UPDATE July 9: I heard from the rescue who stepped up who was at this e-vet at the time and that rescue is making sure the bill is covered. Rescue talked to the staff at that particular clinic and they did confirm that no, they would not treat a dying animal if funds weren’t covered at the time of service. The rescue got the same reply from each and every veterinarian contacted that night. This is the way things are done. Unfortunately, there is no fair way to handle the situation to prevent unscrupulous pet owners from misusing the system. These rules are in place because people haven’t paid in the past. The puppy is recovering.
This article is about whether emergency animal clinics should be required to provide a minimum of care, even if the owner cannot pay the bill in its entirety at the time of treatment. What should a pet owner do in a true life-or-death emergency?
The topic of this discussion was brought to my attention shortly after midnight when a puppy was turned away from an emergency clinic in North Carolina after possibly ingesting antifreeze. The owner didn’t have the funds to cover the entire bill and was literally sitting in a parking lot trying to find someone to help her dog.
Emergency clinics are expensive. Most charge $100+ just to walk in the door. Add on tests and treatment and possibly hospitalization, and the bill can quickly get out of control for the average pet owner.
We can talk about the importance of having pet insurance or a line of credit specifically for pets and that a person who can’t afford emergency treatment shouldn’t own a pet in the first place. Emergencies do happen. A stray is injured or a dog is attacked by another dog. Things that aren’t daily routine for most animal lovers/owners.
What is a reasonable plan to get the poor pet treated while protecting the clinic as a business that must turn a profit to survive?
Should veterinary clinics be able to do this? To turn away a suffering animal at the door because the owner can’t pay? A lot of pet owners end up in this situation and any thoughts as to how to handle an emergency are open for discussion in the comment section.