Yes, it happens to us all. Those unplanned emergencies that blindside even the best pet parents. We take the best care of our furry kids we possibly can – we feed them good quality food, we keep their vaccines up to date, have annual physicals, get their blood screen every year, get plenty of exercise and socialization, and on and on, but how in the great wide world are you supposed to prepare for Fluffy breaking her leg, or even worse?!?
Sure, talking about it now makes it really easy to say we would have the discipline to save a bit of money here and there to cover those unforeseen events. I even know a dog whose guardians set up her very own savings account for such needs (I wonder if she had her own credit card too…). But let’s be real. Life happens and there are a lot of other things that put a financial drain on our busy lives and unfortunately Fluffy’s piggy bank is the furthest from anyone’s mind.
So here we are. Fluffy broke her leg. The bill for today has a couple of zeros after it, not to mention the follow up visits that are necessary for bandage changes and to make sure she is healing properly – those add up too. Where is the money going to come from? We are happy to report that there ARE options.
Care Credit (carecredit.com for more info) is a popular choice. This is a “medical credit card” in every sense of the word – they even provide you with a personalized card for your wallet. Care Credit is accepted by Apex Animal Hospital, as well as countless other vets and human medical facilities like dentists, chiropractors, family practice, and optometrists. Most applications/approvals take only minutes, and most employed individuals qualify for some dollar amount. There is a major catch though, so please listen up. There are a few payment plan options available, but let’s just use one for talking purposes – 6 month zero interest. Sounds great doesn’t it? If Fluffy’s bill comes out to $1,200, you get to pay $200 per month for 6 months, and not pay any interest. Yep, still sounding pretty good. Here’s the dark and dirty: If you take 6 months and ONE DAY to pay off the balance, Care Credit charges you 27% interest for the WHOLE 6 MONTHS. So, let it be known that you have been warned!
There are a number of philanthropic organizations that you can turn to as well. A quick Google search for “assistance for vet bills” will list a few for your consideration, and the image attached to this blog lists a number of them in no particular order of preference – there are many of them. Each of these typically requires a longer application process, so they may not work as well for a true emergency like a broken leg, but can be a tremendous help in dealing with something like cancer or some degenerative disease that takes some time to take its toll.
Don’t be afraid to ask your family and friends for help either. I know for certain that my parents would never want their “grand-dogs” to suffer in any way and would not hesitate to help however they could. On the other side of the coin, we have a great friend whose parents waited for weeks to tell her about their ailing cat “because they didn’t want her to worry”, which in turn made the situation much worse than it ever had to be!
So the next time Fluffy gets herself into trouble or y
our family is faced with a terrible disease that may create a financial hardship, don’t be afraid to look into some of these alternatives. There is help available.