Affordable vet care for senior pet owners
The Savvy SeniorFebruary 1, 2011 | 2,126 views | Post a comment
Dear Savvy Senior,
Are there any resources that can help senior pet owners with their veterinary bills? I have a dog and two cats that mean the world to me, but the vet care has become too expensive. What can you tell me?
Living On A Budget
Struggling with the high cost of veterinary care is a common problem for millions of pet owners today, especially seniors living on a tight budget. Routine medical care can cost hundreds of dollars, while urgent/specialized treatments and procedures can run into the thousands. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to reduce your vet bills without sacrificing your pet’s health.
One way to save some money is to shop around and compare costs. Call different vet clinics in your area and get price quotes on basic services like annual exams and vaccinations, as well as bigger-ticket items like to repair a broken leg, and be sure to ask for references too. Also, check to see if you live near a veterinary medical school (see veterinaryschools.com for a listing). Many schools provide low-cost care to limited income pet owners.
Work With Your Vet
See if your vet’s office accepts payment plans. Some clinics accept monthly payments so that you don’t have to pay the entire cost up front. Also, find out if your vet offers discounts to senior citizens or reduces fees for annual checkups if you bring in multiple pets.
It’s also suggested that if your vet prescribes an expensive treatment for your pet, it’s a smart idea to get a second opinion. It will cost you another consultation fee, but another vet may have other, less expensive ways to treat your pet.
Search for Low-Cost Care
Many municipal and nonprofit animal shelters offer free or low-cost spaying and neutering programs and vaccinations, and some work with local vets who are willing to provide care at reduced prices for low-income and senior citizen pet owners. Call your local shelter or humane society to find out what’s available in your area.
Find Financial Assistance
There are a wide variety of “veterinary care assistance programs” that provide financial assistance to help people in need pay their vet bills. To locate these programs, the U.S. Humane Society provides a listing of national and state programs on their website at you can access at www.humanesociety.org/petfinancialaid.
Another good resource is the American Animal Hospital Association’s “Helping Pets Fund” (www.aahahelpingpets.org , 866-443-5738). In order to qualify, your animal hospital must be AAHA accredited, and your vet will need to submit an application requesting assistance on your behalf. To find an AAHA accredited hospital near you visit healthypet.com.
Buy Cheaper Medicine
Medicine purchased at the vet’s office is usually much more expensive that you can get online. Instead, get a prescription from your vet (ask for generic is possible) so you can shop for the best price. Good deals can be found at sites like 1800petmeds.com (800-738-6337) or absolutelypets.com (888-511-7387). Or, see discountpetmedicines.com, a resource that has links to sites that offer lower-priced medications. Ask the vet if he or she has free samples they can give you.
If you can afford it, pet insurance is another option worth looking into. You can get a basic policy for under $10 per month, and some insurers offer discounts for insuring multiple pets. See petinsurancereview.com to compare policies. Membership discount plans like Pet Assure ( petassure.com ) are another way to save, but you’ll need to use a vet in their network.
Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC “Today” show and author of The Savvy Senior book. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit http://SavvySenior.org .
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
South Texas Living Archives
Apple Pie readers help Julia fill in the blanks (September 21, 2016)
Cheap cell phone plans for seniors (September 21, 2016)
Come And Take It starts Sept. 30 (September 21, 2016)
Disc water pitcher (September 21, 2016)
DRT chapter plans meeting, new member class (September 21, 2016)
Get ready to grill at show barn’s barbecue cook-off (September 21, 2016)
Old Town Day seeks vendors (September 21, 2016)
Poth VFD to serve up barbecued chicken (September 21, 2016)
Run and shine at Neon Sizzle 5K (September 21, 2016)
Spots open for Community Yard Sale (September 21, 2016)
St. Mary’s Fall Festival Sept. 25 (September 21, 2016)
Support FUMC youth at barbecue ‘fun’ raiser (September 21, 2016)
Teen MOPS plans upcoming meetings (September 21, 2016)
The root of many evils (September 21, 2016)
Uncovering local legends: The grave in the middle of the road (September 21, 2016)
URBAN-15 seeks dancers, drummers (September 21, 2016)
Chicago Cub yearbooks (September 14, 2016)
Enjoy Country Music Show Sept. 20 (September 14, 2016)
How to prevent falls at home (September 14, 2016)
Krawietz family reunion (September 14, 2016)
La Vernia EMS plans Car Show (September 14, 2016)
Labatt Club donates to library, children (September 14, 2016)
Low voices and high hopes (September 14, 2016)
Lutheran Church plans Sausage Dinner (September 14, 2016)
Medicaid covers mosquito repellent to fight Zika (September 14, 2016)
Metting family plans reunion (September 14, 2016)
Non-prescription drugs — the forgotten solution to rising health-care costs (September 14, 2016)
Relay For Life meeting is Sept. 15 (September 14, 2016)
Seguin Cowboy Gathering is Sept. 17 (September 14, 2016)
Smith Gas celebrates 88 years in business (September 14, 2016)
The life of Doris Billimek Moczygemba (September 14, 2016)
Trail ride donations surpass $1M (September 14, 2016)
Visit Remembering Our Fallen exhibit in Seguin (September 14, 2016)
Who will take care of you? (September 14, 2016)
A life shaped by hard work and hunting (September 7, 2016)
After-Dinner Chocolates (September 7, 2016)
Cajun music Sept. 10 (September 7, 2016)
Donate hearing aids, glasses, equipment (September 7, 2016)
Earn a certification in native landscaping (September 7, 2016)
Enjoy EquestFest 2016 (September 7, 2016)
Getting Engaged? How to spend wisely (September 7, 2016)
Mystery box (September 7, 2016)
Nominate a nonprofit for Literacy Award (September 7, 2016)
Old medicine chest dates back to 1821 (September 7, 2016)
Professional bull riding returns to Fredericksburg (September 7, 2016)
Register to run for tacos Oct. 1 (September 7, 2016)
Road Runners plan September outings (September 7, 2016)
Still time to buy tickets for Wild Game Dinner (September 7, 2016)
Take a tour of SS museum Sept. 17 (September 7, 2016)
Take the H-E-B Slim Down challenge (September 7, 2016)
Vote for top flick at Manhattan Short Film Festival (September 7, 2016)
Welcome to The Greenline, a 43-acre linear park (September 7, 2016)
‘Cupping’ long before Phelps did it (September 7, 2016)