Senior pet owners have options to afford pet care

Although Geoff Smoot’s opinion piece on, “Cost of Veterinary Care is Out of Control,” provides some insight into the value of pet ownership for seniors, it also makes some unfair – and uneducated – generalizations about the value and cost of veterinary medical care for pets.

Pet ownership is a privilege, not a right, and comes with responsibilities – including proper veterinary care. No one better understands the value of the human-animal bond than veterinarians, but veterinarians are also small-business owners with considerable overhead invested in their education, facilities and equipment, inventory, staff, and continued training and education. Add to that the rising expectations of pet owners for advanced procedures and care, which demand additional equipment and training, and costs increase.

Veterinarians are extremely compassionate people who often give more than they can afford to give, but they do have to make a living. Many, if not all, veterinarians provide discounts for pet-owning seniors or are willing to work with the senior pet owner to keep costs manageable and allow long-term payment if necessary. A number of charities provide assistance for veterinary costs and other care of pets owned by seniors. Pet insurance offers additional protection, especially for unexpected emergencies and illnesses.

We take particular exception to Mr. Smoot’s accusation of veterinary incompetence. Veterinarians share pet owners’ frustration when a pet’s problem can’t easily be figured out and treated, but Mr. Smoot should consider that, unlike human patients, veterinary patients cannot tell their doctor where it hurts. Beyond a history and physical exam, additional diagnostic procedures are often necessary to provide an answer or, at least, to rule out some of the possible causes for the ailment.

For those seniors out there who have pets, we encourage you to talk to your veterinarian and discuss your financial limitations. If you cannot afford veterinary care for your beloved companion, there are options to help offset those costs.

4 thoughts on “Senior pet owners have options to afford pet care

  1. @Amber
    I am so sorry for your situation and I am in the same one. I am disabled and my husbands business is in serious trouble, no work, behind in everything and now my dog is sick. I see all this help on line and when you call there is none. And yes I use to have the money to take care of them and how dare Milssa say I should not own a pet. I use to work 3 jobs, raised 7 children. Is it my fault our country is run by crooks and no jobs. That woman and people like her should look in the mirror. For when things get worse I wouldn’t give her a piece of bread. My dogs are like my children and I didn’t expect to be financially worse off now than when I was 20. I am in New York and it’s the worst all the way around. Time to look for not just a new state but a new country if even that is possible. The US greed has destroyed most of the world and that is why everyone hates American. What a shame.

  2. Do you go to the grocery store and expect them to set up a payment plan? No. You have to understand that the services provided to you at a vet’s office costs money and if everyone walking in set up a payment plan, they would go out of business. It’s not like the old days where you would have the vet come out to look at your cow and then give him some eggs and lumber as a barter. Asking for money up front is not greedy, it’s running a business. If you can’t afford to take care of a pet then you shouldn’t have one. It sounds mean but it’s not. It’s being realistic. And I don’t know of one vet that won’t accept credit cards. I’d like to know who that is. The vet world is aware of people’s financial problems. Companies are starting to develop plans to help including CareCredit and PaymentBanc. It’s not disgusting that they would be more willing to put a loved pet to sleep, it’s the hard facts of life.

  3. this is not always true. were i live none of the vets nor humane society or animal controle will help seniors or low income people with there vet bills. they all want the money upfront in cash ans some wonte accept credit cards either. many many people are forced to put there animals down every year because it is the cheepest option its disgusting that they would be more willing to put a very loved pet to sleep then set up a payment plan.