One in five cats will develop cancer in their lifetimes, leading to difficult decisions and challenges for pet parents. Finding out your cat has cancer is not only scary because you worry for your cat's health, but the expense of treating cancer can be very high. Many of the same techniques used in human cancer treatment are used for pet cancer treatment, like chemotherapy and prescription drugs. While it is possible to make significant lifestyle changes to save money for a cat's treatment, here are some ways to save on cat chemo and cancer drugs.
What Is the Cost of Treatment?
Depending on the type needed, treatment costs can range from $2,000 to $10,000 or more in out-of-pocket costs, potentially putting your family in a difficult financial situation. Chemotherapy and radiation are expensive, but are often necessary treatments, and medications may be used to support or relieve pain.
Costs may include:*
- $800-$1,000 for biopsies and tests
- $2,500-$6,000 for surgeries
- $6,000-$10,000 for chemotherapy
- $5,000-$7,000 for radiation
- Over $3,000 for medication every year
Many medications used in cancer treatment can be expensive by themselves. For example, one medication, Leukeran, can cost over $30 per pill if purchased at retail. Pain medication can also be expensive, such as Peroxicam, at over $2 per pill.
Where to Buy Medications to Save
Buying your cat's cancer medication at an online pharmacy, such as PetCareRx.com, can save you a lot of money versus buying medications at the veterinary office. Vets often inflate the cost of medications to cover their services, sometimes as much as 160% over wholesale prices.** You also have options when it comes to which medication to buy. You can often find the same ingredients in a generic medication at a lower cost.
How Else Can I Save?
With such expensive cancer treatments, some pet parents look for other ways to save, such as pet insurance or a pharmacy benefits plan. Insurance can reduce treatment costs but plans can be expensive, may not accept cats with a pre-existing condition, or cover vet visits. It's also important to look into what an insurance plan will cover before choosing one.
Pharmacy benefits plans, like PetPlus by PetCareRx, are a great money-saver, and will even accept cats with a cancer diagnosis. Instead of insuring the cat, PetPlus provides member benefits including up to 75% off medications, free shipping or local pickup, and even discounts on vet visits and surgery. With PetPlus, you can get Leukeran for 80% less than retail prices, saving you thousands of dollars over the course of a year.
Faced with the high hosts of cancer treatment, you may want to consider a pharmacy plan like PetPlus for your cat. It might be a solution to provide the best cancer treatment for your cat at a manageable cost.
*According to PetCareRx Consulting Veterinarian estimates of cancer treatment costs
**Consumer Reports: Don’t Automatically Get Pet Medicines From the Vet
More on Cat Health
The Importance of Taking Your Cat to the Vet
All About Cat Examinations - What To Expect at a Vet Visit
What Can Affect a Cat's Lifespan
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.