My pet is sick/injured, and I am afraid the vet bill for treatment will be more than I can afford.

How can I access free/low cost sources of veterinary assistance?

This a general question per the meta post Is a canonical question about free/low/deferred veterinary costs would be a good idea Optimally there will be one answer per country (or multiple countries per answer if they share a soluition)

Answers for specific Countries


For the UK

Blue Cross

The Blue Cross offer's free veterinary services in cases where the owner is unable to afford vet's fees. Eligibility is determined via means testing of the owner, this is based on whether the owner is in receipt of certain government/council benefits:

  • Pension credit (not the standard state retirement pension)
  • Housing benefit
  • Income support
  • Working tax credit (not child tax credit)
  • Council tax benefit (not 25 per cent single person discount)
  • Income based jobseeker’s allowance
  • Income based employment and support allowance
  • Universal credit


The RSPCA offer reduced cost veterinary services which are based on essential care. Eligibility varies and should be checked with your local branch.


The PDSA offers both reduced cost and free services at any of it's 48 UK animal hospitals subject to eligibility.

For reduced cost services people in receipt of one or more of the following are eligible:

  • Child Tax and Working Tax Credits
  • Universal Credit (without housing element)
  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support
  • Job Seeker’s Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) (formally incapacity benefit)
  • Disability Living Allowance/Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • State-retired pensioners who are householders in Council Tax bands A-D* are also eligible

The free service is limited to one pet only where the owner is in receipt of one or more of the following:

  • Housing Benefit (means-tested help with your rent)
  • Council Tax Support / Reduction Scheme (means-tested help with your Council Tax liability)
  • Universal Credit with a housing element
  • Income-based rate relief *in Northern Ireland only

Last Resort

If none of the above services can help and the situation is an emergency then you can take your pet to a vet and as part of their registration with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons they are obliged to provide short term emergency treatment where the animal is suffering. This really is only going to provide the most basic level of treatment necessary to alleviate the immediate suffering and you should always be up front with the vet about your ability to pay (as otherwise you could be looking at Fraud charges) and I cannot stress enough that this is a last resort emergency option only.

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  • For the UK as well, some localised pet associations like St Tiggywinkles, which tend to do wildlife may also help where they can, and RSPB as well. – Aravona Oct 24 '19 at 13:11

For the US

Any State

The Humane Society maintains a list of nationwide and local organizations that offer veterinary assistance.

RedRover has a small grant program called RedRover Relief Urgent Care, which is designed to respond to veterinary emergencies and urgent care situations when an animal is not going to receive care due to a small gap in funding. The Urgent Care program cannot pay for treatment already rendered, and you do need a diagnosis and treatment plan in place before applying.

California Colorado
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia

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For France

In France, we have the SPA (Société protectrice des animaux), a national-wide association, recognised by the government as of public interest. The SPA maintains a network of dispensaries (dispensaires), where people with financial difficulties can take appointments for their pets. However, there are only 11 of these structures, unevenly spread on the territory (see the official map).

The veterinary schools (Écoles vétérinaires), which are grandes écoles, also offer medical care with more affordable prices. There are four schools, located in Toulouse, Nantes, Lyon and Maison-Alfort.

Many local or regional animal care associations are located in the whole country, and might also help.

Feel free to complete this answer, as I may have missed legal aspects, as well as important associations. Also, I did not provide anything for the overseas territories (DOM/TOM).

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For Canada

Every province is different

New Brunswick


Nova Scotia







British Colombia


Northwest Territories


Currently asking colleagues and friends in different provinces for more sources - will update as I get more information.

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For Norway

I sent a question about this to Animal Protection here in Norway. The answer I got today was that there is no private or government options for free or low cost veterinary help as far as they could tell.

It is up to the vet if he/she can provide help to you and your pet.

Additional information.

Vets here have to help an injured animal, like an animal injured in a traffic accident but they have to fill in a form to get the expenses covered and this only covers the basics like putting down an animal or simple treatment (this is mostly for injured wildlife or for pets with an unknown owner).

If anybody has any better information about options for free/low cost veterinary help in Norway please post it!

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In Germany

There is no government option for free veterinary treatment.

There are Tiertafeln in most bigger cities that offer pet food for free or a low price to people depending on social welfare. These often deal with people who cannot afford a veterinary treatment and might know a solution.

Asking shelters run by animal welfare organizations for help is another promising option. These might offer you help to prevent you from having to bring your pet into a shelter due to unaffordable expenses.

Some cities have a free veterinary service for homeless, but you might face rejection if you are obviously not homeless. Search for "Obdachlosen Tierarzt" and the name of your city to learn about the times and places of consultant hours.

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A general answer for several countries.

If you happen to live close to a veterinary school you might ask there if they can use your pet in the education of new vets.

This is mostly for surgery and injuries and less for emergencies,and this is very often free or close to free for you,You only pay for the medication and for the materials used.

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