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Canine Cancer: What To Expect

dog cancer

Introduction

In the past few years, cancer-related veterinary costs have skyrocketed. Part of the reason for the rising cost is advancement in diagnostics and treatments. Vets can find cancer earlier and treat it more effectively.

Unfortunately, that leaves you in the waiting room thinking about how long the road to recovery will be, and how much it will cost.

But now that you’re here, let’s go over what your options are as a pet parent.

 

Breeds with High Rates of Cancer

According to the National Institute of Health, cancer is most common in pure breeds [1]. And according to one study [2] Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Poodles have the highest rate of canine cancer.

Of course, many factors contribute to canine cancer like diet and the environment. But higher rates of cancer in purebred dogs indicate there is a genetic factor as well.

Knowing that your pet is likely to develop cancer can make anyone anxious. Luckily, pet insurance covers nearly all medical bills from canine cancer. But as we mention  here, no company will cover a pre-existing condition. If your pet is one of the breeds likely to develop cancer, make sure you’re covered before it’s too late.

 

Treatment Options for Canine Cancer

The type of treatment best for your dog will be determined by factors specific to your dog, and the type of cancer. But generally, there are three options: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

Surgery

Performing surgery to remove as much cancer as possible is usually part of any treatment plan. It can be recommended on its own, or alongside chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy to treat cancer in dogs comes with fewer side effects than treating humans. This is because veterinarians administer smaller doses, so dogs aren’t overly uncomfortable. Of course, there are slight side effects like nausea and reduced appetite. But those usually don’t last longer than 24 hours after the chemotherapy session. And most dogs do not lose their coat. There may be some thinning, but generally, the dose is too small to cause major hair loss.

Radiation Therapy

While chemotherapy is a general medicine for your dog, radiation therapy targets cancer in the body. Dogs are given a sedative to keep them from moving while they undergo radiation treatment. Again, there are generally minimal long-term side effects.

Treatment for canine cancer is different from treatment for humans in one significant way – aggressiveness. Humans can endure much more discomfort than our dogs because we understand that the pain of aggressive treatment is worth it. Dogs, on the other hand, don’t know what’s going on, so vets pay much more attention to the quality of life during cancer treatment.

 

How Much Does It Cost to Treat Cancer in Dogs?

The average cost to treat canine cancer is around $6,000.

Getting to the vet’s office can cost around $200 per visit. Chemotherapy can cost up to $600 per dose. And radiation, if your vet recommends it, can cost up to $6,000 per treatment.

Real Life Story

A family was worried when they found a lump on their dog Riley’s leg. After taking Riley to the vet, they learned he had Osteosarcoma, a malignant tumor on Riley’s bone. After deciding to treat cancer, they paid a total of $5,793.69. That covered surgery, follow-up visits, chemotherapy, medication, antibiotics, more medicine, and a Wendy’s burger to jumpstart Riley’s appetite after chemotherapy.

Unfortunately, they were not covered by pet insurance, so $5,783.69 was an out-of-pocket expense.

If they had been covered by pet insurance, they could’ve had nearly all of that cost covered.

If they had been covered by Trupanion with a deductible of $500, the cost to get Riley healthy and back home would have gone from $5,793.69 to $1,029.40. That is 82% savings.

Of course, every insurance claim is different. But there is no doubt that Riley could have received the same lifesaving treatment for much less. And with our comparison tool, they would’ve been able to find coverage that fits in their monthly budget.

 

Check Your Options

 

Sources:

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3658424/

[2] https://www.embracepetinsurance.com/waterbowl/article/rates-of-cancer-by-dog-breed

 

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