“I cannot afford treatment, much less specialty veterinary care.”
Access to veterinary medical care is being discussed by professional staff throughout the industry in search of effective, long-term solutions. Remember, veterinarians, veterinary specialists, veterinary nurses and technicians all enter the profession because they love animals. They are being impacted by increasing inflation for all operations.
For those just entering pet parenting for the first time:
- Make a plan for how you will handle a health crisis of any kind in your pet.
- Consider pet insurance for the pet’s lifetime. Read plans carefully as they differ in price and coverage. Compare carefully and do what you can afford now to protect your pet later.
- Check with your employer. Some offer pet insurance as a benefit, so ask HR.
- If you decide against insurance, open a bank account or other savings device and set aside some money each month for your pet’s long-term health care. You’d be surprised how fast you will build savings.
If your pet is facing cancer right now and you cannot afford treatment, what can you do?
- Organizations exist to help pet parents pay for treatment, but they all differ as to rules for qualification. Expect to have first exhausted all credit options to qualify.
- Ask your veterinarian and your veterinary specialist what you can qualify for in financial aid. Also ask for options in treatment that might have lower cost. Your veterinary professional is here to guide you, not to judge you!
- Explore for clinical trials that may be paid for by the sponsor, but do not be disappointed if your pet doesn’t qualify under the study criteria. Researchers are often under strict limits as to what or how many pets may be enrolled. If you have a local veterinary school, contact them for information.
- Set up a go-fund-me to help offset costs. Your friends and family often want a way to help out and this allows them to do so easily.
What’s on the horizon?
- Research takes money and time, but there is no doubt that the more discovery that occurs the more treatments become available that are more effective, safer and may lower manufacturing costs.
- Some veterinary practices are instituting a membership model for the life of your pet rather than per visit cost. Again, compare plans carefully if you are exploring these options.
- Be an advocate for all pets by supporting organizations that are building awareness of lack of access to veterinary care in underserved communities. Improving access to care means we will all have more choices for care in the future.