If you’re a pet owner, you’ll know that medical bills for pets can be as high or even higher than those for people.
Most pet owners cover essentials like pet food and flea control as part of their monthly grocery shopping, and certain vet bills, like those for annual vaccinations, can be anticipated. However, emergency vet bills are by nature unpredictable – and they can easily hit thousands or even tens of thousands of rand.
One option if you’re faced with this type of bill is an asset-based loan from lamna.
What you can expect to pay in vet bills in South Africa
Some vets charge more; others less. On average, though, you can expect to pay roughly these prices for routine veterinary procedures:
- R750 for neutering a male cat and R1 350 for neutering a female cat
- R1 400 for neutering a male dog and R2 000 or more for neutering a female dog
- around R550 for an annual check-up, including shots and pest control
- R850 or more for standard blood tests, taken at the vet’s surgery to detect kidney function, parasites in the blood, diabetes, cancer, or electrolyte counts.
Costs of emergency veterinary treatment
If you don’t have your pet inoculated against preventable diseases like tick bite fever or feline enteritis, R550 can easily balloon to R20 000 or even R30 000, depending on the level of care and the duration of the in-hospital treatment that’s needed.
Large breed dogs often suffer from hip dysplasia. Although specialist surgical procedures are successful, you’ll have to pay around R7 000 for a femur head and neck extension. A total hip replacement will cost in the region of R35 000 – not counting any recommended rehabilitative treatment.
If your pet is injured in an accident, treatment costs can skyrocket. An MRI scan to identify the scale of the injuries is usually charged at a rate of between R9 500 to R10 000. Even an ordinary X-ray is about R3 000 a pop. That’s without the consultation fee and actual treatment costs.
Costs for specialised surgeries, for example to repair internal injuries after an accident or remove a cancer, frequently cost more than R10 000.
Always ask about costs beforehand
Always ask what specific veterinary procedures and treatments will cost before going ahead so you’re not left with a nasty surprise.
This won’t be considered brash or impolite – with modern medical costs being what they are, both doctors and vets are accustomed (or should be) to clarifying costs so people can make informed decisions.
In some cases, it’s not in your or your pet’s best interests to proceed with very expensive treatment. A vet can usually advise on whether a treatment is worth considering, given factors like the age of your pet, the risks that the treatment poses, its potential impact on quality of life, likely recovery time and costs.
What can you do if you’re hit with a very high vet bill?
If you can’t afford a large vet bill, you can consider:
- asking the vet if you’d be able to pay off the bill in instalments (it’s worth seeing if there’s room for negotiation too)
- asking for advice on securing the needed treatment at a lower cost, for example from a charitable organisation
- getting a personal loan to cover the bill.
Finding the best pet care loan
If you’re considering a personal loan, some of the factors to consider include:
- the basic loan terms, including the interest rate you’ll be charged, the loan amount that’s available and the loan term
- how fast you’ll be able to access the needed funds
- any restrictions on how you can spend the funds; these may apply in the case of specialist loans specifically for pet care
- your eligibility for a loan; for example, a bank is likely to require proof of income over the past three months and to conduct a check of your credit score – making it difficult to get a loan if you’re unemployed or have a poor credit rating.
Funding vet bills through an asset-based loan
At lamna, we offer fast, discreet loans against the value of a wide range of personal assets, from luxury watches and jewellery to vehicles.
If you own an asset of value, you can use it to secure a loan for vet bills or any other unexpected costs. The asset you supply serves only as collateral for the loan – you don’t lose ownership of it and, once you’ve repaid the loan and agreed interest, it’s returned to you in the same condition you left it.
Advantages of getting this type of loan from lamna include:
- very fast access to funds (usually on the same day you apply)
- interest rates that are comply with the National Credit Act
- no effect on your credit score (we don’t share any information with credit bureaux)
- no restrictions on what you use the funds to cover
- no hidden costs or penalties.
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