To prepare for sudden illness, emergencies, or any untoward incidents, many pet owners acquire pet insurance to cover expensive vet bills. The cost of pet insurance is anywhere from £360 to £750 per year depending on the coverage. This an added expense that may be too much for a low-income family.
If you cannot meet the regular payments for pet insurance, here are charitable institutions that provide free and low-cost veterinary care for your sick pets.
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The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has several branches all around England and Wales. They offer neutering, microchipping, vaccination, and basic treatments.
How does the RSPCA help with vet bills? They offer low-cost veterinary care for pet owners who are eligible to acquire the service. They have their guidelines to determine eligibility. If the vet service you are looking for is not offered in your area, RSPCA may be able to provide financial assistance or offer advice on other options.
Check with the local RSPCA centres near your area for more information.
PDSA Vet Care
The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) is an animal welfare veterinary charity with 48 pet hospitals around the UK. They provide medical services for pets from lifesaving surgery to vaccinations to veterinary treatments.
How does the PDSA help with vet bills? PDSA offers free and reduced cost veterinary service to eligible pet owners. You are considered eligible for assistance if you in receipt of either housing benefit or council tax benefit and live within the catchment area of a PDSA Pet Hospital.
Get more information from the PDSA website or call their helpline at 0800 731 2502.
The Blue Cross Animal Hospital
Blue Cross is a pet care charity in England, Wales, and Scotland. They provide rehoming services, veterinary treatment, and pet care education.
How does Blue Cross help with vet bills? Blue Cross animal hospitals and pet care clinics offer free vet treatments to sick and injured pets when owners are unable to pay for fees of private vets. Vet treatment is available to pets whose owners belong to low-income families that are receiving means-tested benefits and living in the catchment area of one of Blue Cross pet hospitals and clinics.
Find out the eligibility requirements to avail of Blue Cross vet care services here.
Dogs Trust is the largest dog welfare charity in the UK. They have a network of 18 rehoming centres all over the country to help care for stray and abandoned dogs.
How does Dogs Trust help with vet bills? Through their Hope Project, Dogs Trust provides free veterinary care and treatment to dogs whose owners are homeless or in temporary housing. Eligible owners can have their sick dogs treated for free. Dogs are also entitled to free vet services including neutering, microchipping, flea and worming treatments, and vaccinations.
By partnering with hostels and housing providers, homeless dog owners are given accommodation when they are denied access to shelters because a “no dog policy” is in place.
Cats Protection serves as a feline welfare charity with a network of 230 branches and 36 centres around UK, all run by volunteers.
How does Cats Protection help with vet bills? The organisation provides financial assistance for spaying and neutering cats as part of their regional campaigns.
Find out if you are eligible to avail this service for your cat by visiting their website or calling their neutering helpline at 03000 12 12 12.
The Ulster Society Prevention Cruelty to Animals (USPCA) is a recognised animal welfare charity in the UK. They provide a full range of vet services for animals, including wildlife.
How does Cats Protection help with vet bills? USPCA offers 50 per cent discount on veterinary treatments of sick pets whose owners are not able to afford the full cost of vet care. The charitable discount scheme covers spaying, neutering, and operations. Owners are eligible for the discount if they can provide proof that they are in receipt of state benefits.
Find out if you qualify for a charitable discount by calling USPCA at 028 3025 1000.
Local animal charities
There are independent charities and organisations all over the UK that can help you with your vet expenses. You may ask for advice from your local vet.
Other options to pay the bill
Aside from getting help from animal welfare organisations or charities, there are other options to consider when unexpected vet bills occur.
- Paying vet bills in instalments
To cover large vet bills, some vets may allow you to pay the total cost over a certain period of time. There are some vets that accept interest-free payment and others require external financing.
- Getting a personal loan
If all else fails, you may try getting a personal loan as a last option. This type of loan usually has fixed rates within a certain period of time just like on monthly instalments. It is important to understand the terms before deciding on which repayment options to choose.
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