Free or low-cost vet clinics?

    • Gold Top Dog

    Free or low-cost vet clinics?

     Does anyone know of free or sliding-scale vet clinics in the Phoenix metropolitan area (or even a ways outside it)?  We have a puppy that has started losing weight and isn't showing a lot of interest in eating.  Unfortunately, my husband lost his job two weeks ago, so money is extremely tight right now and we can't afford a vet, but we are so worried about this little guy and want to get him help.  We've tried different brands of food to see if he just doesn't like what we offered (he will nearly take your fingers off for those Pupperoni treats, but of course we can't feed him those all the time), but he just doesn't have a lot of interest in food in general.  He does it, but as skinny as he is you'd think he'd be ravenous.  He's peeing and pooping regularly (two poops a day and several pees), he's active and playful, but he's not putting on any weight and his hip and rib bones are showing.  If we can't find a vet who will work with our current situation, we'll be forced to rehome the pup so he can get proper medical care.  Can anyone help?  I tried a websearch and found lots of free and low-cost clinics for people, but not for pets.  Would my local Humane Society be able to help?

    • Gold Top Dog

    I would call your local humane society, they likely will be able to either help you or direct you to somewhere to help.  You could also contact some local rescues.  They frequently know of places to have low-cost vet stuff done since they have so many animals they care for.

    • Gold Top Dog

    We have a puppy that has started losing weight and isn't showing a lot of interest in eating. 

    I do not want to discourage you from finding a vet to check out this pup, but one of the most common causes of this is worms and parasites.  You could try worming the pup with Safe-Guard (same as Panacur from the vet).  Safe-Guard will get roundworms, hookworms (little vampires), whipworms, and Taenia tapeworms, plus it is effective against Giardia.

    You should be able to find Safe-Guard granules (link) at a pet or feed store.  Depending on the size of the pup and whether or not you have to worm more than once, it may be cheaper to get the liquid Safe-Guard (link), plus a dosage syringe.  Ignore the fact that this size bottle of the liquid is marketed for goats and do not use the goat dosage.  The liquid keeps for 3 years in the frig. 

    The bottom portion of the following site describes the use of liquid Safe-Guard:

    The recommended dosage of this exact product and strength for canines is 1 ml (which contains 100 mg active ingredient) per 5 lbs of ... bodyweight. For example, a 25 lb Beagle would receive 5 ml (same as 5 cc or 1 teaspoon) per day for a 3 day period (total 3-day treatment consists of 15 ml  which is the same as 15 cc or 1 tablespoon). ... Every Vet I have ever talked to says the correct dosage is 100 mg of active ingredient per 5 lbs of body weight given for 3 consecutive days. ... Fenbendazole (Safe-Guard or Panacur) is one of the safest dewormers on the market.

    NOTE:  Safe-Guard will not take care of Coccidia, flea tapeworms, or heartworms.  Heartworms are not intestinal worms.

    Albon (link) takes care of Coccidia (link), but that product requires a prescription.  Coccidia is most common in pups less than 6 months with the primary symptom being diarrhea. 

    D-Worm Tapewormer (link) would get flea tapeworms.  If a dog has tapeworms, one may be able to see segments of tapeworms moving around the dog's anal area or on the stool. If dried, they may appear as rectangular segments similar in size to a grain of white rice.

    • Gold Top Dog

    Thanks guys. I did call the Humane Society after my previous post and am waiting for them to call back.  I plan to call some other local shelters today as well.


    My first thought was some type of intestinal worm or parasite as well, but I didn't know if it was safe to treat that over the counter without an actual diagnosis.  He doesn't have diarrhea, and we haven't been able to see anything in his stool that looks abnormal.  In fact, he doesn't act sick in any way at all, nor does he have any other symptoms (no vomiting, no lethargy, etc.).


    If it's safe to treat him for worms before seeing a vet, I'll do that while also looking for a low-cost/no-cost vet.  Thanks again! 

    • Gold Top Dog

     Do a google search for low cost vet for your area. There is usually at least one in every county and they base it on income. Also there are a ton of low cost ($5) vaccination events going on around my area all the time. At least once a month. Go to yahoo groups and search for a dog group for your area, that way you can check their calendars and see where/when these things go on.

    • Gold Top Dog

    If it's safe to treat him for worms before seeing a vet, I'll do that while also looking for a low-cost/no-cost vet. 

    I am not a vet, but if it were my pup, I would go ahead and try Safe-Guard.  It is a gentle wormer that has been used for a long time.  The site that describes the use of liquid Safe-Guard is by a Beagle breeder.  She uses Safe-Guard on pups (and their mothers) at 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks, plus she worms all of her dogs every other month.

    There are toxic OTC wormers on the market, so I would stay away from anything you are not familiar with. 

    Roundworms (link) in particular can be extremely hard to completely eliminate, plus they can infect humans.  They can encyst (become walled off and inactive) in canine body tissues and remain there for months or years.  Because of that most pups even get their first roundworms before they are born and also in their mother's milk.

    Using a monthly heartworm "preventative" that also kills intestinal worms really helps in eliminating worms.  Interceptor is a heartworm "preventative" that also kills roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms - all with only one chemical that is out of the dog's system within 24-48 hours.  Heartgard Plus is similar, but uses two chemicals and does not kill whipworms.

    Interceptor can be used on dogs and puppies over 4 weeks of age weighing more than 2 pounds.  Heartgard Plus can be used on dogs and puppies 6 weeks of age and over.  No testing needs to be done before starting a young pup on a heartworm "preventative".  Instead test 6 months after starting the "preventative".  If the "preventative" was started by 6 weeks, the test can be delayed until a year after starting the "preventative".

    NOTE:  A heartworm "preventative" prevents adult heartworms by killing baby and immature heartworms present at the time the "preventative" is given.  There is no future preventative effect.  The term "preventative" is used to differentiate the monthly stuff from the heartworm "treatments" needed to kill adult heartworms.  The "treatments" are very toxic and dangerous.

    CAUTION:  Tests are available only for detecting mature adult female heartworms (antigen test) and the initial baby stage.  Currently males and immature heartworms can not be detected at all.  Dogs and pups over 6 weeks should be retested/tested with the antigen test 6 months after starting a "preventative".  This will determine if any female heartworms (immature when the "preventative" was started, but too old to be killed by it) have matured.  Thereafter yearly antigen (mature females) tests are recommended because the "preventatives" are not fool-proof.

    • Gold Top Dog

    I haven't found a particular vet, but this list may help.

    Financial aid - possible help with vet costs:
    - grants
    - special credit card
    - orthopedic only  
    (available by email in TN, IL, IA)   

    • Gold Top Dog

    The other thing is to simply approach a vet and tell him what's going on.  Tell him you would be willing to make payments, or even if he would be willing to give you some work in the kennels to help pay for it.  Vets typically go thru kennel staff hand over fist and someone who is willing to work off a debt may be helpful to everyone.

    • Gold Top Dog

     Thanks for all of the help guys!  I really appreciate it.


    I just remembered that my brother-in-law works for a vet now (he just started), so I'm also going to ask him if his vet might be willing to help me out.  The Humane Society never did call me back, and so far I haven't had any luck with any other shelters or a web search (everyone keeps telling me to do a web search, but I've done that and found nothing).  So I especially appreciate the links to different websites and will definitely be checking them out.


    I'll keep you guys posted on our little sweetie's progress.  Big Smile