Posts Tagged ‘paying for veterinary care’

The Cost of Caring

June 20, 2011

The news would have us believe that the recession is over and unemployment is declining, but I’ve got to tell you, I’ve not yet seen even a glimmer of this in my professional life.  The majority of my clients remain hard pressed to pay for the diagnostic testing and care that would be ideal for their sick pets in spite of the fact that we lowered many of the fees at my hospital approximately one year ago.  Fortunately, for most of my patients, I can offer multiple medical options rather than just one.  For example, many folks these days choose the less expensive route of empirical therapy (providing treatment without certainty of what the underlying medical issue is) rather than performing diagnostic testing.  Within the limitations dictated by cost constraints, I try to do what’s best for my patient while also trying to assuage the guilt that most clients in this situation experience.  They love their pets dearly, but face the reality of having to settle for something that would not normally be their first choice.

When appropriate, I provide my client with a list of organizations that provide financial assistance for veterinary care costs.  Trust me, these wonderful organizations have been deluged by requests over the last few years.  Yet they still manage to pull through for some of my clients.  Many provide financial help for any type of veterinary care while others set specific criteria.  For example, they might provide assistance only for pets with cancer or only for service dogs.  None of them provide urgent funding- invariably there is an application process.  If you are interested in having a look at these wonderful organizations, I invite you to visit my website. Click on “Resources” found in the red horizontal main menu and then scroll down to “Financial Assistance for Veterinary Care.”  A sure sign of the times is that this is the most frequently visited page on my website!

For those of you with  young healthy animals (devoid of any preexisting medical conditions) I encourage you to consider purchasing a pet health insurance policy.  For an annual premium cost of $300-$400 you will have the peace of mind of knowing that you will be reimbursed approximately 80% of future out of pocket veterinary expenses.  The key is in choosing your insurance provider wisely.  Some reimburse exactly as you would hope while others come up with all kinds of crazy loopholes.  Visit my website for a list of questions to ask insurance providers that will help you separate the good guys from the bad.  Click on “Resources” found in the red horizontal main menu and scroll down to “Pet Health Insurance.”  My book Speaking for Spot provides a comprehensive resource for learning all you need to know about pet health insurance.

Have these tough economic times influenced how you provide medical care for your pets?  If you feel comfortable sharing your story, I welcome hearing it.  If you know of any organizations (not already on my list) that provide assistance for veterinary care, please give me a shout out.  I would love to include them.

Best wishes for good health,

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of  Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
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Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

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Financial Assistance to Help Pay for Veterinary Care

February 12, 2010

Imagine my horror upon reading the following news story:  “A Rhode Island man who says he couldn’t afford veterinary care for his dog has been charged with illegally operating on the pet.”  The article goes on to describe this man’s attempt to remove a cyst from the leg of his 14-year-old Labrador mix.  Thankfully, a veterinarian treated the resulting infection and performed a second corrective surgery.  The man was described as elderly and subsisting on Social Security.  He was quoted as saying, “In the economy as it is right now as it is right now, especially in Rhode Island, who in the hell is going to give you a little extra helping hand?” 

This story is tragic to me on so many levels.  Of course I think this fellow was mentally unbalanced, but I also sense (or maybe I’m wishfully thinking) that he dearly loved his canine companion of so many years and his act was one of desperation. While the news would have us believe that our down trodden economy is turning around, I must tell you that every day I receive emails from people all over the United States who are experiencing the heartache, guilt, and desperation of not being able to afford medical care for their beloved four legged family members. 

The Rhode Island man’s story prompted me to remind you that the “little extra helping hand” he needed certainly does exist.  Many organizations offer financial assistance to those in need of help paying for veterinary care. If you or someone you know is in such need, I invite you to visit my website at www.speakingforspot.com/helppayingforveterinarycare.html. Here you will find a comprehensive list of organizations that can provide financial aid. Not surprisingly, these organizations are currently being taxed to the max, and it takes some effort to apply for their funds, but they may be able to provide the help needed to make a significant difference.  

Best wishes to you and your four-legged family members for abundant good health.

Dr. Nancy Kay
Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine 

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller. 

Order  a copy of Speaking for Spot personally signed by Dr. Kay – http://www.speakingforspot.com/purchase.html

Join our email list – http://speakingforspot.com/joinemaillist.html

Look for us on Twitter – http://twitter.com/speakingforspot

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Listen to Dr. Kay’s interview – A Veterinarian Advises “How to Speak for Spot” on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross

Please share this blog with your dog-loving family and friends

Veterinary Care Links and Resources for You and Your Four-Legged Family Members

August 15, 2009

Some new educational links and resources have just been added to my website! I invite you to visit www.speakingforspot.com and take advantage of all that is there. In addition to the “Advocacy Aids” (free downloadable health care forms for your dog or cat), you will now find resources and links about all of the following:

1. Behavior & Training
2. Canine Disease Registries
3. Deciding Whether Veterinary Pet Insurance is Right for You
4. Disaster Preparedness
5. Disease-Specific Information
6. Paying for Veterinary Care
7. Pet Loss and Grief
8. Symptom-Specific Information
9. Veterinary References
10. Veterinary Specialty Organizations
11. What to Do When the Diagnosis is Cancer

All of this new material can be found on our “For Dog Lovers” pages. It has been designed to supplement the tools and information found in Speaking for Spot, and will be updated on a regular basis to keep you informed about advances in veterinary medicine. I hope you will find it useful and welcome your feedback. Please let me know what you think and advise me of any additions or changes that would make you happy.

Please feel free to link to our website and share the information with your animal-loving friends and relatives.

Now, here’s wishing you and your four-legged family members much good health!

Dr. Nancy Kay
Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine

Join our email list – http://speakingforspot.com/joinemaillist.html

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