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3 Ways to Save on Dog Chemo and Cancer Drugs

Treating Your Dog Without Breaking the Bank

By Sora Wondra. October 02, 2013 | See Comments

  • expert or vet photo
    vet verified

    PetCareRx Staff Veterinarian

    DVM

3 Ways to Save on Dog Chemo and Cancer Drugs

When a dog is diagnosed with cancer, it's devastating. When pet parents find out how much treatment will cost, it can become hopeless. We know how important affordable pet meds are to families who would do anything for their best friend. Find out here how to save money on cancer medication.

Finding out your dog has cancer is undeniably scary, and planning treatment can be hard on families. Unfortunately, cancer is fairly common in dogs, affecting about 25% during their lifetimes. Many of the cancer treatments that humans use are also available for dogs, but as you may already know, they can be very expensive. Luckily, there are a few ways to save on dog chemo and cancer drugs: by buying online, buying generic, or signing up for pet insurance or pharmacy benefit plans.

Dog Cancer Treatment Costs

With a combination of chemotherapy or radiation, surgery and medication, cancer treatment for a dog can easily add up to over $7,000:*

  • $800-$1,000 for biopsies and tests
  • $2,500-$6,000 on surgeries
  • $6,000-$10,000 on chemotherapy
  • $5,000-$7,000 on radiation
  • Over $3,000 on medication every year

Each treatment is tailored to the cancer size and location, but frequently, radiation or surgery is used to remove the tumor and then treatment with chemo and/or pain medication follows. Purchased at retail, cancer medications like Lukeran can cost over $30 per pill and pain medications, such as Piroxicam, can cost over $2 per pill. So how can you save on those medication costs?

1. Know Where to Buy Medications

A great way to save on medication is to buy at an online pet pharmacy, such as Petcarerx.com. Veterinarians may mark-up medication as high as 160% to cover their services**, but websites specializing in medication can save on overhead.

2. Save with Generic Meds

You can also save by buying generic instead of brand name medications at the vet's office or online. Oftentimes generic drugs are much less expensive, even though they have the same ingredients.

3. Save with Pet Insurance or a Pharmacy Benefits Plans

You may also want to save on cancer treatment by signing up for an insurance plan or pharmacy benefits program. Much like human insurance, pet insurance can reduce the costs of cancer treatment, usually through a reimbursement system. Unfortunately, pet insurance plans usually will not cover cancer if it’s a preexisting condition. These plans can also have expensive monthly fees and co-pays and may not cover all vet visits or fees.

If your dog has already been diagnosed with cancer, and you are facing high medication costs, a pharmacy benefits plan like PetPlus by PetCareRx could be a money-saver. PetPlus is not insurance, so preexisting conditions aren't a problem. By joining as a member, you can save up to 75% on medications, get free shipping or local pickup, and even get discounts on vet visits and surgery. Plus, savings happen at the time of purchase -- no reimbursement forms to fill out. With discounts even higher than pharmacy websites, you can save over 80% on Leukeran (vs. retail), which could add up to thousands of dollars in savings each year.

Learn more about PetPlus.

*According to PetCareRx Consulting Veterinarian estimates of cancer treatment costs
**Consumer Reports: Don’t Automatically Get Pet Medicines From the Vet

More on Dog Health

How a Healthy Dog Weight Can Prevent Disease
How Are Pet Insurance Cards Different From Insurance?
Nutrition for Dealing with Cancer in Dogs and Cats

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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Dog Chemo & Cancer Drugs at a glance

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  • 1Out-of-pocket costs for dog cancer treatments can be over $7,000, but there are ways you can save
  • 2You can save money on cancer meds by buying online, buying generic, and using a pharmacy benefits plan
  • 3PetPlus offers up to 75% off medications, free shipping, local pickup, and discounts on vet visits