Paying Emergency Medical Bills for Your Pet

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pet medical bill, emergency pet bill, pet expenses, taking care of your petLast summer, my husband and I were hit with a large and unexpected expense that couldn’t have happened at a worse time.

I had just quit my full-time job for self-employment and we were living on a pretty tight budget. So when our cat had a life-threatening accident we were unsure of how we would cover the expense. Since our cat is an important member of our family, we knew that we’d have to make the a sacrifice for his health. There was no other way around it.

The big incident

One evening my husband was hemming a pair of his work slacks and he left the needle unattended for a few minutes. When he returned the needle was missing and our cat looked pretty uncomfortable.

We took him to the pet ER where the x-ray confirmed our worst nightmare. A sewing needle was stuck in his esophagus. (And we still have the x-rays to prove it!). After we were given the horrible news, our family was transferred to another medical center for further treatment.

Once we arrived at the second location for observation and intervention, we found out our options were to hope the needle would pass without damaging his organs or have it removed surgically. Since we refused to take our chances while he lay in pain, we went with the second option. We left the animal hospital with over $3,000 spent in total.

Finding the money for the surgery

So how did we pay for it? At first we considered using cash to pay for all of the medical expenses. But it would have taken a huge chunk out of our emergency fund and I felt nervous depleting so much of our liquid assets in one transaction.

Since this unexpected expense occurred right after my departure from a regular paycheck, I was even more anxious of what the future would hold. Thankfully we discovered a financing option before our cat went into surgery and we decided it would be the best option for our financial situation.

Using CareCredit

To finance our vet fees we used CareCredit and we’re still happy we chose it. If your service provider accepts it, CareCredit is a credit card you use on medical expenses for yourself or pets. With qualifying purchases, CareCredit offers interest free promotions for 6, 12, 18, or 24 month¬†periods.

My husband applied for the CareCredit card on his phone in the lobby of the medical office and we were approved within minutes with no interest for 12 months. And of course we expect to pay it off within 12 months to avoid interest.

One thing that’s important to note, if you plan to use CareCredit you must pay before the end of the promotion period. Otherwise interest will accrue at 26.99% APR from the date the purchase is made. In our case, the interest on our medical bills has already reached over $300. Trust me, we have no intention of paying it.

What’s your take?

Not everyone’s a pet person, so the amount of money that we spent to save our cat might sound crazy. But in our opinion it’s money well spent. Have you ever encountered an emergency expense on your pet? How did you find the money to pay for it?

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