Pets With Diabetes    Expenses


When you have a seriously ill pet or a pet that has chronic health conditions, vet bills and costs for medicine and special supplies can rapidly mount up. Here are some ideas to help you figure out how to handle these expenses.
  • Talk to your vet.  Explain that the amount of money you can spend on your pet is limited. Ask if you can arrange a payment  plan. If you've been with your vet for a while, the vet may agree to letting you make monthly payments on your bill.  Ask your vet to try to keep costs to a minimum. You don't want to sacrifice your pet's health, but if the vet knows that funds are limited, he or she may be able to order a specific blood test versus a complete blood panel, or may decide that a less expensive diagnostic test will be sufficient to determine your pet's health care needs. Maybe there is a generic prescription drug that is cheaper than a "name brand" drug.  Many owners who have pets with chronic health problems learn to take care of many of their pet's needs at home.  Many owners do home blood glucose testing.  It may be a good option for both medical and financial reasons.  Talk to your vet and see if there are some things you can learn to do yourself.
  • Re-prioritize your budget. There are probably some things you can do without, and the small amounts of money that you save can really add up. Instead of buying lunch every day, bring a bag lunch to work. A $5 lunch every work-day adds up to about $100 a month. Maybe you pay for extra cable channels that you don't really need.  Take a good look at your spending habits and see if you can find some ways to save money.  You will be amazed at what you might find. Be creative - maybe a garage sale is something you can do. 
  • Shop around for the best prices on supplies. Prices for insulin, syringes, blood glucose testing meters, test strips, lancets, and urine test strips can be very different from store to store. A few phone calls to the stores around town may save you a lot of money. You may want to visit our Home Bg Testing resource page for a list of home bg meters that are great choices for use with pets.  

    If prices in your area are high, try Diabetic Supplies  
    they are familiar with the needs of diabetic pet owners and will be happy to help you. They have good prices and often have special deals on home bg testing meters.

  • Rebates and coupons. Many supplies like blood glucose test meters often have rebates or special offers. Keep your eyes open for these deals. If your pharmacy doesn't have any rebate coupons, call the manufacturer and ask them for the rebate. Most manufacturers have an 800 phone number printed on the product or box. In my experience, they are more than happy to help you. Becton-Dickenson (B-D) syringe manufacturer will often send you coupons on a box of syringes - call their customer service number 1-888-232-2737 and ask if they have any coupons they can send to you. Even smaller savings (like a $1 cat litter coupon) can add up.
  • Use supplies wisely. Many people have heard that you must discard any remaining insulin after a vial has been used for 30 days.  The only place I have obtained this information is by calling Eli Lilly - and the reps will tell you that. But I have never seen that "rule" printed on the package insert. Many people have no problems using a vial of insulin for 60-75 days. This is also discussed in the FAQ. Some people choose to reuse insulin syringes, however this is not recommended by the manufacturers. Becton-Dickinson recently published photos of a new and re-used needle and you can see how the needle can become damaged after just one or two uses. If you are looking for less expensive syringes, try the Discount Insulin Syringes (by Accusure) available at Hocks pharmacy. They have 28 and 29 gauge needles for both 1/2 and 1cc syringes (no 3/10 cc syringes) and they are about $12-13  per box of 100.
  • Short term loans.  Some people have found short term loans at their bank or credit union to be very useful.  There are many factors that might make this a good option for you: if your vet does not agree to a payment plan, if you do not have the ability to pay your entire bill, or if you do have the money, but you don't want to deplete your savings all at once. If you have a very large vet bill, this may be an option you want to consider.


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Updated June 2003
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