Veterinary perspective: How to save money at your vet

Dr. Joanna Bronson

The medical cost is increasing in all sectors, including veterinary medicine. Barring obvious signs of trauma or illness, pet owners usually know when to take their pets to a veterinary clinic. To avoid unnecessary expenses, read on…

The #1 way to save money is to practice basic preventative care. Feeding good quality foods and using monthly heartworm prevention medications top the charts to start with. An example would be that poor quality dry food can lead to urinary problems in cats which can extend to possible surgery. While high-end pet foods may not always be feasible or even the best for your pets, educating yourself about the types of pet foods is a valuable tool.

Preventing dietary problems before they require intervention and specialized diets will save money.

Vaccinations save lives, especially for contagious diseases such as Parvo which can be life threatening even when caught early. Parvo vaccines are very inexpensive and can provide immunity against this horrific disease that will claim the lives of over 15% of its victims each year. Treatments can cost up to $1,000 and more for those who are successful.

The second way to save money with your pet is to educate yourself on the signs of illness. Animals are good at hiding pain and illness, but signs can be seen through physical symptoms and behavioral changes.

Physical signs may include vomiting and diarrhea, lack of appetite or decreased activity, changes in elimination habits, coughing or sneezing, hair loss or itchy skin, and stiffness, lameness or difficulty getting up. These symptoms are basic and can indicate a number of acute or chronic underlying conditions.

Another tip is to be upfront with your financial situation. It is our policy to be upfront with possible expenses before treating an animal, and it is always good to ask questions. Diagnostic tests are increasing alongside human health care. If additional testing is warranted and your finances are limited, ask if there are any payment plans available or other treatment options that may not be as expensive and may take longer.

However, please understand that some illnesses and trauma cases may be open to the extent that we cannot predict the exact cost or outcome of surgery or treatments as each case differs based on factors such as age , condition and severity of illness or injury. We need your permission to continue processing.

Only you know your budget and must make your decisions about what you can afford with treatment plans. We are here to help pets and owners and appreciate your honesty in developing the best treatment plans.

For some, pet insurance has become a standard option. The usual policies help pay for emergency pet visits with varying deductible and reimbursement rates. Pet insurance has no limits in the network, so anyone can register and continue to consult their usual veterinarian.

Coverage inclusions differ by provider. Buyers can select the plans they choose.

For example, the Accident-Only and Accident & Illness plans cover a different range of office visits. Some companies even have options to add preventative care coverage that helps pay for routine visits.

At BVS, we respect both Scratch Pay and CareCredit. We can help customers open their accounts and work out a payment plan.

Practicing home safety is one of the best ways to prevent accidents. Protect your puppy from a home by securing items such as accessible wires, curtain cords, socks, toys, medications, household and automotive chemicals (antifreeze), fertilizers and poisonous plants from the inside and outside the house to ensure the safety of pets.

Routine wellness checks are like annual medical checkups to us. Finding a condition before it becomes serious is always better than postponing a diagnosis with more serious and possibly irreversible or very expensive treatment.

Pest control treatments must be continuous because pests are always present in the environment and not just outside. Fleas, ticks, mites, roundworms, whipworms, hookworms, tapeworms, heartworms, ringworm, and giardiasis (one-celled protozoa) can affect any cat or dog. Identifying the parasite and using effective preventative treatments can protect your pet from the harmful effects of a parasitic infection which can be fatal, especially if the infestation is caused by heartworms. Any infestation is harmful and can lead to further complications and even death if the condition is severe.

Neutering and neutering animals will also prolong their lifespan.

Being vigilant, diligent in preventative care, providing clean water and quality food will save you money in the long run.

Dr Joanna Bronson of Bronson Veterinary Services, located at 452 W. Central Road, Coldwater. Contact her at (517) 369-2161 or visit