What Is Chemotherapy For Dogs
Both humans and dogs diagnosed with cancer can be treated with chemotherapy and the process is not much difference between the two. However, chemotherapy dosage for dogs is less substantial than that of humans. Since canines live relatively short lives, the primary goal of chemotherapy treatment is to provide them with the best quality of life for as long as possible.
As with all veterinary treatment, there are pros and cons associated with chemo for dogs. When your cherished dog gets cancer, you will most likely be on the fence about whether or not to pursue aggressive medical treatment. Pet owners should do their research and weigh the advantages and disadvantages before making such a huge decision.
Although chemotherapy for dogs can be a challenging process, it is much less grueling than treatment in humans. The reason for this is because a dog with cancer will not receive the same amount of intensive medications as a person going through chemo.
Chemo is often recommended for cancer that has begun to spread to other areas of a dogs body or types of cancer that are known to metastasize. A veterinarians recommendation for chemotherapy for a canine will depend on whether the cancer has already spread, the age of the dog, and if surgical tumor removal is an option.
How Much Can Canine Lymphoma Treatment Cost
Canine lymphoma is a diagnosis that most pet parents are lucky enough to never even consider. Unfortunately, you are one of the unlucky pet parents who have now been tasked with navigating the world knowing that your pet currently has, incurable cancer. The challenge of having a furry family member with lymphoma is a huge one, and there is a lot that comes along with the diagnosis that you may need to consider.
How Much Is A Round Of Chemo For A Dog
Initial consultation fees with an oncologist can range from $125 to $250 depending upon the hospital, clinic and geographic location, the average cost for chemo for dogs and cats can range from $150 to $500 per dose and radiation can cost $1,000 to $1,800 for a palliative protocol and $4,500 to $600 for curative intent
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Are There Alternative Treatments For Dogs With Cancer
Adding to your vets cancer arsenal of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy is another option: immunotherapy. This is a type of vaccine that is used to stimulate your dogs own immune system to attack the cancer. Right now the main focus for that is in dogs with melanoma , Intile said.
Some of the larger veterinary university research hospitals are also using bone marrow transplants to treat some cancers, Intile said. To be sure you and your pet have access to the latest treatments and possible clinical trials, consider bringing your dog to a facility that specializes in veterinary oncology.
What Are The Side Effects Of Chemotherapy In Pets
The goal of chemotherapy in pets with cancer is to preserve the highest quality of life possible. However, there may be some side effects following treatment with chemotherapy. The overall impact of side effects is reduced by altering doses or eliminating drugs from treatment if side effects are significant. However, in order to obtain any benefit from chemotherapy it is necessary to use doses that can result in some reversible and temporary effects on normal tissues. The most common side effects of chemotherapy in pets include: Stomach upset resulting in a reduced appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration. These effects are generally mild and self-limiting but may require symptomatic treatment or hospitalization in some instances.
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Cost Of Chemotherapy With Other Treatments
- If the chemotherapy has to be combined with radiation therapy, the total cost can range between $2,000 and $6,000.
- Lymphoma, the most common canine cancer, usually requires only chemotherapy and its cost can come up to be around $450 to $500.
- Osteosarcoma, another type of canine cancer, is usually treatedwith chemotherapy along with amputation surgery. This type ofchemotherapy treatment costs approximately $450.
- If the canine chemotherapy is done along with radiation or surgical treatment, the average cost can go up to $600.
- In cases where a tumor is located deep inside the dogs body, amajor surgery for removing the tumor as well as for reconstruction isrequired along with the chemotherapy. Such a chemotherapy treatment isoffered at a starting cost of $1,500.
Pet Insurance Coverage Comparison Of Hemangiosarcoma
Below you will find a comparison chart that can you help decide which pet insurance plan might be the wisest option for you and your dog if youre concerned about hemangiosarcoma. These six companies, among others, cover the condition, providing it isnt pre-existing. No pet insurance providers cover pre-existing conditions. This means if your dog was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma before you enrolled in an insurance plan, treatment will not be covered. Similarly, if the condition appears or is discovered during the waiting period for coverage , no company will cover treatment. The estimates below are calculated based on a 5-year-old, male, yellow labrador retriever in the southeast. The co-pay for all plans was 10%.
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Bone Marrow Side Effects
The bone marrow is responsible for producing white blood cells, and when it is affected by chemotherapy, these white blood cell levels may decrease temporarily. Typically, this occurs 7 days after a dose of chemotherapy is given, but the timing may vary with the drug used. Decreases in the white blood cell count may be mild, moderate, or severe. Because the body regenerates these cells very quickly, even if a pet experiences a very severe drop in their levels, the count will usually return to normal within 24-48 hours.
White blood cells are very important in fighting infections. If the body has a very low white blood cell count, it is susceptible to developing an infection. Most pets with low counts may feel well and have no clinical signs at all. However, if an infection develops, he or she may spike a fever, decline food, and act lethargic, which would require treatment. White blood cell counts of all canine and feline chemotherapy patients are monitored carefully throughout treatment.
Coping With The Cost Of Treatment
Veterinary oncology continues to make strides in treatment options and effectiveness, but those costs can seem insurmountable for some owners. Pet owners can protect their wallets in the case of their beloved furry friends cancer diagnosis with pet insurance.
Pet parents with a Healthy Paws insurance plan can see as much as 90 percent of the cancer treatment cost covered by their policy. Also, having coverage offers some financial peace of mind if theres a relapse and more charges are incurred.
A nasal tumor, normally treated with 15-20 radiation sessions costing up to $10,000, can be treated with CyberKnife Radiosurgery, targeting the tumor in just three sessions. For a dog named Baxter, that meant a better chance at lifeand for his pet parents. They had a pet insurance policy through Healthy Paws Pet Insurance that covered over $18,000 of the original $21,000 price tag. Not only is Baxter now enjoying a healthy life, but his pet parents were able to afford to give him that second chance with insurance.
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How Long Does Chemotherapy For Dogs Take
The duration of chemotherapy for dogs depends on the type of cancer as well as how much the disease has spread. If your dog has lymphoma, standard chemo will usually last 20 to 24 weeks. Once initial treatment is complete, your dog will be in remission. During this time, injections will be stalled, and you and your vet will wait to see if the cancer returns. Most other types of chemotherapy in dogs will last for about three months.
The frequency of chemo treatment will also depend on what type of cancer the dog has and which drugs are used as well as their overall health. Most chemotherapy treatment sessions for dogs will occur every four to six weeks.
Should I Give My Dog Chemo For Lymphoma
Im not sure if youve heard, but theres a cancer epidemic in dogs. In fact, lymphoma, the most common form of cancer in dogs, is now the number one cancer diagnosed in dogs in the United States. Lymphoma is caused by the overgrowth of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. Lymphocytes are important for the immune system, but when they overgrow, they can cause problems.
Chemotherapy is the most effective treatment for lymphoma. Chemotherapy works by killing the lymphocytes that are causing the cancer. Its important to remember that chemotherapy is a very serious treatment and should only be used if there is a very high chance that the cancer will spread.
There is no one type of chemotherapy that is effective for all types of lymphoma. Your vet will recommend a chemotherapy regimen that is specifically designed to kill the lymphocytes that are causing the cancer.
Radiation therapy is also sometimes used to treat lymphoma. Radiation therapy works by killing the cancer cells and can be used in combination with chemotherapy or Surgery.
Finally, surgery is used to treat some types of lymphoma. Surgery can remove the lymph nodes that are causing the cancer or it can involve removing part of the lymphatic system.
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What Is The Cost Of Cancer Treatment
The cost of evaluation, diagnosis, staging and treatment will vary depending on the site of the tumor, the size of the dog, the type of treatment selected and how well your pet handles the treatment. In general, the initial evaluation including the diagnosis, staging and a discussion about the prognosis and treatment options may range from several hundred dollars upward if the tumor is located in a body cavity or hard to reach location. Major surgical procedures will likely range from about $500 upward, depending on the extent of surgery and the recovery period. Chemotherapy costs vary with size of the dog but for many treatment regimens the cost of chemotherapy may range from several hundred dollars for palliative oral treatment to several thousand dollars over a 3-6 month period. Radiation therapy will range from approximately $2500-$7000. There are additional fees if a CT scan is required for treatment planning or if the patient needs additional monitoring in our intensive care unit.
When Is Chemotherapy Recommended For A Dog
Chemotherapy is only used to treat certain types of cancer.
A veterinary oncologist may recommend chemotherapy based on the type and stage of cancer.
This, along with factors like age and breed, will determine the best course of action.
Chemotherapy aims to eliminate or control these cancers while providing your pet’s best quality of life.
Do Dogs On Chemo Lose Hair
Many people think that when their pets go through chemotherapy, they are going to lose all their hair. This is not always the case.Pets usually lose a little bit of hair while undergoing chemotherapy, but it usually grows back quickly. Pets that have hair that continually grows re the ones most likely to lose hair while undergoing chemotherapy.
Is It Worth Giving A Dog Chemo
Early detection can help with treatment and recovery
Cancer is unfortunately often incurable in dogs
Chemotherapy may still be recommended as a way to help ease your pets symptoms
Side effects of chemo may include hair loss, weakness, and tiredness
It is important to discuss chemotherapy with your veterinarian and to monitor your pet closely during treatment
Pets may feel better after chemotherapy if they have a good support system
Pets who have chemotherapy should be kept as healthy as possible to prolong their life
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What Dog Breeds Are Prone To Cancer
There also appears to be a genetic risk factor present in large- and giant-sized dogs, with a higher prevalence of bone cancer in breeds such as:
Note that there are several types of cancer in dogs, and breeds prone to bone cancer are not necessarily genetically predisposed to lymphoma, for example.
Other Types Of Support
If you dont have pet insurance, or otherwise cant afford to pay for your dogs Canine Lymphoma care, there are some charities that may be able to help you pay for the cost of your dogs canine lymphoma care. These charities are listed on the Canine Lymphoma Charity page.
And finally, if you need some help, there is another company that may be able to help. Its called Care Credit and they provide low cost credit on relatively easy terms for patients trying to pay for Canine Lymphoma care.
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How Does Chemotherapy Affect Dogs
Some common side effects of chemo on humans, like nausea, vomiting, and low energy levels, are well known. Because dogs usually receive lower doses of the treatment and often have fewer additional drugs being administered, they may experience milder reactions to taking to chemo. For example, most breeds typically do not lose their hair like people do.
That being said, dogs may experience some mild, moderate, or severe appetite loss, vomiting, or diarrhea. Decreased white and red blood cell counts may lead to a greater risk of infection. Lastly, some dogs may experience lethargy due to the treatments. If your dog experiences any clinical signs that seem out of the ordinary, these should be discussed with your pets veterinarian.
How Is Hemangiosarcoma Treated And What Happens During Treatment
Chemotherapy is highly recommended. This treatment not only increases the chance of preventing the cancers spread, but also often prolongs the patients life. If chemotherapy is ineffective or does not seem like a kind or practical option for your dog, administering a low dose of a variety of drugs designed to lengthen his life and extend his comfortable days can be an alternative.
All that said, upon their dogs diagnosis with splenic hemangiosarcoma, many dog parents feel euthanasia is the most loving option for their dog. If they havent already, there is no way to predict when the tumors might rupture, and once a rupture occurs, death is almost inevitable, and is likely to cause the dog both distress and suffering. In addition, even after a traumatic splenectomy, a dog suffering from hemangiosarcoma has a survival time of less than a yearlikely be only a few months. Some dog parents feel prolonging their dogs life in the face of such likely suffering is unkind to their companion. Believing they are sparing their dog unnecessary pain, these pet parents may choose to euthanize their best friend before he becomes uncomfortable, ill, or weak, or experiences any unpleasant symptoms of the disease.
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How Much Does Hemangiosarcoma Treatment Cost
The national estimated average for the cost of treating Hemangiosarcoma is $9000, but it can vary widely according to your geographic location. Generally, the higher your cost of living, the more you can expect to spend for your dogs treatment. Dr. Lisa Barber, assistant professor of oncology and chemotherapy at Tufts Universitys School of Veterinary Medicine explains that at Tufts, located in Massachusetts, a standard chemotherapy protocol for lymphoma is likely to cost $3500 to $4500. At other clinics, the cost can be $10,000 or higher. In Fairfax, Virginia, in June of 2015, one client reports having paid $2300 for treatment of his dogs Hemangiosarcoma of the heart. This cost included the clients visit to the emergency veterinary clinic, which entailed stabilizing his dog, ultrasounds, X-rays, and herbal treatments later administered by a homeopathic vet. In general, chemotherapy treatments cost roughly $1000 per round, so depending on the length of your dogs treatment course, you could expect to spend perhaps between $6000 and $10,000. A course of radiation therapy will likely cost between $5000 and $7000, should you elect that route. The cost of surgery to remove a tumor is likely to fall between $2500 and $6000. These, of course, are the amounts you can expect to spend without any financial assistance, such as from a charitable organization or pet insurance coverage plan.
How Much Does Lymphoma Treatment Cost
One of the biggest causes of concern for pet parents is the cost of the treatment. Especially when a majority of treatment protocols donât provide a frame of reference for what expenses can be expected.
The lack of price reference stems from a lot of different factors. Many treatments are determined by the weight of the dog, the stage of their cancer , and the prices set by an, unfortunately, competitive market in an area. Because of all of these influences, outside of the vet that is giving your pet their treatment, the best breakdown that anyone can offer on pricing is simply a range of estimates.
And there is always more than one option for treatment. If your oncologist is on the higher side of the price range, talk about different options with them. And donât be afraid to call around to see if thatâs the price point for your area, there may be a vet that has less oncology experience but may charge less as a result. Thereâs always going to be a give and take for how much you pay for treatment and the status of the vet that you choose, so make sure youâre as comfortable as you can be on both fronts.
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Hi, I’m Kelly. I’ve been a dog trainer for 12 years, working at all levels of competition, from basic obedience to competition obedience, and in a variety of venues. I’ve also been an instructor at the National Dog Trainer’s Association and have given seminars on basic dog training to several local pet store chains. My articles have appeared in a variety of magazines including Pets Magazine, Action Dog and Puppy Love.