. Several foundations and non-profit organisations offer assistance to pet owners who cannot afford live-saving treatment for their dog or cat. These online grant forms generally require that you complete an application, include documentation of estimated expenses and obtain a veterinary signature or endorsement. Generally, payment is made directly to the veterinarian, not to the pet owner. A list of these funding organisations appears in the Resources listed below.
Direct Online Fundraising
As a pet owner, you may also consider raising funds directly for the cost of your pet's surgery. Several programs are available to raise funds online, but the two most popular are ChipIn and Fundable. As an individual, you may set a fundraising goal based on the estimated cost of the surgery. The programs allow you to customise your fundraising pages and to create widgets and donate buttons that you can forward to family and friends and post on social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. These programs allow you to alert your friends and family to your pet's needs and potentially generate donations to help cover the veterinary expenses.
Care Credit for Pets
Care Credit provides an option for pet owners to finance veterinary expenses.
Care Credit, the largest such company in the United States, provides lines of credit for medical and health-care expenses. Veterinary expenses for pets also qualify for financing with Care Credit. While you will be required to submit an application and qualify based on your credit worthiness, Care Credit does offer an alternative way to finance your pet's surgery. Once you are approved for the Care Credit line of credit for veterinary expenses, you will never have to reapply, as long as you keep your account in good standing.
Payment Plans at Your Veterinarian
Talk to your veterinarian about working out a payment plan. Most veterinarians, primarily concerned about the welfare of your pet, will do everything they can to help you afford the medical care your pet needs. Ask the business manager of the veterinary clinic if you can agree to a scheduled payment plan, so that your pet can receive the surgery she needs. If your vet is unwilling to work out a payment plan, and none of the other available assistance programs can help you, you should consider talking with another veterinarian regarding cost and payment options. In the event that you find that you cannot provide for the medical treatment for your pet, contact local rescue and adoption organisations. Often, these groups will accept their pet into their program and provide the needed medical care if you willingly surrender ownership of your pet. Giving up your pet, while a sad loss for you, is a better option than having your pet suffer or be euthanized because of lack of veterinary care.