Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Financial Aid for Vet Visits: Options and Ideas

This week, my little Pearl, a tiny chihuahua, got very ill. She started coughing and could not stop. I mean, she could barely take a breath. I suspected kennel cough was being fought by all the dogs after fostering a little puppy who was apparently a carrier. Even though my guys had been vaccinated, this strain must have been a doozy.

It was 3:30 pm and I knew most vet offices closed at 5pm. I called the one place I had been considering after looking at their website, Mt. Carmel Pet Hospital and thankfully, even though we were new clients, they got us in right away. I knew this wasn't an issue I could treat myself and I am very thankful to the staff for helping me. Ms. Pearl is on the road to recovery and will be going back tomorrow for one more injection. 

Sometimes people assume that I wrote Secrets of a Vet Tech to replace a veterinarian. That is far from the truth.  First, the book was an autobiography showing what I did when I didn't have any choice. I could either figure out solutions or give up a group of un-adoptable animals to the shelter. If I did that, not only would several of the pets have died, I probably would have too as my heart exploded into a million pieces. So, yes I did some unconventional things to make it through.

Second, I'm a firm believer that while one should be well educated on things they can do at home, you also have to know when its time to go to the vet. There are simply things that should be left up to the vet and times when xrays and lab work are required. So being a partner with your veterinarian, or as I call it, part of your pet's health care team, is very important.

Knowing I didn't  have a lot of spare cash laying around, how did I pay for Pearl's visit?

Care Credit. This card is a healthcare credit card. It can be used for human care as well, but I try to reserve it for my pets. The way it works is you are given a certain debt limit, just like with any card. Once you use the card, you have usually 6 months to pay it back interest free. Go over that six months, and the finances charges are high, but you have to use it wisely. Not all veterinarians accept Care Credit, but you can find out on the website if your vet does. I was very happy to find out this week that my new vet Mt Carmel Pet Hospital did accept Care Credit.

On Facebook, I often see people asking if anyone knows a vet that accepts payments. This keeps that worry at bay. And you have to know that its really not fair to ask them to wait for payment if you have another option. 

There are also other options including a pet savings account that you put your nickles and dimes in and budget a certain amount monthly. There are groups who will help pay under certain conditions as well. In Secrets of a Vet Tech, I have a list of these types of groups, but today, this list came across my Facebook, so I wanted to share it.

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