The first thing to do is to get to the closest vet right away. Do not spend time calling around to get the cheapest prices. The few dollars saved is not worth your pet's health. After initial treatment, then you can call around looking for the cheapest follow up care.
The more time you spend making phone calls, searching the Internet, asking for money, etc..the sicker your pet will get. Not only does the pet suffer needlessly, but your vet bill is going to be even higher when you go in because the pet is going to be sicker
Never try any home treatments. Never use anyone else's medications. You will wind up making your pet sicker and then vet treatment is going to be more expensive.
Unless you are a vet, you don't have the expertise to treat your pet yourself. Treatments are different for every animal. A medication prescribed for one dog or cat will make another one sick.
If you don't have any money to go to the vet, stop by the pawn shop on the way to the vet. Pawn anything that isn't more valuable than your pet. Which is anything and everything - your television, jewelry, computer, etc..
Or get a pay day loan or a car title loan. After the pet is taken care of, you can pay back the loan by cutting back on expenses:
- Turn off cable TV
- Turn off your cell phone service or at least get a cheaper service. You can get a pay-as-you-go plan from Virgin Mobile for 5 dollars a month. Only talk on the phone for emergencies
- Give up beer and any other type of alcohol
- Give up cigarettes
- Give up any consumption that is not necessary - you don't need potato chips, cakes, pies, etc..
- Eat less food
- Give up meat. A meal of beans and rice is full of protein, fiber and vitamins and you can eat for a few cents
- Don't eat out
- Give up illegal drugs
- Give up prescription drugs if if giving them up isn't a detriment to your health
- Give up over the counter pain killers - the pet's well being is more important than your pain.
- Take on a second or third job
No one can diagnose your pet over the phone or over the Internet (not even a vet) you have to physically take your pet to the vet to get examined.
Before your pet gets sick or hurt
Buy pet insurance just in case your pet gets sick or hurt
Keep a saving account just for pet care (if you don't have money for a saving account, see ways to cut back above)
Never let your pet run loose if you know you can't afford vet care when he gets hit. Even if you can afford vet care, never let your pet run loose.
Keep your pet up to date on shots. The shots are a lot cheaper than paying for the illness that will result from not getting shots.
Keep your pet on Heartworm Preventative. HW preventative also will prevent other parasites. And the preventative is a lot cheaper than treating your pet for parasites
Establish a relationship with a regular vet. If something major happens to your pet, a vet who knows you and your pet is more likely to work with you on a payment plan.
Before you get a pet.
Look at your income and budget. Do you have an extra 2000 a year to spare after paying bills and putting away money for retirement and putting away money for the kids education and for rainy day savings? If so, then it's probably okay to get a new fuzzy companion.
If you don't have the extra money, then do not get a pet. It's not fair to the pet. And it's not fair to your friends, family and strangers who will wind up caring for your pet when you cannot.
Don't have a lot of money but you still want to get a pet?
Are you willing to go hungry to pay vet bills so that you pet won't suffer?
Are you willing to work extra hours or take on a second job to pay vet bills so your pet won't suffer ?
Are you willing to give up non essential things like cable TV, Internet, cell phone, air conditioning, cigarettes, etc.. so your pet won't suffer?
If you can't answer yes to all of the above, please don't get a pet.
If you have a pet that you can't afford, are you willing to try to find a good home with excellent vet records and enough money to care for a pet?
If you can't afford Vet Care:
Low Cost Spay Neuter/VaccinationsMan and Beast
Animal Defense League
Windcrest Animal Hospital
San Antonio Animal Control
More info here: http://fuzzychildren.blogspot.com/2010/03/low-cost-spay-neuter-vaccinations-in.html
Low Cost Pet Meds1800petmeds.com
Shelters/Rescue Groups/Contacts, etc..