Tips to Keep Veterinary Costs Down

Having a pet can be an exciting experience, but it can also become an expensive venture. One of the biggest factors that can contribute to an expense of a pet is veterinary care. Even though you may not be able to control unexpected injuries or illnesses in your pet, there are some factors you can control. Preventative care is the best way to help keep veterinary costs down. This can involve keeping your pet on parasite preventatives, having yearly wellness exams, keeping up with vaccines, maintaining a healthy diet, and having your pets spayed or neutered.

Heartworm prevention is probably one of the most important parasite control products for keeping veterinary costs down. Treatment can be very expensive for pets that contract heartworm disease. Not only is treatment expensive it also is very risky for the pet. Monthly heartworm prevention is highly effective for avoiding this disease. Flea and tick preventatives are important as well. Fleas bites can sometimes produce a hypersensitivity response leading to a condition called flea allergy dermatitis. This can require treatment with antibiotics and steroids to help relieve symptoms. Fleas can also transmit an intestinal parasite called tapeworms which requires a de-wormer for treatment. Ticks can transmit several blood borne diseases that can require long term treatment for pets. Some common tick diseases include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Ehrlichiosis.

Despite the initial cost for an office visit, having a yearly exam by your veterinarian can save you money in the long run. There are several medical issues that can be discovered on a physical exam. Finding some of these issues early can make treatment easier and less expensive. One example is finding a skin mass early on that can be removed with a simple surgery versus later when larger in size. Consequently removing the mass requires a more complicated procedure. Another example is discovering a heart murmur on the physical exam. If the murmur is found early it can be potentially be managed with medications. If the murmur is found when the patient is in congestive heart failure, treatment may involve expensive intensive care.

Vaccine protocols can vary depending on risk of exposure and the lifestyle of the pet. Whatever protocol your pet adopts, it is important that these vaccines are performed in a timely manner. Unvaccinated or pets that have gaps in their vaccination schedule are at the highest risk of developing diseases that are the most costly to treat. Make sure you discuss with your veterinarian what vaccination protocol is best for your pet and that they are performed on time.

Whether you have your pet spayed or neutered can play a role in the veterinary costs. If you don’t plan to use your pets for breeding you should have them spayed or neutered. With intact females you may have to deal with accidental pregnancies, infection of the uterus (pyometra), and there is an increased risk for mammary tumors which often require surgery. With intact males you may have to deal with increased risk of prostate disease, and testicular cancers. These circumstances can lead to a high veterinary bill if you wish to address these issues.

When it comes to what you are feeding your pet, the common causes for increased veterinary visits includes frequent switching of a diets and feeding “people” food. As a result signs of dietary indiscretion may occur which may include diarrhea and vomiting. To avoid increased costs of veterinary bills please feed your pet a consistent diet and avoid feeding off your plate.

Finally, financial preparedness can help buffer any unexpected veterinary costs. You should set up an emergency veterinary fund where money is set aside at regular intervals if possible. This is much like setting money aside for a college fund for a child. Also it is helpful to be aware of organizations that will provide financial assistance for veterinary cost. Many of them have specific requirements to be met before assistance can be given. Here is the list of several of these organizations:

Angels for Animals
Brown Dog Foundation
Canine Cancer Awareness
Care Credit
Cats in Crisis
Extend Credit
Fairy Dog Parents
Frankie’s Friends

The websites of the above organizations can be found with a simple Google search. Even with the best care it may be difficult to avoid veterinary costs. Hopefully the points in this article will help keep these costs to a minimal. Also they may help maximize the care you need to provide to your pet if the circumstances require it.