There's probably no worse feeling for a pet owner than knowing a beloved pet needs surgery and you can't afford it. If the vet bills are stacking up and you can't pay for the operation, there's still hope. A number of nonprofit groups and organizations help cover either part or all of the costs of surgery -- as long as you meet their requirements.
A number of organizations have grants and financial aid available for specific breeds -- so if you have a dog that falls into that group, that might be a good place to start. For example, Labrador Harbor provides funds for medical and surgical treatment of labradors while CorgiAid helps corgis or corgi mixes. Each breed-specific organization has its own regulations regarding dollar maximums and what dog qualifies. For example, CorgiAid offers grants of up to $3,000, but anything over $1,500 requires additional approval and discussion.
All Types of Surgery and Vet Care
If you can't find a breed-specific organization, your next option is to go for general aid groups. Angels4Animals is one example. The group focuses on helping pets who are at a risk of being euthanized because their owners can't afford the vet bill. Angels4Animals works directly with the vet to set up a financial arrangement and then they pay for the bill directly. Another option is the AAHA Helping Pets Fund, which accepts applications for help directly from vets, as well as from owners. Rather than having a dollar limit, these two groups consider each case individually before making a choice to help.
Non-Emergency Surgery and Care
If you're looking for help with non-emergency surgery, The Pet Fund might be able to help. The application process for The Pet Fund is extensive and very detailed, and it requires you to make a phone call to the organization, followed by mailing in an application for help. You will have to provide information about your income, plus details about your vet, including his medical license number and paperwork from your vet explaining the required treatment and the approximate cost of the procedure.
Things to Keep in Mind
Because groups providing funds for medical and surgery care are nonprofit, they have limits to how much they can do. Some groups might have a limited amount of money they can give away before they run out -- and then must turn everybody else down. Other groups might make decisions on a case-by-case basis, so your pet might not qualify even if he does require surgery.
Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.