Years ago, and being new to Texas with my young family, I had never heard of heartworms and didn’t put much thought into it once I did- after all, we were raising our family and adapting to the costs of our first home. Our pup was due for vaccinations, which turned into an exam, and that is when we learned that our sweet Ty had heartworm disease (lesson learned!). His treatment cost was quite a shock. Thankfully we worked out how to pay for his treatment. I share this experience because pet professionals visit with clients, such as I was, frequently. Now that I have the perspective of both being a family pet owner and a professional working in pet health care I thought I would share a little about what I’ve learned (stick with me- resources are coming up!).

7 Pet Health Care Options

There are many ways to go about building a business in pet health and most of us (again) don’t really think about the different options that are available to us:

  • Low-cost clinics: this business model sticks to offering basic services in volume
  • Non-profit clinics: which are often subsidized by donors and grant money. They, too, specialize in basic services and volume
  • Mobile care: can be a mix of the above and sometimes offers additional services. These mobile care services have the bonus of being super convenient or can be just the opposite- not there when you need them
  • Full- service clinics: even this category has a wide margin of services/costs/time spent with you. The benefit to choosing this type of business is that your veterinarian has regular hours and an address and is available to see your pet when you and your pet need them
  • Full-service and best medicine pet health care practices: this is us! (This requires much more time spent with you and your pet to ensure that we understand all that is going on and have the time to determine a plan that works for you and your family)
  • Specialty practices, such as centers to treat cancer or neurological problems
  • Urgent Care: who you turn to when you need help after normal business hours (bless these people!)

Here, at Country Friends Veterinary Clinic, we’ve chosen to be a full-service hospital where we do most everything for your pet’s healthcare (when needed, we refer our patients to specialty clinics). Our services include birth assistance, puppy/kitten well visits, routine surgery, adult and senior well visits, dental treatments (this is vital to pet health!), digestive intervention, diagnostics, hospitalization, allergy treatments, feeding tubes, surgical emergencies, mass/tumor removals, amputation, pain therapy, acupuncture, and end of life assistance- with a special focus on preventative care. We offer 40-minute exams because our goal is for your pet to maintain optimal health for as long as possible! We do this as a family-owned business that employs people from this community. This place is special!

Question: What goes into the cost of my pet’s healthcare?

This question is a good place to start. It takes a lot of money to offer a full-service pet clinic.

To offer the services mentioned above (and many more) we hire quality people who are educated, experienced, skilled, and wonderful humans who have a passion for pets and people. We invest in our employees so that they receive continuing education, training, certifications, and licensing.

Pet health care requires fees for licenses, associations, education, and insurance. We also have normal overhead costs associated with a building, property, and business operations Compensation and benefits for our employees come with a very hefty price tag. Our clinic is very much like a small human hospital with all of the necessary people and equipment. This is an investment in our community– to be here for your pet’s health needs.

Two Ugly Truths That No One Talks About

I’m going to break the mold here and share things that we are very concerned about. Because we want to focus on your and your pet(s) it seems that there is never a good time (or place) to talk about our hard things:

  • The first ugly truth is that most pet professionals are underpaid. Veterinary professionals provide a service that requires a unique set of skills and education and yet the employees at Target have a higher hourly wage. For a look at the national average, click here. Putting this into perspective, lawn care and pest services charge more per a basic service appointment than we do (as do many other services). Speaking as an industry, we would love to do more for our employees if the communities would support it!
  • The second ugly truth is that mental disease is taking our pet professionals from us at an alarming rate. Why is this? To read more about this alarming truth, click here.

Two Questions: Why do people choose to work in the pet industry and how can I help?

We have just one main reason for doing what we do: we love animals! LOVE them. Thank you for asking how you can help. One thing that would mean the world to us- please be kind as kindness is what keeps us going. We’re in this together! We realize that money is often a concern. Together we can look at options for your pet(s) care. In addition to this, I have created the following for you.

4 Resources for Financial Assistance

We often see families that cannot afford to do what they would like to do for their pets- so, what resources are there if you are in a financial space of needing assistance?

  • Apply for financing- this is a wonderful way to offset the immediate problem with cash flow. This link also has options for pet insurance and follow this link to read our blog on pet insurance.
  • We’ve all been there- selling something that can be replaced later is always a good way to raise funds
  • Start a crowdfunding at and ask family and friends to help
  • If time is on your side, you might receive help by applying for a grant with one of the following.

I do hope this helps. We truly are in this together!

Rhonda Hampton
Hospital Manager
Country Friends Veterinary Clinic
“A Passion for Pets and People”