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I think my pet needs to see the veterinarian... But I don’t have much money at the moment?

Updated: Jul 4, 2022

It's a tough situation to be in and if you're in this situation, I sympathize with you. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent surge in the cost of living have seen many people looking to either save costs or spread the costs of larger bills out. The good news is, that there are a few options that may be able to help you out.

Veterinary clinics will understand when the budget is tight, as all veterinary clinics themselves run on tight budgets with high costs of drugs, equipment, etc. Letting your veterinarian know in advance is the best way to go about it. Veterinarians have many different treatment options available and vets are trained at fitting the treatment options into your available budget. Don’t be afraid to ask for an estimate of expected costs and understand where each cost is coming from. Your veterinarian will be experienced in tailoring treatment plans to your budget and will welcome the discussion around what care they can provide within your budget.

Many veterinary clinics used to offer payment plans or weekly payment options. However due to the high costs of running a veterinary business, and sadly the common occurrence of default on these payments, many if not all clinics have had to stop clinic-run payment plans as the clinic is unable to cope with the ongoing financial losses.

Clinics work with pet finance companies to offer finance options to our clients. They can help with the application process to see if you are able to get funding through this option. If so the finance company pay the clinic directly and you set up an automatic payment to the finance company staggering the payment over a few weeks. In New Zealand, Petfunders and Vetfinance would be the two most commonly offered and you can try both companies.

Some clinics will offer Afterpay or Oxipay, which is a new payment method that splits your payment up over a fortnightly period to allow you to pay back the cost over the course of a few weeks. Again Afterpay or Oxipay will pay the clinic directly so they can get started on your pet care as soon as you have approval.

Other options would be using credit cards, asking family members for help or crowdfunding.

If you think your pet needs urgent help please talk to a veterinarian to discuss your situation and see if they have a way to help you.

Using online vet services can also help spread the costs of veterinary care, and give you a rough expectation of the type of treatment or diagnostic tests your pet may need at the vet clinic, which can be helpful in terms of budgeting, or looking for alternative options.

As a pet owner, you have an obligation to prevent suffering in your pet, which means seeking veterinary treatment when needed. Veterinarians will be able to advise on the urgency of the problem and alternative options available to you if the funds are not there to treat the current problem.

If your financial situation has changed to the point where you cannot afford the cost to look after your pet any more there are many charities such as the SPCA, who help with re-homing pets in these sorts of situations so it is always worth reaching out and seeing if they can help you.

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