Saving on Pet Health Costs

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More than half of U.S. households have a pet. They can be expensive, especially when it comes to keeping them healthy. But there are ways to save money on costs.

Christina Ford runs up a big tab caring for seven cats, including 21-year-old Homer.

"I think a lot of where the expense comes from is the geriatrics."

That's why she takes care of some health needs at home.

"This is the fluid bag Homer gets every night, and I wash the ears and eyes with these two here."

Veterinarian Erin Dockery says there are ways to save without compromising your pets health.

Trimming your pets nails and cleaning their ears and eyes at home can cut costs and prevent infection.

But don't skip your pet's yearly wellness visit and blood tests at the vet.

"The more maintenance we can do the more you'll save in the long run," Dr. Dockery says.

A recent Consumer Reports study found about two-thirds of pet owners surveyed get their animal's medications at the vet, but filling a prescription somewhere else could mean big savings.

Pet prescription programs at places like Walgreens and Target can put hundreds of dollars back in your wallet.

"You can actually get prescriptions $4 a month or even as little as 9,10 dollars for a 90 days," said Lisa Gill.

Ford goes online for savings, but Dr. Dockery says internet sites can be risky.

"There is too many out there for us to be able to quality control."

Ford says keeping her cats healthy is what's important.

I'm not going to not give them the medical care that they need. It is like a child.

Ford recommends other pet owners do what she did - find a vet who will work with you to save money.

There is also pet insurance, but there are mixed reviews on whether plans are worth getting. Dr. Dockery says if you get insurance when your pet is very young it can save you. But Consumer Reports warns the insurance can cost more than it pays out.

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