24 Organizations That Help Pay Veterinary Bills
July 17, 2021
You may be surprised to learn that one in three pets will require emergency veterinary care this year. If your pet becomes suddenly ill or injured, you may find yourself financially unprepared to pay a large veterinary bill, and wondering where to turn.
Fortunately, a number of organizations exist for this single reason. Before picking and choosing which treatments to approve—or worse, passing on treatment altogether—check out this list of organizations that can help you pay for your pet’s veterinary care.
24 Organizations That Help Pay Vet Bills
Who is eligible? Pet owners in need, including disabled veterans with service dogs, senior citizens, domestic violence victims, and good Samaritans who rescue pets
The organization: To take advantage of this fund, a pet must be receiving care from a participating veterinary hospital that has enrolled in the AVMF program.
The AVMF Veterinary Charitable Fund (VCCF) is made up of donations from clients of participating hospitals to provide medical care for animals in their local communities. Funding applications must be submitted by an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)-member veterinarian enrolled in the program, and are not accepted from individual pet owners.
Who is eligible? Owners of dogs who are sick, injured, or have a serious medical condition
The organization: Bow Wow Buddies Foundation also helps shelters and rescue organizations provide medical care to dogs awaiting adoption.
Who is eligible? Families with pets likely to respond to treatment, but because of unforeseen circumstances, find themselves without adequate funds
The organization: The Brown Dog Foundation was founded in memory of a chocolate Labrador retriever named “Chocolate Chip,” who was surrendered to a shelter by his first family because they could not afford surgery to remove his cancerous tumor. He was subsequently diagnosed with lymphosarcoma soon after his second owner unexpectedly lost her job.
Who is eligible? Any pet owner who is approved for credit
The organization: CareCredit offers pet owners a health care credit card that they can use to finance any type of veterinary care, from wellness care, to emergencies, to surgery. The card can be used repeatedly, versus a one-time allocation of grant funds, and can be used to pay your bill immediately, instead of waiting for funding from a charitable organization.
Who is eligible? Owners of cats with diabetes mellitus
The organization: Diabetic Cats in Need, whose goal is keeping diabetic cats in their original, loving homes, regardless of caregiver income, provides funds to help cat owners purchase insulin. Additionally, they educate diabetic cat owners about appropriate treatment and care, and help rehome unwanted diabetic cats.
#6: Dylan’s Hearts
Who is eligible? Families currently receiving government assistance (e.g., welfare, WIC, Medicaid, food stamps, social security disability, or unemployment benefits) who are struggling to pay for their pet’s treatment in an emergency or critical situation
The organization: Dylan’s Hearts accepts applications only from the pet’s attending veterinarian. The pet must have a life-threatening or critical injury or illness that requires a specific treatment, and a favorable outcome must be expected.
Who is eligible? Homeless pet owners
The organization: Feeding Pets of the Homeless realizes that a pet is often a homeless person’s only friend, and being unable to provide medical care, and possibly losing their best friend, can be devastating. They provide grants for emergency care, as well as pet food.
Who is eligible? Families with pets in need of life-saving emergency or specialty care, but who cannot afford the full treatment cost
The organization: Frankie’s Friends provides up to $1500 in financial assistance. Pet owners are responsible for submitting an application, but payment is made directly to the pet’s veterinarian.
Who is eligible? Families who cannot afford their pet’s medical expenses
The organization: FVHP staff members work with families and their veterinarians to provide assistance for extraordinary veterinary expenses necessary to save a pet’s life. Their goal is to provide resources to help families avoid economic euthanasia.
Who is eligible? Owners of elderly, disabled, and injured pets
The organization: Handicapped Pets Foundation provides wheelchairs for pets with mobility problems, so they can enjoy a good quality of life.
Who is eligible? Pet owners who fit income-based criteria
The organization: Help-A-Pet is a nonprofit that provides financial assistance to pet owners who are unable to afford veterinary services, including medications and medical supplies, for a sick or injured pet.
Who is eligible? Owners of pets who need cancer treatments
The organization: Joshua Louis is a veterinary oncologist and singer/songwriter who raises funds for pets with cancer by selling his music on iTunes.
Who is eligible? Owners of working dogs who are diagnosed with cancer
The organization: Land of Pure Gold Foundation provides $1000 grants directly to a service dog’s veterinarian for oncology-related expenses.
An applicant’s pet must have been a full-time working dog (i.e., assistance, detection, search and rescue, military, law enforcement, or animal-assisted therapy) at the time of diagnosis. Emotional support, comfort, and therapy dogs are not eligible, as they are not considered service dogs under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
#14: Magic Bullet Fund
Who is eligible? Owners of dogs and cats with cancer
The organization: The Magic Bullet Fund collects donations for several weeks to cover a specific pet’s care, so funds are not available immediately.
#15: Paws 4 A Cure
Who is eligible? Pet owners who need help paying for veterinary bills related to a pet’s illness or injury
The organization: Paws 4 A Cure offers need-based grants up to $500 to help owners pay for their pet’s medical care, including medications, heartworm disease treatment, and medical equipment such as wheelchairs.
#16: Pet Assistance, Inc.
Who is eligible? Long-time owners of pets with urgent or life-threatening medical problems
The organization: Pet Assistance, Inc. provides financial assistance to keep pets with their owners, despite financial hardship, and to prevent the pet from being surrendered to a shelter, or abandoned in the hope that they will end up in a shelter and receive veterinary care. Owners of new or recently adopted pets are not eligible for assistance.
Who is eligible? Owners of pets who are in life-threatening situations
The organization: RedRover Relief provides financial assistance, resources, and emotional support to pet owners struggling with economic hardship when their pets have life-threatening illnesses and injuries. Grants typically range from $150 to $200.
Who is eligible? Pet owners who are approved for credit
The organization: Scratchpay provides temporary loans so pet owners can pay veterinary bills immediately. Twelve and 24-month payment plans are available, as well as their “Take 5” plan, which allows pet owners to split their bill into five payments spaced two weeks apart.
#19: The Mosby Foundation
Who is eligible? Owners of critically sick and injured dogs
The organization: The Mosby Foundation, which was established in memory of a Malamute-Husky mix named “Mosby,” also provides assistance for the care of abused and neglected dogs.
Who is eligible? Pet owners with medical hardships, veterans with PTSD
The organization: Pet owners are eligible for assistance through the Onyx and Breezy Foundation only if they have been denied a CareCredit card.
#21: The Pet Fund
Who is eligible? Owners of pets in need of non-basic, non-urgent care
The organization: The Pet Fund provides assistance for pets with conditions such as cancer, and heart, kidney, liver, endocrine, and eye diseases.
Who is eligible? Owners of pets with cancer
The organization: The Riedel and Cody Fund is a general fund set up through Waggle to collect donations for dogs and cats with cancer. Pet owners can apply for a grant to help provide financial assistance for their pet’s cancer treatments.
Who is eligible? U.S. veterans with guide or service dogs
The organization: The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs will cover most veterinary expenses for service dogs, including equipment related to the service the dog provides (e.g., backpack or harness), but will not cover parasite preventives and over-the-counter medications.
Who is eligible? Pet owners who are clients of participating veterinary hospitals
The organization: Varidi allows pet owners to create custom payment plans based on their budget, with no credit application required.
Additional funding options
If you are not eligible for funding from one of the above organizations, don’t despair. Additional possible funding options include:
- Crowdfunding — Organizations like GoFundMe and Waggle leverage the power of social media to allow a large number of people to individually make small donations to fund your pet’s medical care.
- Veterinary colleges — Some veterinary colleges offer low-cost services to clients with limited incomes.
- Your breeder or pet store — If you purchased your pet from a breeder or pet store, check your contract, as some veterinary expenses may be covered.
- Breed-specific rescue groups — Some breed-specific rescue groups may provide funding for emergency veterinary care. You can find breed-specific rescue groups by visiting The Shelter Pet Project and entering “shelter” into the search field.
- Pet insurance — While pet insurance may not help during your current crisis, consider taking out a policy for your pet to prevent a similar situation in the future.
Tips for securing funding for your pet’s medical bills
The following tips may increase your likelihood of successfully acquiring financial assistance for your pet’s unexpected veterinary bill:
- If possible, contact nonprofit organizations after your pet’s diagnosis, but before treatment or procedures are performed, as most organizations will not reimburse you for bills that have already been paid.
- Get quotes from several veterinary hospitals prior to authorizing treatment, as care costs can vary greatly.
- Ask your veterinarian if their hospital has a charitable fund to help owners who are unable to pay for care.
- Apply for multiple grants, since most are small and will cover only part of the cost.
- Apply for assistance as soon as possible, because most organizations cannot respond immediately to your application. However, do not delay life-saving treatment while waiting for a response.
Keep in mind that nonprofit organizations are funded by donations from businesses and people who love pets, and want to help owners provide important medical care. If you receive help, consider donating to the group when you are more financially secure, to help another pet owner who finds themselves in a similar situation.
https://www.petfirst.com/pet-care/five-shocking-pet-insurance-stats/. PetFirst. 2019.
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