Seniors, pets and veterinary bills...oh my

I recently read the following article in the Senior Edition of Huffington Post and being a dog owner, I do seek the best pricing possible when it come to veterinary costs and prescriptions; after all I work very hard for my money and so do you. Why didn't I think to share this information, after all  I have researched prescriptions online and purchased with a 50% savings at KV  Supply, some have even been free at Publix.  When the time came to put Romeo my chocolate lab to rest, I was shocked at the $500. quote I received.  Yes,  I shopped and prepared for the day.  I found a veterinarian that was $300 less and allowed me to be with him when he went to sleep. I am down to one baby, that would be Beau and we are still look for a savings.  If you have any questions or if I can help you save, feel free to send me an email.

                                                                                                                                                                      Beau

 

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Dear Savvy Senior,
What tips can you recommend to help senior pet owners with their veterinary bills? I have two cats and a dog that are family to me, but their vet bills have become unaffordable.

--Fix Income Frankie

Dear Frankie,
The high cost of veterinary care has become a problem for millions of pet owners today, but it can be especially difficult for seniors living on a fixed income. Routine medical care can cost hundreds of dollars, while urgent/specialized treatments and procedures can run into the thousands. But, it is possible to reduce your pet care costs without sacrificing their health. Here are some tips that can help you save.

Shop around: If you're not attached to a particular veterinarian, call some different vet clinics in your area and compare costs. When you call, get price quotes on basic services like annual exams and vaccinations, as well as bigger-ticket items, like to repair a broken leg, so you can compare. Also, check to see if you live near a veterinary medical school  veterinary medical school. Many schools provide low-cost care provided by students who are overseen by their professors.

Ask your vet for help: To help make your vet bills more manageable, see if your vet's office accepts monthly payments so you don't have to pay the entire cost up front. Also, find out if your vet offers discounts to senior citizens or reduces fees for annual checkups if you bring in multiple pets.

Search for low-cost care: Many municipal and nonprofit animal shelters offer free or low-cost spaying and neutering programs and vaccinations, and some work with local vets who are willing to provide care at reduced prices for low-income and senior pet owners. Call your local shelter or humane society to find out what's available in your area.

Look for financial assistance: There are a number of state and national organizations that provide financial assistance to pet owners in need. To locate these programs, the U.S. Humane Society provides a listing on their website.

Buy cheaper medicine: Medicine purchased at the vet's office is usually much more expensive than you can get from a regular pharmacy or online. Instead, get a prescription from your vet (ask for generic is possible) so you can shop for the best price.

Most pharmacies such as Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Kmart, Rite Aid and Target fill prescriptions for pets inexpensively, so long as that same drug is also prescribed to humans. And, many pharmacies offer pet discount savings programs too.

You can also save by shopping online at one of the Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites accredited by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, like 1-800-PetMeds, Drs. Foster & Smith, KV Supply, and PetCareRx.

Consider pet insurance: If you can afford it, pet insurance is another option worth looking into. You can get a basic policy for under $10 per month, and some insurers provide discounts for insuring multiple pets. See petinsurancereview.com to compare policies. Membership discount plans like Pet Assure are another way to save, but you'll need to use a vet in their network.

Look for other ways to save: In addition to cutting your veterinary bills, you can also save on pet food and other supplies depending on where you shop. Target, Walmart, Costco and the dollar stores typically offer much lower prices than supermarkets and specialty retailers like Petco and PetSmart. You can also save on treats and toys at sites like coupaw.com and doggyloot.com