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If you’re a pet owner with limited financial resources, finding low-cost veterinary clinics in your area doesn’t have to be a problem. Why not try your local Humane Society for a low-cost veterinary clinic? The Humane Society also offers a comprehensive list of organizations that provide funding for pet owners in need. And sites like Petfinder also provide information to help you find low-cost veterinary clinics, while Animal Loving Friends (ALF) provides financial assistance for pet owners who need it.
What Services Do Low-Cost Veterinary Clinics Offer?
For the most part, these clinics offer everything your dog or cat may need, including:
Vaccinations, parasite control, and flea and heartworm control. Clinics like First Coast No More Homeless Pets offer these services. The importance of treating your pets for heartworm and other parasites can’t be understated here. Infected mosquitoes spread Heartworms, and once your dog is bitten by one, the larvae travel through your pet’s bloodstream until they mature and reproduce. Left untreated, this can kill your dog because the heartworms strangle the heart. Cats can also become infected by these parasites but their risk is lower. What’s worse is that there are usually no symptoms until the damage has been done. Vaccinations are also crucial for your pet, especially for nasty diseases like Parvovirus, which can be deadly for dogs, and feline panleukopenia (feline distemper), which can prove fatal in cats.
Dental care. Routine dental care generally costs $100 to $500. Most of these visits are in the $100-$300 range, with $500 usually reflecting more in-depth care for pets with a severe dental disease. Organizations like Helping Hands Affordable Veterinary Surgery and Dental Care can provide less costly options.
Spaying and neutering. For female cats and dogs, spaying can be a life-saving, PetMD notes. Dogs that aren’t spayed have a 50 percent chance of getting breast cancer, and that percentage jumps to 90 percent in cats. Uterine infections are also likely. It’s also recommended that you spay your pet before she has her first heat cycle. There are spay and neuter clinics all over the U.S. You can check out the Humane Society’s database to find them.
Microchipping. This is a quick procedure in which your vet uses a hypodermic needle to insert a tiny chip under your pet’s skin. This is pretty similar to receiving a vaccination, and the benefits of doing this can’t be understated. If your pet is lost or stolen, most shelters and veterinary clinics can scan to see if your pet is microchipped. While tags are also a good idea, they can get worn over time, making them difficult to read, and most thieves who steal pets simply remove them. Vetco offers this service for $15.00.
Diagnostic testing. Just like their owners, dogs and cats can get sick. Also, like their owners, diagnostic testing and treatments for illnesses can be inexpensive, or it can cost thousands of dollars. Even fairly straight-forward seeming ailments like limping in dogs in dogs (which can be caused by a superficial cut, ingrown toenails, or something stuck in the paw) can cost $150 — $400 depending on how many x-rays the vet takes. If it’s something more serious (like a bone or ligament injury) the vet may do a CT scan and that can run from $1,000 to $3,000, or an MRI, which costs between $3,000-$4,500. Fortunately, there are numerous low-cost veterinary clinics like The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, which offers payment plans and low-cost veterinary care.
Here’s some more good news:
Vet schools are typically cheaper than vet clinics or animal hospitals. There are a number of accredited veterinary colleges in the U.S., The American Veterinary Medical Association reports. Students perform the procedures while being supervised by a vet, MoneyTalksNews reports.
How To Find The Best Low-Cost Veterinary Clinic For Your Pet:
Talk to your local animal welfare organization, rescue groups or shelters. These organizations often offer low-cost spay or neutering, vaccinations, and other routine services, MoneyTalksNews reports.
Be proactive. Call as many veterinary clinics as you can, because their prices can vary widely.
Talk to your vet. If your pet needs an expensive procedure, or you’re struggling financially, talk to your vet. Some veterinarians offer payment plans or discounts to steady clients.
If your pet needs a pricey procedure and your vet can’t help … it’s a good idea to contact local pet-related charities, because some do offer help.
Seek cheaper prescriptions. If you’re buying prescriptions from your vet, you might be paying more than you need to. Places like PetCareRX, Doctors Foster and Smith, and 1-800 PetMeds often offer prescriptions at reduced rates. And retail chain pharmacies like Sam’s Club or Walmart sometimes carry pet medications at reduced prices. But you need to exercise caution when ordering pet medications online. Make sure you deal with reputable sites, as the Food and Drug Administration reports there are red flags to look for.
This short video offers additional information about ordering safe medications for your fur baby.
If you’re looking for the best low-cost veterinary clinic, there are even some that offer free services, MoneyPantry notes The American Veterinary Medical Foundation is one such place. This organization offers the Veterinary Care Charitable Fund (VCCF), which helps veterinarians offer services that are either low-cost or free to disabled veterans, low-income pet owners, or victims of domestic violence,
For more information about finding veterinary clinics, don’t forget to look to your local humane society for a low-cost veterinary clinic in your area. For many of us, our pets are precious, and they should be treated as such.
Featured image: CC 0 Public Domain by Pixabay