It’s a problem that every horse owner is familiar with: The big, unexpected vet bill that results from an emergency call, an ongoing issue, or a long-term illness. Vet bills can quickly add up to staggering amounts. That’s why we’ve come up with these five tips to help you deal with big vet bills.
Set Aside an Emergency Fund
The best way to deal with big vet bills is to set aside an emergency fund for each horse well ahead of time. Having this emergency fund saved up means that you can better deal with unexpected expenses. Create a savings account just for your horse, and set aside as much money as possible. You may choose to make a monthly donation of a certain amount to this account to keep it well funded. This emergency account can go far in relieving the stress of a large vet bill.
If your horse is facing an expensive procedure or ongoing costly medication, do a bit of research to determine if there are cheaper ways to get the treatment he needs. Sometimes veterinarians have intern programs, or teaching colleges will perform procedures at discounted rates. Medication may be cheaper if you order it from a human pharmacy. Do your homework and make sure you’re getting the best rates possible.
Talk With the Vet Practice
Let’s say that you’ve just received a huge bill and you know you can’t pay it all at once. Before you panic, talk with the veterinary practice about the situation. Such occurrences are fairly common, and you’re not the first person who hasn’t had the money on-hand to cover an entire bill. Some practices may be willing to take partial payments, or to design a payment plan. It never hurts to ask.
Look into Care Credit
Care Credit is another popular option for financing vet bills. Once approved for Care Credit, you can use the credit card at your veterinary practice to cover the cost of your horse’s bills. Depending on the practice and your account, Care Credit is often interest-free for the first six months, giving you time to pay down the balance. Make sure that you ask the practice if they accept Care Credit, and get the exact date that the interest-free condition will run out – the resulting interest is high and can quickly add up.
Bring In More Income
While not ideal, sometimes the solution to paying down a vet bill is to bring in more income. Consider getting a second job, or working odd jobs like babysitting to help pay down the bill. You might also consider asking if a rough board option is available at your barn, or if you can do barn chores to bring down your board bill.
Hopefully you won’t have to deal with large vet bills often in your life, but there are a number of ways that you can better cope with them when they do happen.