Ways to Reduce Pet Bills

Many people deal monthly with high Veterinary Bills for chronic problems. There are easy methods to reduce your costs.
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Ways to Reduce Pet Bills

Postby jimithy » Sun Aug 22, 2010 10:14 am

Medication bills for pets can be quite large. Many people actually stop buying their own medications so that they can pay for their pets' needs. Other people decide to stop giving their pets medications that they do not feel are absolutely necessary. This can cause higher costs over the long term. i.e. People know that skimping on pain medications results in decreased comfort for their pet They usually do not realize that it reduces safety, increases the odds for major illnesses, and reduces the potential lifetime of their pet.

If you ask you will find that many vets offer discounts for such reasons as... if you regularly bring in your pet (or especially if you bring in multiple pets), financial hardship, senior discounts, student discounts, you foster pets, etc.

If your vet is prescribing a something for the first time then ask if the medication can be purchased locally. If your pet has a chronic condition that requires a medication on a regular basis then you can check pharmacies for yourself. Shop around for prices locally, at internet veterinary pharmacies, and with reputable standard internet/mail-order pharmacies. These places buy their stock in huge quantities and therefore they pay much less for their inventory than your vet does. You can often find medications at a fraction of your typical costs. Also, many vets will match prices even if they are from the internet.

If you decide to buy your medications elsewhere then ask your vet for a written prescription. Get your vet to prescribe generic drugs when possible. Try to get 90 day prescriptions for medications your pet will be taking for a long time. You can often get heavy discounts when you buy medications in bulk.

Some feed stores, farm supply stores, and pet stores sell products such as vacinations for much lower prices. Please know how to properly vacinate a pet before trying to do so.

Do not get your pets drugs from your medicine cabinet without consulting your vet. Many of these drugs can injure or kill a pet. i.e. Tylenol (acetaminophen) can easily kill a cat, Advil (ibuprofen) kills dogs, etc.

We have a forum "Healthy People Require Fewer Drugs". This is also true for your pets. Make sure your pet gets regular exercise, vacinations, and don't overfeed them no matter how cute they beg :-) Avoid giving your pets high calorie treats. Indoor pets live much longer and get substantially fewer diseases and injuries than those who spend a lot of their time outdoors. When your pets are outdoors keep them in a fenced area or on a leash.

Fight tartar and plaque on your pets teeth. Check for fractures and the gums for bleeding. Treating dental disorders prevents the bacteria from spreading and causing bigger problems.

Flea, tick, and even mosquito preventatives seem expensive but they can save you a lot of money. These parasites spread expensive and devastating diseases. When you start your pet on heartworm medicine it can save your the cost of a heartworm test IF your pet has not been bitten by a mosquito.

Many methods people use to save money on their own medications can reduce your pet's medication bills. Such as if a pill can be safely split it can sometimes reduce the price by almost half.

Remember that your vet knows that affording your pets' medications is necessary in order to keep them healthy. Ask them for ideas about reducing costs.
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Re: Ways to Reduce Pet Bills

Postby NoPocketCash » Thu Aug 26, 2010 4:39 pm

Excellent ideas! One correction though...since there's no absolute way to know if your pet has been bitten by a mosquito, your pet should always have a heartworm test before starting on heartworm preventative medicine (Interceptor, Heartguard, etc.). If your pet already has heartworms the medication can actually kill him or her! Heartworm preventative is one of the medications you can usually get at a lower price through mail-order or internet. Your vet may also give a price break when you buy a year's supply at one time. Keeping your pet on the preventative year-round is the best way to be sure he or she doesn't become infected with heartworms, which can often be fatal and are very difficult and expensive to treat.

I believe you mentioned it but I want to reinforce...do not give your pet "people" medications unless directed by your veterinarian! Many human meds are toxic to pets. Even if a medication is "pet safe", the dosage is most likely different depending on what type of pet you have. Cats' metabolisms are completely different from dogs', and both are different than people!

Last point...it may seem expensive but preventative care can not only extend the life of your pet, it will save you money in the long run. When your pet reaches "middle age" (about 6 to 8 years) it's a good idea to have blood tests done. This will let your vet know if there are early signs of disease and will give a good baseline to compare tests in the future. The basic blood work should be repeated when your vet recommends, most likely once a year. Older pets frequently develop thyroid issues, diabetes, and eventually kidney failure. Catching these early with blood tests will allow treatment with medication, change of diet or change of lifestyle. Most illnesses and conditions that develop as a normal part of aging can be managed while keeping your pet happy and pain-free!

Perfect example of both screening and long-term treatment...my husband and I have a 15 year old cat who was diagnosed with diabetes when he was 6 years old. He's the best cat you could ask for and he doesn't mind his twice daily insulin injections at all. He doesn't even mind when I test his blood glucose level (ear sticks using a regular human glucometer) because he gets lots of extra cuddling and lap time! It was a struggle to find the right type and dosage of insulin but he was determined to hang in there, so we and his vet did too! Our cat's kidneys are starting to fail now and he has been just as good with allowing subcutaneous fluids to be given every few days at home. (More cuddling and lap time!) If your vet suggests it and your pet doesn't mind this procedure it will help keep the kidneys functioning longer, but it does make some pets uncomfortable. Another of my cats who developed kidney failure at age 16 was completely freaked out by it. We always feel quality of life is the most important thing so we did not put him through it.

Blood tests, working with your vet, and "listening" to your pet can lead to a long and happy life :)
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