You may think that this is the worst thing that could possibly happen.
Your dog, your beloved pet, has suffered a broken leg, and you simply cannot afford vet fees.
What can you do, aside from watching him suffer? Gather your wits, and your courage, and carry on, that’s what.
You must consider taking your pet to a vet, even if you know that you can’t afford it. Odds are, the poor animal will be treated before payment is demanded.
It may sound a bit dishonest, accepting a service you know you can’t pay for, but if the alternative is having your beloved pet suffer, it may be worth the discomfort and embarrassment, and even the eventual sacrifice you may have to make when your financial situation is discovered.
If you have a credit card, even if it is maxed out, present it for payment. It will appear as if you intended to pay all along, and maybe less embarrassing than admitting that you knew all along that this was impossible.
Even if the card is maxed out, it may be possible to negotiate an increase in your credit limit to cover the current emergency. Or your bank may be able to provide a loan to cover the situation.
Once the card has been declined, if it eventually is, or if you simply don’t have a credit card, it is now up to you to attempt to come to financial terms with the vet’s office.
What have you got to lose, anyway. You may feel a bit humiliated, but your dog is no longer suffering. And the vet, after all, is not going to repossess your pet, is he? although he may try to withhold medications pending payment.
In some states, he may be able to place a lien on the poor animal until you have met your financial obligations.
Try to impress him with your sincere care for your animal, and concern for his welfare. Vets are in the business because they, too, love animals. Be honest and try to work out an arrangement to meet your financial obligations. Odds are that the vet will be sympathetic to your predicament, and that of your pet.
If you intend to rely on the kindness of the veterinarian, it will be better to be honest with them about your financial situation from the beginning.
The office may be able to provide you with several alternatives. They could decide to wrap the break, using a splint or a cast, rather than perform a more expensive surgery.
You could be referred to a less expensive colleague, as it is often the case that vet services in large cities are more expensive than those in small towns or rural environs.
The office could have you apply for a Care Credit card, designed specifically to assist you in making payments for medical care, including that of your pet.
Care Credit offers a variety of payment options. You can apply for this card on their website, without going to a vet’s office.
As a more dire alternative, they could ask you to sign ownership of your pet over to them, allowing them to treat the animal and then place it with new owners. This should be a last resort, but one you may be faced with if you are truly unable to pay for his care.
Where To Get Financial Aid For Your Dog’s Surgery
There are also several other alternatives to secure assistance in paying your veterinarian bills.
Check with your local humane society or other animal advocacy group. While they may not offer financial assistance themselves, they will be able to point you in the proper direction to apply for such aid.
Some organizations offer breed-specific aid, such as CorgiAid, Labrador Lifeline, or Westie Med, but such organizations may not be able to help your average mutt.
Other organizations offer disease-specific aid for dogs suffering from cancer, or other chronic conditions.
Also, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offers on it website advice about financial assistance with vet bills, under the Pet Care tab.
IMOM is also a charity that offers financial assistance to cover veterinarian bills for your pet. And the Handicapped Pet Foundation will offer assistance to elderly, disabled, or injured animals.
You could also consider raising the needed funds through a group funding website. Sometimes, you simply have to rely on the kindness of strangers.
YouCaring is a fundraising platform that will enable you to build your own fundraising page to assist you in this time of need. GoFundMe offers the same type of service.
WAGGLE is a similar service, but it deals only with funding for pet veterinary care, with payments going directly to the provider to prevent fraud.
And groups such as RedRiver allow you to apply for grants to provide care for your pet.
You could also attempt to find low-cost care through a local veterinary school. The American Veterinary Medical Association offers a listing of schools and their locations, as does VeterinarySchools.com.
Such schools often offer low-cost clinics and emergency care.
If you have truly exhausted all avenues of securing care for your pet, you might want to consider rehoming him.
This is, of course, a major sacrifice on your part, but maybe your final alternative in securing your pet the care he needs in a loving new home ready, willing, and financially able to provide for him.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a dog’s broken leg heal on its own?
A dog’s broken leg will not heal on its own without some sort of medical intervention. Some breaks require only the use of a splint or cast, while others will require surgical intervention. The problem is knowing which is which.
What may appear as a simple broken bone may, in fact, cause internal bleeding or organ damage, either of which could prove fatal.
While in theory, if the fracture is simple, you could attempt to set the bone and splint it yourself. But this would require long term care to keep the cast or splint clean and dry, and maybe ignoring the more dangerous possibilities.
If you suspect a broken bone, get your pet the help he needs immediately.
Can the vet keep my dog if I can’t pay?
If you must take your dog to a vet, and cannot afford the associated bill, you may be concerned that the vet’s office can take possession of your pet.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation laws vary from state to state concerning liens placed on animals for veterinary services. Generally speaking, the veterinarian, or any other caregiver, can place a lien on the animal if the contracted debt has not been paid within ten to twenty days. At that time the pet may be euthanized, turned over to the humane society, or sold.
If the pet has been sold, the proceeds are used to cover the veterinarian’s expenses involved in the care and sale of the animal. Any excess is turned over to the owner. Small comfort for the loss of your pet. If you find yourself in this situation, check your local laws.
How much does it cost for dog leg surgery?
Surgical treatment of fractures in dogs is the most efficacious way of dealing with the problem of broken bones. In most cases, a bar is placed on the outside of the limb, and secures the bones in the proper alignment with screws through the skin and into the bone.
In other cases, the screws are applies inside the body, secured directly to the bone. Because of the time, equipment, and aftercare needed, this type of procedure can cost about $2,000, varying according to the age and condition of the animal.
How much does it cost to Xray a dog’s leg?
The cost of x-rays for your pet may be surprisingly high, depending on exactly what is needed. A simple x-ray will cost anywhere from $75.00 to $150.00, with additional view from $20.00 to $75.00. Prices tend to be lower at a vet’s office as opposed to an emergency animal hospital, where they can be twice as high.
If your pet needs to be sedated or anesthetized, this could be an additional $50.00 to $220.00 for a large animal. On top of this, you must pay from $45.00 to $100.00 for an office visit. Most vet offices will have no problem quoting you a price before you arrive