Many people are frustrated by the high costs of veterinary care for their pet, and particularly when an emergency happens, may find they do not have the needed funds to pay the vet bill. To this end they ask their veterinarian if they can make “Payments” and are often told “NO”, here is why.
Some people think that veterinarians do not care about animals because they do not “fix” their pet up first, and ask for money later.
One thing most people do not consider in regards to the high cost of veterinary care for their pets, is that their pet really is of no value to the vet. This sounds blunt, but think of it this way, if you fail to pay your vet bill the one thing your vet could ask for, was you to surrender your pet. If this were the case, veterinarians would soon be swamped with lame horses, dogs with bad teeth, and diabetic cats.
Think of it this way if you do not pay your auto mechanic, he may have the legal right to seize your car, or keep it at his shop until you pay the bill, typically if the bill is unpaid for long he can resell your car – often at auction. If you do not pay your vet, he/she is stuck with a pet he does not want, and cannot sell.
To be fair livestock veterinarians are occasionally “saddled” with a horse, or cattle, as the result of an unpaid bill, but these can be taken to auction where they sell often for less than the vet bill was, but certainly for more than somebodies dog, or house cat, would.
As such a veterinarian has just as much right to expect a full, and prompt, payment for their time and services. When we go out to dinner, we don’t ask the restaurant if we can pay a few dollars now, and the rest a week later, why would we expect an animal veterinarian to be any different?
Perhaps it is the High Cost?
Few people are prepared to pay for emergency visits to their veterinarian, and this is really where the problems arise. People must realize that emergencies can happen at any time, and should set aside a few dollars every month (not just for pet emergencies, but others too), as such the burden will not be too difficult.
People often say they cannot afford a veterinarian bill, but they spend money on their cell phone, coffee, and so forth, so really it’s a matter of planning, and redirecting funds, rather than a lack of funds on the whole.
Some Veterinarians Do Take Payments
If you are a regular client, and have maintained a good standing relationship with your veterinarian, he, or she, may allow you to make payments when an emergency does arise, in which case you should pay promptly, ideally ahead of time, to ensure they will always extend to you this favor should it be needed again.
Other Payment Options
Pet Insurance might be considered, however it will not pay for all veterinarian expenses.
Some local animal shelters have funds available for emergencies, although they rarely will pay full expenses, as they are non-profit and rarely have unlimited funds.
If a veterinarian has suggested an option for care and treatment that an owner simply cannot afford to pay, they can discuss the option of euthanizing the pet, or surrendering it to a shelter that will pay for its care (it is never suggested to dump an ailing pet at a shelter without talking to them and releasing the pet to them as the owner – otherwise it would be treated as a stray – often held for 72 hours then euthanized anyhow).
Veterinarians do care for pets, but they have every right to be paid as well. So, please, if you own a pet, start a small savings plan, putting $5 – $30 aside every month for emergencies, and/or for yearly vaccinations. If you cannot afford basic pet care, quite honestly, you cannot afford a pet. Be aware in some areas it is illegal not to have your pet vaccinated, and if its health is neglected this can be a criminal offense – animal neglect.