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cant afford vet care..what to do?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I have been on the phone for 2 hrs! I dont know what to do. We have taken in 2 stray cats within a week of eachother. One where I live (hoping to find its owner). It was skin and bones and I couldnt just leave it there to die. My husband brought one home a week earlier that was caught in a cat trap at his work (he brought it home because he knew they would take it to the pound). The cat I brought home is a male and after 3 weeks finally became a healthy and very friendly cat. Well over Labor day weekend it's cheek started to swell up. After the 4 days passed it is huge! Looks like an abcess but I can not find any kind of puncture wounds or anything. We have kept it inside since we brought it home. Inside his mouth was a loose tooth but it has now fallen out. I dont know what to do for this poor guy. I can not afford this kind of medical treatment. I have called all over to see if any vets, humane society's, shelters, no kill shelters, AAHA funds could help but NO LUCK! I was worried about the cost of spaying/neuturing these cats but I knew I could get that cheaper but I cant find help for this. What do I do? What happens if this is left untreated? If I just purchased the antibiotics for the cat (which didnt seem to costly from petsmeds.com) would that help? If I took him into a shelter would they put him to sleep instead of treating him and adopting him out? What can I do? I feel so bad.
post #2 of 17
First of all, thank-you and your husband for taking in 2 ferals off the streets & providing them with safety, food & shelter.

The male cat with the lost tooth, sounds like he may have an infection which could be causing the swelling by his cheek. I truly understand that vets/medical help can quickly add-up to a small fortune but I would not leave this untreated. If it is an infection, it can get worse...which nobody wants.

If you could find a no-kill shelter, they may be able to help you if you explain that this guy was feral & you took him in. Not sure if this helps or not but here are 2 organizations with web sites that not only deal with TNR but also the general well-being of strays/ferals:


post #3 of 17
Hopefully someone will be here soon to help you find a no-kill shelter in your area that you can take the kitties to. They need a vet and if you cannot afford one then the best thing for you to do for them is take them to a no-kill shelter that will give them the needed medical help and find a good home for them.
post #4 of 17
Hi there!

Last winter I had a beautiful Persian stray come to stay in our shed. He had a huge swelling on one cheek. Also could not see a wound. He wouldn't let me touch it and after a few days it burst. I tried to bathe it with warm salt and water and found some antibiotic pills which I gave him twice a day for about ten days. It settled down very nicely with the pills, so I would definitely suggest trying antibiotic pills to kill the infection. We still have 'Luther'. He is happy, healthy and quite at home with the other cats.

Hope this helps!
Hugs, Christine
post #5 of 17
It sounds like your stray has a bad bacterial infection. Because he is a stray he is at the mercy of the kindness of you (the person who rescued him) and a vet that might make payment arrangements with you over an extended period of time. A good course of antibiotics might kick it- but you won't find a vet to prescribe anything without seeing the cat first. I know here, it is a $30.00 office call and then an evaluation charge. I would take the cat in to be looked at only- then go from there.

That is what I would do- you have to do what is comfortable for you and what you can live with.
post #6 of 17
A good vet will not prescibe an antibiotic without seeing the cat (and they were would be guilty of malpratice of they did. Now, some might prescribe something if the cat was already under her or his care and they knew what the problem is) If you do not already have a vet, try to find one who will let you make payments. Hissy is right about the cost - my vet charges $32 for a call, including the exam and the medication. More, if the antibiotic is something like zithromax.
post #7 of 17
A couple of yrs ago my senior ox must have gotten into a fight and ended up with 3 abcesses. I felt bad because he doesn't get as much attention as the others and I didn't notice until it was Sat nite. I didn't want to do an emergency visit at that time so I got out the sweatshirt and gloves for me and hubby. He held him firmly and I sterllized a needle and polked the 1st one (they didn't all develop at once) Luckly I had a towel there because lots of stuff came gushing out. This isn't for the faint at heart. I then tried to put a warm cloth on it. I ended up doing this I bet a couple of times for each abcess. Again not for the squeemish. One was under his chin and Ox is a long hair so I had to cut the fur too. This is not something I would do again unless I'm desparate. He was actually ill (more lethargic and smaller appetite) for about 6 weeks after this even with antibiotics probably cause I didn't notice it. He did recover fully.
Was the tooth at "fell out" one of the fangs??? They really don't need them as one of my cats fangs fell out-the vet just wanted to make sure it fell out and didn't break off which could cause problems.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Ok here is a little update. I managed to shave his cheek enough to find a very tiny healed over scab. I tried squeezing the abcess in hopes it would come out of this area but it didnt. So I took a steralized small needle and poked a whole where the little mark was. Thats all it took to relieve the abcess. I have seen a few abcess in my days but this was the WORST one I have ever seen! I cant believe that much ooze was in there! So the good thing is that stuff is out. The vets office (over the phone) told me the local vet supply store might have amoxicillin (the vets office wouldnt give me it without the cat being seen). So I went to the vet supply store and what they gave me was something called Fish Mox? Each capsule is 240MG of Amoxicillin. She told me to give about 1/2 the capsule in food twice a day for about 10 days. Has anyone ever heard of using this stuff Fish Mox (used for the control of common bacterial infections in fish) for other animals? I'm hoping that by draining the abcess (and cleaning it with peroxide and antibacterial wash) and this amoxicillin he might heal up. Believe me I spent over 3 hrs making phone call after phone call trying to get help for this cat. There are a few no kill shelters but they arent opened until Wed.

Oh in response to a couple of the e-mails. The tooth that came out was a baby molar (not sure what they are called in cats). I dont really see anything wrong with the inside of the mouth.

Also when I was squeezing the abcess a whisker about a quarter of an inch came out of this whole. Could the cause of this abcess have been an infected or ingrown whisker? I couldnt find anything online about it.

Crossing my fingers that this cat can get better. He is one of the most affectionate cats I have seen.
post #9 of 17
I am not sure about the fish meds but if your vet says its ok, I guess it will be. I found this article on my county's animal control links to the Humane Society.

What You Can Do If You Are Having Trouble Affording Veterinary Care

Many pet owners, at one point or another, are faced with unexpected veterinary bills. Veterinary medicine has progressed so far that now pet owners have new, and often expensive, options for the care of their ailing pets. Although the cost of veterinary care is actually very reasonable in comparison with the much higher cost of human health care, an unexpected medical emergency can present a major financial dilemma for an unprepared pet owner.

The Humane Society of the United States recommends that, in addition to preparing for routine pet-care costs, you regularly set aside savings to cover for unexpected veterinary bills. Create a special "pet savings account" and contribute money to it on a regular basis.

If, despite your planning, your pet incurs major veterinary expenses that you have trouble affording, consider these suggestions:

Ask your veterinarian if he or she will let you work out a payment plan. Many veterinarians are willing to work out a weekly or monthly payment plan so that you do not have to pay the entire cost of veterinary care up front.

Contact your local shelter. Some shelters operate or know of local subsidized veterinary clinics or veterinary assistance programs. You can find the name and number of your local shelter in the Yellow Pages of your phone book under "animal shelter," "animal control," or "humane society," or by calling Information. You can also go to www.Pets911.com and enter your zip code to find a list of animal shelters, animal control agencies, and other animal care organizations in your community.

If you have a specific breed of dog, contact the National Club for that breed. In some cases, these clubs offer a veterinary financial assistance fund.

Ask your veterinarian to submit an assistance request to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) "Helping Pets Fund." In order to qualify, your animal hospital must be AAHA accredited. To learn more about the program visit the AAHA web site. To find a AAHA accredited hospital in your area, search online at www.Pets911.com.

Use your credit card. Ask for a higher credit limit or a cash advance.

Call your bank. Ask about loan programs, second mortgages, or other options. Consider borrowing from your life insurance policy, vacation savings, kids' education fund, or retirement program.

Ask your employer for a salary advance.

Alert family and friends and ask them each for a $25 loan.

Pawn your stuff. TVs and VCRs can be replaced. Your pet can't.

Consider taking on a part-time job or temping.

Contact the regional office of The HSUS that covers your state. Our regional office staff is often familiar with organizations and personnel within their territory and may be able to direct you to programs in your area.

Please remember that, depending on the severity of your pet's illness or injury, you may still lose your pet even after great expense. Discuss the prognosis and treatment options thoroughly with your veterinarian, including whether surgery or treatment would just cause your animal discomfort without preserving a life of good quality.

Also remember that a little preventive care can go a long way. Having your pet spayed or neutered, keeping her shots up to date, and keeping your pet safely confined can prevent serious and costly health problems. If you have trouble affording the cost to spay or neuter your pet, contact your local animal shelter. They may operate a clinic or know of a local clinic that offers subsidized services.

Unfortunately, due to our limited resources as a nonprofit animal protection organization, The HSUS does not provide direct financial assistance to pet owners for veterinary or any other expenses. If you know of any veterinary assistance services, funds, or low-cost veterinary clinics, please let us know by calling 202-452-1100.

post #10 of 17
If there is some way you can bathe the wound in epsom salt and fairly hot water, that will help this cat immensely. Try to do this twice a day- depending on the temperment of the cat will depend on how successful you are-

There is also this article here

Can't Afford a Vet
post #11 of 17
Peroxide is not a good idea - it can seal the infection inside. Hot water and salt is better, or Betadine (you can get it in a pharmacy)
post #12 of 17
I have done research on any non-profit organizations that provide assistance and I came up with this site. It may already be referenced in one of the links above that were given. I have no idea if they have the funds available, and/or how long the process takes but it may be worth looking into. Also, and this may have been recommended many times over, but check any local TNR programs around - they may be able to help. I'm sure the shelters would know of any but just in case- do your own research as well.

post #13 of 17
There needs to be a vet or authorized rescue Org that would sell antibiotics to rescue people. I have looked and couldn't find any. It's not the same as some one who just has a few pets, that way we could have some Amoxicillin or Clavamox when we need it without running to a Vet every time. We would know if it was a more serious condition than a upper respiratory or we could take them if the standard meds (antibiotics) don't resolve it.

post #14 of 17
Originally Posted by Christy L
There needs to be a vet or authorized rescue Org that would sell antibiotics to rescue people. I have looked and couldn't find any. It's not the same as some one who just has a few pets, that way we could have some Amoxicillin or Clavamox when we need it without running to a Vet every time. We would know if it was a more serious condition than a upper respiratory or we could take them if the standard meds (antibiotics) don't resolve it.

Christy....I understand your frustration, but most shelters/rescues group have to go through either an inhouse vet clinic or regular vet clinic to obtain medication..even the standard antibiotics.

Best to contact one of the groups below and at least see if they have a vet who offers them discounts:


post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Last update! Well the cat is ALL BETTER! It is such a relief to know that it all turned out ok. Thanks for everyone who gave me there advice. I am really dissapointed though with not being able to find help. There were so many sites about "grants" or "funds" to help stray cats get help. Even when I called the vet offices that were on that list of places that have this none of them knew what I was talking about. None of the humane society's did vet care. Vets wanted $50 just to bring the cat in and then $200 to drain it. Treating him myself was a last resort. I'm just glad it all worked out in the end. I believe that without this FishMox to help fight the infection it would have came back. So I am grateful that I had that option at least. Even if its not the conventional way it still worked.
post #16 of 17
I am sorry but I know how you feel. I have about 30 outside that I feed and give medicine to, in food. They seem to be getting better now, but I have one in my kitten room. My neighbor brought it to me. Said she almost hit it and it was really sick. Not even one I feed, but you know she was too busy and just bought a new house. I would love to have a new house, buy anyway it is frustrating. I am getting mine spayed and neutered one by one. Good luck and ask friends if they can help on costs.
post #17 of 17
Here is another article you may want to check.
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