Your Guide to the Costs Involved in Dog Chemotherapy

Your Guide to the Costs Involved in Dog Chemotherapy

If your dog is diagnosed with cancer, once the diagnosis has set in, you may be wondering what costs are associated with chemotherapy. Unfortunately, treatment can be expensive, ranging from $10,000 to $30,000 for chemotherapy. Fortunately, there are organizations to help with the financial burden, which we’ll also discuss today.

Costs Before Chemo for Dogs

We just told you it can go up to $30,000 for chemo rounds, but we didn’t break that cost down to help you understand what you’re paying for.

Your dog’s family vet, or oncologist, usually administer chemo right in their office. But, before your vet can recommend or administer chemo, they will need to undergo the tests necessary for a diagnosis. These are usually only a few hundred dollars, so it’s not breaking the bank quite yet.

Diagnosing cancer often involves:

  • X-rays
  • Sonograms
  • Bloodwork
  • Ultrasounds
  • Surgical biopsies
  • … and/or CT scans 

Once You Have a Dog Cancer Diagnosis

Once your dog has gone through these tests and is diagnosed, they may refer you to an oncologist for a second opinion. Oncologists specialize in cancer and may have a better idea of how to handle your dog’s cancer, saving you time and money. And, helping your dog live a longer life.

According to the Veterinary Cancer Society, consultations range from $100- $250. And, chemotherapy costs anywhere from $150 to $600 per dose. Some dogs only need a couple rounds, whereas others may need more.

If your dog needs multiple rounds, this could get pricey.

What Else Affects Chemo Costs for Dogs?

If your dog needs more than one round, of course the cost will continue to add up. However, there are certain cancers that are more difficult to treat with chemo than others. These factors can also affect the cost:

Cancer location: The location of your dog’s cancer can make it harder to treat, and therefore cost more to treat. If the cancer is in a hard-to-reach location, the cost of chemo treatments will go up.

Tumor size: The size of your dog’s tumor can affect how much chemo your dog needs. Larger tumors will take longer to treat, which means the cost of chemo could accumulate as time passes.

Type of medication: There are a few different chemotherapy drugs, including oral and IV options. The medication may be combined, and the amount of the type used will depend on your dog’s weight. The price of the medicine varies, but the vet will choose the drug(s) that they feel has the best chance of putting your dog’s cancer into remission or removing it altogether.

There are currently three FDA-approved drugs to treat cancer in dogs, and one drug that is conditionally approved: Palladia was approved to treat mast cell tumors in 2009, Stelfonta was approved to treat mast cell tumors in 2020, Tanovea-CA1 was approved to treat lymphoma in 2021, and Laverdia-CA1 was conditionally approved to treat lymphoma in 2021.

The vet clinic: Vet clinics don’t have universal pricing. What costs $150 at one vet’s office may cost $300 at another. Their office visit costs and hourly rates often vary based on location.

Is Pet Insurance an Option for Dog Cancer?

Yes, pet insurance is an option, especially if you’re looking for your dog that hasn’t had any pre-existing conditions yet. If your dog doesn’t have cancer, it’s time to consider pet insurance in case you someday receive this diagnosis for your dog. I definitely wish I had it years ago when I had a dog with cancer.

Here are the pet insurance companies willing to help cover cancer-related costs for dogs:

  • Embrace Pet Insurance: Embrace Pet Insurance offers cancer coverage, as long as you purchase the insurance policy before the cancer is diagnosed.
  • Nationwide: Nationwide will also cover dog cancer costs if it’s not pre-existing. And if you already have insurance for your cars, boats, house, etc. through Nationwide, it can be a wise add-on.
  • Progressive: Progressive offers pet insurance through Pet’s Best. Pets Best will cover cancer costs as well.

If Your Dog is Already Diagnosed

If your dog already has a cancer diagnosis, it doesn’t mean there aren’t funds available to help. We made a list of resources for you to contact here to help pay for your dog’s cancer treatment:

Financial Assistance for Dogs with Cancer

Don’t Give Up

We know it’s hard. Hearing that your dog has cancer is already stressful and seeing the vet bills roll in just adds to it. But don’t give up. There are organizations out there to help you and chemo isn’t the only option. You can choose a more natural route with a holistic veterinarian depending on the type of cancer your dog has.

Published by Amber Drake

Dr. Drake is an award-winning author and well-known cancer specialist in her field. She is best known for her extensive research on canine cancer prevention and nutrition, her dedication to help dogs live a long, happy life, and for teaching veterinary medicine. As the CEO of Canine Companions Co., the Founder of Drake Dog Cancer Foundation and Academy, and the Co-Founder of Preferable Pups, in addition to being a respected figure in the dog world, she has earned the respect of thousands of dog lovers worldwide.

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