http://www.gofundme.com/Animals-Pets/
Crowdfunding website GoFundMe has a dedicated section that allows users to “raise money for your vet bills, emergency pet surgeries, and more.”

I’m seeing a rise in crowdfunding for veterinary treatment via social media. Some of it is from legitimate charities for certain cases, but also a lot from private individuals who can’t afford treatment.

I’ve seen some appeals via the GoFundMe and Indiegogo websites, and others tell me they’ve seen such pages on JustGiving, which launched its own crowdfunding tool in April 2015.

The latest I’ve seen is typical. They’ve run out of money/insurance and are now posting their crowdfunding link on local community group websites and Facebook pages – so they’re not just getting money from friends or family, but from total strangers too.

I’m worried about the rise in these pages. It’s my understanding they do not pay back the money raised, so how can you check the page is legitimate and the money goes to the vets (and not just to the owners to do with as they please)? Is there even always a pet?

Have the vets not been able to offer services such as Braemar Finance or Carefree Credit? Both were set up to provide low-cost loans to cover medical treatment and, in my experience, I’ve never had a client turned down. It improves cash flow for the practice and means the debt is with a third party, which can make relations with clients easier as they’re not worried about being asked to settle the full debt at the next visit when a new receptionist is on the desk.

Donate buttonHow we manage debt as a practice says a lot about how we treat our clients. Having worked in a charity practice for many years, there were several practices in our area we never had clients who had run out of insurance or money from. The practices must have worked well with their client base to keep running and help those in need.

Every practice I know has done pro bono work. But where do you draw the line, and would you want your practice named in a crowdfunding bid for pet treatment? Would you want your diagnosis, treatment plan and costs put out for all to read?

Or does it not matter as long as the bill is paid?

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5 Comments on "Crowdfunding: the new way to pay vet bills?"

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Robin Hargreaves
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Robin Hargreaves
1 year 10 months ago

Isn’t this just on line begging? I thought crowd funding was an investment ? If it’s ever successful it will kill itself because the scammers will be on it in an instant

Jane Davidson (@JaneRVN)
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1 year 10 months ago

It depends on the website they use, but there are new ones popping up all the time. I agree it’s a modern form of begging in some instances.

Kelly
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Kelly
1 year 10 months ago
I have seen quite a few of these pages lately, in fact one of my Twitter ‘friends’ set one up after his dog got poorly with what he thought was parvo. I asked him to go to the vet ASAP (he hadn’t taken the dog yet) and arrange finances there as there wouldn’t be time to wait till the funds were raised first. He then told me he knew it was parvo because his ‘last dog died of it’ which just made my blood boil. What surprised me was how many people contributed to the fund. There was a lot… Read more »
Jane Davidson (@JaneRVN)
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1 year 10 months ago

Wow Kelly! That is a sad, frustrating story. Sadly I think it’s becoming more normal. However what does it say about people’s ability to prioritise if they view “online begging” over getting their pet to a vets, or even phoning a vets – that’s FREE!

Owning a pet is not cheap, but it goes back to our own reliance on the NHS where we never see an invoice for our treatment – something I think would be a good idea… Hmmm new blog coming up!

Jane Davidson
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Jane Davidson
1 year 10 months ago

I agree with some websites it looks like online begging. There are new websites all the time – I presume they take a fee of. % from the amount raised?

Kelly, that is so sad. He doesn’t sound the best owner to start with but to focus on setting up online financing before even talking to a vet? A phone call is FREE!!!

This type of bill paying makes me really uneasy, and I don’t think I’d want my practice name on one of these funds, as I saw with my most recent experience. Not good advertising for your customer support.

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