An ill or injured animal should never be left without vet care. When money is tight, low-cost vet care can help you to get the necessary treatment for your animal.
But where can you go for low-cost vet care? And is there a way to get help to pay for your vet bill? We take a look at who may be able to help.
The RSPCA offers low-cost vet care
The RSPCA is probably the UK’s most well-known animal charity. Last year, the RSPCA rescued and collected 129,602 animals.
It also helps animals in need by offering low-cost vet care in its hospitals and clinics across the UK.
To find out if you are eligible for low-cost vet care with this charity, you will need to check with your local RSPCA.
It is not just when your animal is sick or injured that they will need to visit the vet. There are also non-emergency preventative treatments that form a key part of keeping an animal healthy, such as vaccinations and flea and worm treatments.
Even if it turns out that the RSPCA does not offer veterinary services where you live, they say that they may be able to provide financial assistance.
Blue Cross for pets
The Blue Cross can provide free vet treatment to animals that are sick and injured if their owners cannot afford to pay private vet fees. The Blue Cross has both animal hospitals and pet care clinics.
Only those on certain means-tested benefits will qualify for free vet treatment with the Blue Cross. You will also need to be in one of the catchment areas for one of the Blue Cross’ clinics or hospitals.
As a charity, the Blue Cross asks that owners make a contribution of whatever they can afford towards the cost of their animal’s veterinary care.
The PDSA also offers vet care services in the form of both reduced cost and free veterinary care. Again, you will need to qualify in order to be able to access these services.
Initially, you will need to find out if you live in a PDSA catchment area.
As well as these national charities, there are also local animal charities that may be able to help you.
Do not wait: access vet care in an emergency
If your pet requires attention from a vet in an emergency, it is important to take action immediately. The RSPCA offers ‘round the clock’ help to those who are registered at one of its hospitals.
You can find a vet by looking at the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons’ website.
If you are unsure whether or not your pet needs a vet immediately, there is a symptom checker that could help you decide on vethelpdirect.
It is also possible to call a vet. The RSPCA has more information about this on its website.
Consider taking out pet insurance
Vet bills can be costly. The RSPCA recommends that pet owners consider investing in pet insurance. Pet insurance could help to cover the cost of vet treatment that you had not planned for if your animal is ill or injured.
MoneySavingExpert has a page which talks in detail about the purpose of pet insurance and offers advice on how to find the cheapest pet insurance.
Consider a healthcare package for your animal
Many vets offer pet healthcare packages.
These packages, normally paid for on a monthly basis, can help you to spread out the cost of veterinary care for your pet/s.
There are different packages available at different price points.
Some healthcare packages will just offer the basics, such as flea and worm treatments and annual vaccinations. Usually, these packages also offer pet owners a percentage off other treatments, such as neutering and dental procedures.
Other packages can include more services but will usually be more costly.
Ask your local vet for more information about what is available in your area.
Conclusion: Low-cost vet care for those in need
Private vet fees can be expensive but no animal should have to suffer without vet treatment. If you cannot afford to pay for a private vet, you may qualify for free or low-cost vet care with a charity like the RSPCA.
Taking out pet insurance could help you to deal with any unexpected bills if your animal were to suddenly fall ill or get injured.
Additionally, a pet healthcare plan could help you to spread out the cost of the vet visits necessary to keep your pet healthy.