Saving Money on Veterinary Expenses

Cute puppy with vet in background.
Keeping your pet healthy and happy is dependent on good veterinary care. However, good care can be very expensive. There are ways to save money on these costs without jeopardizing the health of your pet. This is a page to saving money on veterinary expenses.

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March 29, 2011

An old neighbor of mine, that used to live on a farm, showed me how to vaccinate my dog myself. I had never heard of this before, but the vaccinations were much cheaper than a vet visit. I buy the vaccinations at the local feed store (except rabies.) When I asked my vet about this, she said it is a good way to save money on pet care, especially for younger dogs that do not need an annual checkup as much as an older dog would.

This tip also helped when we got a rescue dog that was so fearful of things (especially of the vet) that it was terribly traumatic for her to go. When I vaccinated her myself, she didn't even realize she had gotten a shot!


By Kay from North Bend, WA

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January 18, 2013

Don't ya love the title, a cat owner, as if you could really "own" any cat, and not the other way around. I have been doing my share of kitten care, who have "come of age" so to speak and get different ailments. Some of them start out on the wrong foot and in spite of that make it. Gizmo is one such little girl, who was born in a bad situation and abandoned by momma cat. You can see her picture at the end of this article.Cats on chair and table.


Anyway, here are some of the situations you might see if you are a multiple cat owner or rescuer:

Cats, Cats, and More Cats

This is one of those things that happens, whether you like it to or not. You see when you are a cat owner, you really are adopted by the cat and not the other way around. Ask anyone who has a cat if this is true.

Another aspect of cat care, is the "coming home pregnant the day before the vet appointment." They just seem to know. They have a sixth sense with their nine lives. So in this way you increase the number of cats in the household. If you do not get the necessary surgery done soon enough, you will become overrun by the prodigy of the few you started with. On the good side, you can make Farmvilles for them all.

Crusty Ears and Ear Mites

Usually about the time a cat is about four or five pounds, there will be a few problems which will inevitably come up. That is the time I have noticed the most problems with ear mites, worms, etc.

I found my littlest one, this morning, with crusty ears, and she didn't have them the night before. She must have picked up the ear mites somewhere. She is probably spreading them to the other cats in the house. Yay!

Well, I cleaned them with olive oil, wiped them out, not reaching way in, just the canal. I wiped them the best I could, and then I dried that off of the ear canal. Never insert anything way down into the ear canal. We are just wiping the walls of the ear canal off with this cleaning technique. You can see videos on on how to clean cat's ears.

If I had had vitamin E, I would have used equal amounts of it with the olive oil. Since I didn't have the vitamin E, I just used the olive oil to clean the ear with. Olive oil is very soothing. This method is discussed on

After that, I took one of my syringes, I get from the farm supply stores, the really small ones, which hold only 1 ml and are very thin. These I will put peroxide in and clean the ear with that. You can dilute the peroxide with water. In a really bad case, I won't dilute the peroxide. This was a very bad case.

I take the needles out of the syringes and throw them away in the cover they come with. I use the little syringes because they can't see you coming at them with them hidden mostly by your palm. I never stick it far into the ear just a little and softly squirt the diluted peroxide into the ear canal and wait for them to shake their head. This also cleaned the skin in the ear canal working very nicely.

You can find additional information on cleaning a cat's ears with peroxide or alcohol on the internet. Some people even seem to have success using hand sanitizer, but not if there are open wounds. I found this information at

After I saw the ear was as clean as I could get it without going deeply into the ear, I dried it off with tissue paper. Then I put the amount of pyrethrin drops in there as written on the bottle. You can get those at There are many different kinds of them. I haven't noticed an allergic reaction with her so I will keep using the drops.

Fleas and Tapeworms

You are never going to get away from fleas, because they are outside. There are things you can do to make the cat less attractive, but my favorite way to deal with them is to buy an Advantage Refill Kit at first and then just the Advantage refill later.

What it is, is a large size Advantage tube, a syringe without a needle, and a topical application chart by weight in cats. The actual kit has the amber bottle you pour all the Advantage into, and then take out what you need in the syringe.

Once you have the amber bottle you can just buy the refill without the amber bottle cheaper. It comes with a syringe that is 1 ml in volume. It is really easy to dose all the cats with what they need. I also buy one of these when my large dog who is over fifty pounds and needs Advantage, too, because it is the same price and I get the syringe and the dosage chart for free. You can order the starter kit online. If you have lots of cats this saves you tons of money. So these are the ways to deal with fleas.

Now comes the tapeworms, from the fleas. All kittens have them. What do I hear? A goat at our house? No, I wish we had a goat, but we only have the Goat Safeguard dewormer you can buy at the pet supply store. I buy mine at the feed store or off of I love as you can tell by now.

What I buy is 100 mg per ml. I use a tuberculin syringe, it has a total of 1 ml in it. You will be dealing with small dosages with kittens. This is NOT a teaspoon. A teaspoon is 5 ml. We are dealing with 1 ml and below.

The dosage I use is the following:

.25 ml for a ten pound cat
.12 ml for a five pound cat
.6 ml for a 2.5 pound cat

I don't worm cats under this poundage because they are really too young in my experience.

It is so much easier, especially with grown cats to take them to the vet's and get them pilled and then the vet is the bad guy. I have one cat I will not do the worming on or any medication on unless it is amoxicillin. He is just too wild. I had him at the vet today for his rabies shot and then he took a droncit pill. The vet used a pill pusher, a stick like thing that keeps you from getting your hands bitten by the cat. I could have done the goat Safeguard which is the same thing, but I didn't want the cat to see me as the bad guy. I am trying to change some perspective with him and I need him to have rapport with me. So the total cost of the visit was about 30. 15 dollars for the rabies shot and 15 dollars for the droncit pill.
The Goat safeguard, which is 100 mg per ml is more expensive at first, but is saves money in the long run and is the same thing.

Next comes the time when a kitten gets stressed and scratched or scratched and infected. I always have amoxicillin on hand. I save any I get and then if I need it I order fish mox or other antibiotic for fish from

The dosage for cats is as follows:

The size of the dose depends on the weight of the cat and the severity of the infection. It can be administered in doses ranging from 6.6 to 20 milligrams of amoxicillin per 2.2 pounds of body weight. That means a 10 pound cat will receive 30 milligrams of medicine two to three times a day, according to the veterinarian's directives.

In order to dose a cat you need to know his weight and the amount of mg per teaspoon. I have some amox left that is 400 per tsp. Here is how I figure their dosages based on their weight and the amount of mg in the bottle. It is a little weird, but I am not a math genius.

"Gizmo" is about 4 pounds so her dosage would be, for a serious infection, 20 mg per 2 pounds of body weight. She is four pounds so she would get 40 mg. She needs a little less than 1/2 of a 1/4 tsp of amox right now if it is 400 mg per teaspoon, and a teaspoon is 5 ml, not to confuse the issue.

The amox is in 400 mg per teaspoon so here is the breakdown. We are looking for the magic dose of 40 mg.

400 mg 1 tsp
200 mg 1/2 tsp
100 mg 1/4 tsp
50 mg 1/8 tsp = 1/2 of 1/4 tsp
25 mg 1/16th tsp 1/2 of the above amount or 1/2 of 1/8 teaspoon

Sometimes we will take in emergency cases and treat them here and then find homes for them later on. I love taking them to the vet's, but I also love using the same meds at home when they are the exact same thing. We are about at our limit right now, with five cats. But at least they are all healthy. :) I learned a lot from my wildlife rehab friends, who work with many animals and have to find ways to save the animals suffering, and there are a large number of them, making individual vet trips impossible, except for special cases.

I hope this little essay has been helpful to you. It has helped many cats that have come through here to survive, in fact, even to thrive. If you see any problems with my dosages please let me know. Perfection is a work in progress! Blessings.

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July 14, 2011

When you do have to take your pet to the vet, don't get the price from the front desk. When you see the vet, question him about the price and agree on what you are willing to pay and what he will do for that amount.

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February 16, 2005

I have always struggled to come up with the money for my dogs' annual visit to the vet. I decided that I would pre-pay every month and create a credit balance with the vet.


This seems to be working out. I have now paid off last year's services and have a credit balance towards this year's visit.

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Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 5,887 Posts
May 12, 2006

Many veterinarians will give a discount if you bring in more than one pet at a time, if you've adopted your pet from a shelter, and some even give senior citizen discounts! It doesn't hurt to inquire about these kinds of discounts.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

October 18, 2011

Dog with scarf on her head.I have a dog that I have had for 11 years. She has a problem with her bladder. She needs to pee all the time and sometimes has blood in it. I am looking for a vet that is in my area that works with low income families. My husband has recently been laid off and I work as a bartender. We are having a problem even making rent. Please help me!

By Cindy G.


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October 19, 20110 found this helpful

I've been in your situation. I found help for my elderly dog by ringing around to the vets and baldly asking for help. I prepared before starting the phone calls by writing down a simple paragraph that I could just read as an introduction to why I was calling and what I needed.


The paragraph read along the lines of "May I speak with the practice manager to see if I can arrange low cost help caring for my 11 year old neutered Boxer? I'm willing to help clean the kennels or whatever in trade for vet care for my dog. I'm having financial troubles right now and can't afford extra pet care costs but my dog needs vet care for ..."

It took me about five phone calls to find a vet clinic willing to help me and my furbaby. I cleaned out pens, did landscaping work, and walked recovering or kenneled dogs in exchange for vet care for my baby the last two years of his life.

Good luck and don't give up, there are a lot of good vet staffs out there who will work with you, and will also have information on low-cost clinics they can refer you to.

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October 24, 20110 found this helpful

You did not state what state or county you live.

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October 24, 20110 found this helpful

I have often heard that the ASPCA is available for low cost pet health care. However, I have never tried it. I did see on an episode of Animal Cops on Animal Planet, that a woman received low-cost care for her dog from the ASPCA.


She did not have to give him up. She did not "just" adopt him. She lived in the city. I forget which one. But she took him in and they treated him.

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October 24, 20110 found this helpful

The following two links will give you some good information!
Good luck!

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October 24, 20110 found this helpful

You have gotten some good feedback. Please post again for everyone to see if you have found no help, list your state and county the next time too. Cindy, I hope everything is looking a little sunnier each day for you and your dog.

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October 25, 20110 found this helpful

I wish you lots of luck on this. I have been through the same thing, in fact am now I have an 11 year old Yorkie and am on disability. We grow to love our furbabies just like children.


God bless you and your beautiful dog. Sometimes I just pray that my baby will go to sleep easily, and God will take care of him.

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October 24, 2012

My kitten may have a broken leg. I don't have hardly any money due to taking care of family member. I need some humane advice on how I can get help for my kitten.

By Kim


October 26, 20120 found this helpful

Contact your local humane society and ASPCA, maybe even local shelters-if there is low cost care available they will be able to tell you where. Years ago I was adopted by a kitten, and was pretty low-income. Couldn't turn my back on my kitty so I called around and at the time there was a local clinic that charged fees on a sliding scale (income based). I was able to keep him healthy and even get him fixed for a small amount. Best wishes and hugs for your kitty!

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February 3, 2017

Low income pet owners are often faced with the dilemma of the high cost of vet bills versus their pet's health. This is a page about getting help to pay vet bills.

A bill from the veterinarian.

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August 10, 2016

This is a page about finding financial assistance for pet medical costs. The cost of keeping your pets healthy can be expensive, especially when they need extensive medical or surgical care.

Sad dog laying on vet bed having cast put on broken leg

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