If your dog has canine Addison’s disease, you might experience sticker shock at the veterinary office. A month’s supply of replacement hormones for our Addison’s dog, Shakti, cost $80 per month. In this article, I’ll discuss how to reduce the costs of treatment, or even get it for free!
Shop Around for Percorten-V and Florinef
At diagnosis, our border collie, Shakti, weighed 33 lbs. One shot of Percorten-V (1.33ml) cost $69 at the veterinarian. On top of that, we had to pay $15 for prednisone every 20 days. Money was tight at the time–so I did a little shopping around.
Google is your friend, but don’t expect miracles: The cheapest price for a 4ml bottle of Percorten-V I found on the internet at time of writing was $150 (“on sale”). I followed one ad for $138.50 to “Entirely Pets” but when I got there–surprise, surprise the price had jumped to $179.99. Even if I could get it atÂ $138.50, that’s still $46.16 per dose…and you have to buy the needles and administer it yourself on top of that.
Try compounding pharmacies for cheap Florinef (also ask about liquid Florinef, which is another option). Here are links to a few:
Find the cheapest vet around and give him your business: We live in Jacksonville, Florida, and there’s a well-known pet clinic here called Herschel Animal clinic. They don’t have the bells and whistles of the upscale veterinary practices (they rarely answer their phone and sometimes you have to wait out in the parking lot to be seen); you sometimes have to wait in line for an hour or two. But they are cheap, and for someone with an Addisonian dog, that can literally be a lifesaver. We’re charged only $45 A 1.33ml shot of Percorten-V (including the office visit charge) and a month’s supply of prednisone is $10. Shakti and I take a book and a Starbucks, and just enjoy the time together while we wait.
Cut down on the dosage of Percorten-V/Florinef
Decrease the medication dosage with your vet’s help: Since being diagnosed with Addison’s, Shakti has put on ten pounds (she looks healthier now). However, her medication (1.33ml) has stayed the same. Technically, the dosage should have been increased but as her blood work is fine, there’s no need.
Tell your vet that you would like to decrease your pet’s medication. Your vet will check your pet’s electrolytes every month for a few months until you’ve reached the lowest maintenance dose possible. Initially, this will be expensive, say $50 per month for the additional blood work for 6 months. But it might save you $20-30 a month thereafter in decreased Percorten-V or Florinef.
If you can’t afford it, find a way to afford it:
One reason that Dr. Plant at Herschel offers Percorten-V at the lowest price possible is because he knows it’s sometimes prohibitively expensive. One former client of his just didn’t get the treatment for their dog, and the animal “just wasted away,” he said. “It was sad, sad.”
The fact is, your dog must have replacement hormones, or they will die. Although there isn’t a free pet clinic system in the states like there is in the UK (the PSDA), there are many routes you can try to obtain reduced cost, or even free, care.
Write a letter to your vet: this will probably work if you’ve been a long term client and are likely to continue being a client in the future. Write your vet a personal letter and tell him that you cannot afford full treatment costs. Tell him what you can afford a month. Ask him/her for their help. Remember that your vet will still have to purchase the drug at base cost ($45 for a 1.33ml dose!), so don’t expect miracles. But it’s worth a shot.
Contact shelters and rescue organizations in your area and ask them if they know of any low cost clinics. Pets 911 offers a search feature where you can enter your zip code and find local organizations.
Consider finding another home for your pet. If you have a purebred animal, contact your nearest breed-specific rescue and tell them that you are having trouble affording medications. Some rescue organizations will allow you to advertise for a new home on their website, and someone who is familiar with Addison’s might be willing to give your dog a home. You can also look for breed-specific rescue discussion boards–there are many on the web. Whatever you do, make sure that you don’t give your animal to the local animal control or city-run shelter; they will immediately euthanise sick animals.
Make A Wish: if all else fails you can try posting for help on this Make a Wish website. They match donors people with needs. You never know when an angel (maybe a local vet?) will offer a helping hand!