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      Money Talks News: Where to find Free or Cheaper Vet Care

      "It hits me in the heart, because you want to help. But we also have costs associated with what we do."Doctor Summer Heyerly, has been a vet for years and owns 4 pets of her own. So she can appreciate the high cost of vet bills.

      "We're doing more diagnostics. We're doing digital radiographs versus film radiographs and so with that comes price."

      Whether it's routine or emergency care, vets bills can take a big bite out of that budget. But there are ways you can keep costs down.

      First, seek low-cost alternatives. Some shelters and organizations offer low-cost vaccines, spaying, neutering and other medical care. Next, check vet schools in your area, where students perform procedures under supervision.

      If it's not urgent, there's nothing wrong with shopping around. Or asking your vet for a better deal. It's OK to negotiate. And finally, ask about payment plans. Many vet offices offer them.

      Number 4: Ask a charity for help. The Humane Society has a list of pet financial aid organizations. And finally, there's pet insurance. But be sure and read that fine print to see what's covered and what isn't: some policies have lots of exclusions.

      Bottom line... you don't have to roll over for big vet bills. Explore some options and keep your pet and your budget in the pink.

      For more information, go to and search for "Pets"

      For Money Talks News, I'm Stacy Johnson.