Here in the United Kingdom, we are very lucky to have multiple veterinary charities supporting our pets and their needs. Different charities, though, have different missions. Some veterinary charities are focused on finding forever homes for pets, whilst other charities are focused on providing veterinary care for pets for households that cannot afford the level of care required.
The veterinary care charities will support those struggling to afford veterinary bills, should they meet the financial thresholds to require support. Additionally, they will provide veterinary advice and can help with rehoming pets. Different charities will have different criteria which you must prove you meet in order to gain financial support. Although their websites provide lots of free information, which can be extremely useful in giving free advice to owners.
They may help you to triage your pet, so you know how urgently your pet needs veterinary care or whether monitoring your pet’s health at home is a sensible idea. Some charities will run their own veterinary clinics which you can attend in person. Other charities will offer telephone consultations; whilst still more charities will provide advice and donations towards veterinary fees at another veterinary practice.
UK pet charities include:
Providing free veterinary care to sick and injured pets when their owners cannot afford private veterinary fees. They also give advice, help with behavioural issues, rehome pets, run pet food banks and more.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals mainly ensures pets are living in suitable housing where they are able to live happy lives. The RSPCA can take action in cases of cruelty and neglect. And also provides a safe place and rehoming for strays and pets whose owners can no longer care for them. The RSPCA does contribute to vet funds and commonly has veterinary practitioners associated with their local teams.
People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals provides free of charge or subsidised veterinary care to sick or injured animals whose owners meet their low-income criteria. They have their own veterinary practices and hospitals.
They rescue and rehome cats, as well as offering advice and a free neutering programme across the country.
The Dogs trust rehomes and advocates on behalf of dogs; their Hope Project also offer a veterinary scheme, which provides free veterinary treatment to dogs whose owners are experiencing homelessness or in housing crisis
There are many other local animal charities with similar aims. Be sure to research which charities are best suited to your needs and located nearest to you. Please feel free to recommend any such charities in the comments for other pet owners!
Approaching a charity for help
Whenever seeking help from charities, you need to be completely honest regarding your financial situation and what you can and cannot afford. The veterinary practice you are registered with should also be aware of your financial limitations, so the veterinary professionals can alert you regarding realistic options for your pet and what the likely outcome will be. The criteria to qualify for funding will vary from one charity to another.
Other ways to save money on vets fees
Sometimes obtaining written prescriptions may be cheaper for long-term medications in comparison to purchasing the product repeatedly from your veterinary practice. A written prescription allows you to pay for a prescription from the vets but then order the medication from home to be delivered. It is often cheaper in the long run to do this but please do compare prices of written prescriptions plus the medication fee and delivery fee, compared to purchasing the medication alone directly from the vets to find out which treatment plan is cheaper. And remember to only use online pharmacies which are run by veterinary qualified staff, supplying genuine licenced medicines.
On their websites, many charities have lots of advice and guidance which can be extremely useful. Use this information wisely. It is much more accurate to take advice from veterinary websites such as these, compared with chatrooms.
Charity medicine is something that requires lots of funding.
Because we are lucky enough to have the National Health Service here in the United Kingdom, we often do not realise how expensive the cost of medication and specialist medical work ups are. If you are keen to raise any funds or spread awareness for any of the charities mentioned above, please do. You can contact the charities directly for more information and guidance on fundraising ideas.