Financial Assistance for Veterinary Bills

October 10, 2009 by Lisa  
Filed under Blog


Thank you for the wonderful web site you created dedicated to Canine Liver Disease. I’ve found the information helpful in understanding the disease diagnosis I just received for my 5-year old male German Shepherd, Karna (a rescue).

After treatment in August from my veterinarian for cracking and flaking paws and lethargy proved unsuccessful, she referred me to the North Carolina State University Veterinary School for a diagnosis at their dermatology clinic. I took him last week and was informed that Karna had Phenobarbital induced (he has a history of seizures) Hepatocutaneous Syndrome – also known as necrolytic migratory erythema (NME). This is apparently a new and extremely rare disorder. They want to start a treatment on him quickly that will cost $750-1500 initially, with one or two additional treatments possible and ongoing therapies of injections (administered by yours truly) 3-4 times a day.

Here’s the reason for my email: I am currently unemployed and have been for some time (my profession is tied to the construction industry – hardest hit in this economy, as you probably know). I received my last unemployment insurance check in June and my wife and I are hanging on by a thread. This event with Karna has already put us in debt to the tune of nearly $1200 on top of an additional $700 we spent in February at another specialist (canine neurologist) for treatment of anticonvulsant toxicity he was diagnosed with then. I’m not complaining, I’d do it all over again. We love our boy very much. But we’re facing the reality now of having to make a decision between treatment or euthanasia because we have come to the end of our financial resources. I have asked the NCSU Vet School if we would qualify for financial assistance. The person who makes that decision is out until this Monday when I am scheduled to take Karna in for treatment. So we do not yet know if we will qualify. But we are taking a leap of faith and going ahead with the treatment in the hopes that we will be approved for assistance. However, if we are NOT approved, we will be in financial trouble and likely will be at the tipping point of being able to pay our bills. So I want to ask you if you can direct me to any other organizations that might be able to help my wife and I pay for Karna’s treatments.

Karna is probably the sweetest dog I’ve ever owned. He loves absolutely everyone and doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. He is a frequent hugger, known to wrap his long neck around the legs of those he meets. He deserves a shot at regaining his health. He’s been a brave boy through all of his misery and we want so much to save him. He has many years left in this world if we can do so. The doctor who will be treating him (Dr. Olivery) is optimistic that the treatments will help Karna regain liver function, but admits that only time will tell. Unfortunately, because of the economic downturn, the timing for all of us in this matter couldn’t be worse. I am not one to ask for charity, but I see no other course right now if I wish to try and save my buddy. Any information or help you might be able to provide is very, very much appreciated.