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How to Get an "Almost" Free Veterinarian Visit

Updated on May 7, 2014

Is There Really Such a Thing as a Free Vet Exam?

Did you ever hope there was such a thing as a free veterinarian exam? I am sure many hoped about this and you are not alone. It could be your child just got expensive braces, your boss refused you a pay raise, and it's already time for your mortgage payment. In the midst of all these financial issues, Rover starts getting sick. Why is it always at the wrong time? As much as you love your dog, you just don't seem to not have enough money for a veterinarian visit.

To make things worse, others make you feel even worse about this. You ask around and people are pointing the finger at you telling you you are an irresponsible dog owner, that you should have put money aside for emergencies as this, and that your dog should have pet insurance. This doesn't help at all. You call around several vet clinics and none of them want to take payment plans. They tell you you need to be an established client. It may sound heartless, but many vet clinics seem like they don't care about your pets until you show them the money. After all, the same happens in many other fields. What to do? You may feel desperate, especially if your dog is sick and suffering. While there is no such thing as a totally free vet, there are some options than can help you save some money.

Some Options to Save on Veterinarian Exams

So you know your dog has to see a vet, but cannot come up with much money. You perhaps may have found some friends and family willing to borrow you some money or make donations. Yet, you are not sure the amount is enough to cover the vet expenses, which as you know sums up quite quickly. Following are some ideas that may help out.

See if You can Negotiate a Payment Plan with Your Vet

Sometimes the solution is right under your nose. If you have been a long-time client with your vet and have no outstanding vet bills, some may offer you payment plans. Not all do this do, this is more of a courtesy. Many used to do this but after negative experiences, stopped being nice. At the vet office I used to work for, we offered payment plans for our loyal clients. Our manager had to review the history of the client, and if all payments were in good standing, they would offer the client to pay monthly, sometimes we would make exceptions and accept post-dated checks. All charts of clients with outstanding bills had a red clip on them. This was a sign they owed money. Most clients eventually paid all bills off, when not, our manager took care of the issue and when she did this, she often closed the door of her office. It sounded like a delicate matter...

Check for Veterinary Schools

This won't likely be free, but you may pay considerably less if you're fortunate to live nearby one. Of course, not all are lucky enough to live by a large college or university that offers veterinary degrees. if the school is far, it may not be worth it, when you count the gas. For a list of veterinary schools in your state, visit AVMA or Wikipedia's list of veterinary schools.

Contact Your Local Shelter

Some shelters use low-cost veterinarian clinics or have on-site veterinarians who work a few days a week and are more affordable. Call around and ask for information. They may also have other options and resources at times. The Humane Society offers a helpful online list for those who cannot afford vet bills and these are categorized by State.

Visit a VCA or Banfield Animal Hospital Near You for a Free Exam

This is as close as it can get to free. The first time I saw the words "free vet exam" was on an ad by VCA and I thought it was some sort of gimmick. The insert on the Yellow Pages said just that. Because my dog had seen already two vets and I was eager to hear a third opinion, but wasn't too excited about spending more money, I decided to give VCA a try. So I went on the VCA website, filled out some information and got the free coupon. I called to make sure the free exam wasn't just for shots.

So we went to see the vet the next day. The exam was really free, but of course had to pay to run some tests. At the end, I ended spending $98 instead of $146. I saved a good $48 dollars which is what most vets charge for the vet exam in my area. Another good thing is that the coupon was also good for another dog in the household. So this may be an idea, if you have never used a VCA animal hospital before and want to save some money. Of course, this is not for emergency appointments. Another company offering free vet visits is Banfield. Click here to get your free veterinarian visit coupon: Banfield Free Veterinary Exam

If you are still having a hard time, and your dog's condition isn't an emergency, you can try some other options such as the following:

  • Ask the veterinary clinic if they can help your pet and you can work for them temporarily in exchange.
  • Try asking friends, neighbors and family for help.
  • Prepare a big yard sale, you may have several things you may be able to sell. The cash may accumulate fast.
  • Have many friends on Facebook? Try a Fundraiser on Facebook. You may be surprised by the generosity of your social networking friends!

As seen, not all is lost. You may have some options right under your nose and not be aware of them. Afterward, you may perhaps want to think about getting insurance for your dog. This may help you out in difficult times. Some premiums are as low as $25 a month and may cover up to 80 percent of costs.


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