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Dr. Shellys blog

Dr. Shellys blog
September 8, 2014 Nichole Pembroke

Caring for Your Pets in Trying Times

 In trying economic times, it is sometimes difficult to give our family pets the healthcare that they so desperately need. Neglecting your pet’s needs is not only hard on your animals, but hard on you who care so much about them. Here are some tips on how to keep your pet healthy and still stay on budget.

  1. If you have multiple pets, stage their visits to the veterinarian. Bring in 1 animal per month for their yearly exam, heartworm test (dogs), fecal and vaccinations. It is a lot easier to pay a smaller sum once a month than to pay a large chunk all at once.

  2. Buy your animal’s flea and tick and heartworm prevention by the month, instead of by the box. A few vet clinics don’t inflate the price if you buy it monthly. Ask to make sure. You can’t do that with most online pharmacies

  3. Do not try to purchase drugs with bulk buying online pharmacies like 1-800-PET-MEDS. The storage of their products is not controlled and often times the drugs will no longer perform or can even be dangerous. Some vet clinics will price match and surprisingly, local prices may be the same or even lower than online pharmacies.

  4. If your animals need to be spayed or neutered, ask if the clinic has a “group discount”. Most clinics will give you a 10-15% discount if you bring in 3 or more. If are truly struggling, Noah’s Ark has a voucher program for those with a Medicaid Card, Lone Star Card or are making less than $30,000/yr.

  5. If you need to bring in multiple animals at once for a well visit, often times you may also get a “group discount”

  6. If a senior, ask about “senior citizen discounts”.

  7. Finally, if you just can’t afford to do everything for your pet, have your veterinarian prioritize what they know to be the most important preventative care and then you can decide what you can afford. You can always come back next month and have the rest of the care completed.

 If money is tight, do not completely give up on caring for your pet. If you decide not to vaccinate your puppy, he can die of Parvo Virus or cost you thousands to treat him. If you decide not to give heartworm prevention to your dog, you could pay up to $1000 in treatment and still have a dog with permanent heart damage. Kittens can die of Panleukopenia or become very ill with Feline Herpes Virus if left unvaccinated. Rabies vaccinations are important for both dogs and cats, because Rabies virus is not only deadly to animals but also to people. Animals with internal parasites can give them to children playing in the yard that they share. In these tough economic times, don’t skimp on your pet’s care, just plan ahead and buy smart. Your pet will thank you.

About the author: DR. SHELLY GOMULAK of Independence Equine and Small Animal Clinic, Gainesville, Texas, grew up in upstate New York in a dairy farming community. She attended Cornell University in Ithaca, NY achieving a bachelor’s of science. She liked it so much that she stayed at Cornell for veterinary school as well. After graduating, Dr. Shelly completed a 1 year internship program at Berwyn Animal Hospital, a specialty clinic in Chicago, IL. She has been practicing just short of 15 years with an emphasis on small animal medicine and surgery. Shelly also enjoys working with exotics and the special challenges of shelter medicine. She and her husband Matt came to Texas 14 years ago and loved it so much they never left (insert tongue in cheek). They have 4 children and are very involved with the local animal shelter, Noah’s Ark.