How much does chemotherapy for dogs cost?
Ashburn, VA

How much does chemotherapy for dogs cost?

Ashburn, VA

How much does chemotherapy for dogs cost?

$150 – $600 chemotherapy cost per dose
$3,000 – $10,000+ total cost of cancer treatment

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$150 – $600 chemotherapy cost per dose

$3,000 – $10,000+ total cost of cancer treatment

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Kristen Cramer
Written by
Kristen Cramer
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Tara Farmer
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Jennifer Carlson

Average cost of chemo for dogs

Finding out your beloved canine has cancer is one of the most emotionally daunting experiences a pet owner can face. Just like in humans, chemo can play a crucial role in extending and improving a dog's quality of life. Understanding the cost of chemotherapy for dogs is crucial for pet owners navigating this challenging path.

The average cost of chemo for dogs is $150 to $600 per dose, with the total cost of cancer treatment ranging from $3,000 to $10,000+, including the initial diagnosis, chemotherapy drugs, blood work, and other tests required.

Cost of chemotherapy for dogs
National Average Cost $5,500
Minimum Cost $1,000
Maximum Cost $15,000
Average Range $3,000 to $10,000

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What affects the cost of cancer treatment for dogs?

Several factors can impact the cost of your dog's chemotherapy and cancer treatment. Ask your vet about these details to help you make the right decision for your pup.

Cancer type & location

Common types of cancer in dogs include lymphoma, mammary tumors, mast cell tumors, soft tissue sarcoma, bone cancer, bladder cancer, and nasal or oral cavity tumors. Cancer in hard-to-access locations deep in a dog's body can be more challenging to treat, resulting in higher chemotherapy costs.

Number of chemo treatments needed

The number of chemotherapy treatments your dog needs will depend on the cancer type and stage, the size of the mass, and how well your dog responds to the treatment. Larger masses or cancer that has spread into multiple areas of the body often require more treatments.

Chemotherapy drugs used

Chemotherapy drugs come in three different forms: oral medications, injections, and intravenous (IV) infusions. Your veterinarian will recommend the best drug or combination of drugs based on the type of cancer, treatment plan, and your budget. Examples of chemotherapy drugs include:

  • Oral medications: Prednisone, Laverdia® (verdinexor), Leukeran® (chlorambucil), lomustine, Palladia® (toceranib), Tanovea® (rabacfosadine)

  • Injections: L-asparaginase, mitoxantrone, vinblastine, vincristine

  • Intravenous (IV) infusions: Adriamycin® (doxorubicin), carboplatin, cisplatin, epirubicin, mitoxantrone, Mustargen® (mechlorethamine), vinblastine, vincristine, vinorelbine

Additional costs to treat cancer in dogs

Chemotherapy is only one part of your dog's cancer treatment. Keep these other potential costs in mind:

  • Initial consultation with an oncologist: If your veterinarian suspects your dog has cancer, they'll likely refer you to a veterinary oncologist—a specialist trained to diagnose and treat cancer in animals and improve your dog's quality of life. An initial consultation costs $150 to $250+.

  • Blood work: The average cost of blood work for a dog is $100 to $200. Your dog may need blood work several times throughout the course of treatment.

  • Imaging: Your veterinarian will typically order X-rays, a CT scan, or an ultrasound to confirm the cancer diagnosis and monitor the treatment.

  • Surgery or radiation: Although chemotherapy may put some cancers into remission, it doesn't cure most cancers on its own. Your vet may recommend other treatments like radiation or surgery in conjunction with chemo.

Does pet insurance cover the cost of dog chemotherapy?

Many pet insurance plans cover the cost of cancer treatment and chemotherapy for dogs, unless the condition was pre-existing. However, coverage varies by insurance provider and plan, and some companies only offer cancer treatment coverage as part of an add-on policy.

Pet insurance costs $35 to $75 per month for dogs. Keep in mind, that most insurance companies require you to pay your vet upfront and submit a claim for reimbursement.

A dog receiving an intravenous (IV) infusion at a vet's office
A dog receiving an intravenous (IV) infusion at a vet's office

Side effects of chemotherapy for dogs

Chemotherapy is much less harsh on dogs than on humans. Because the primary goal is to improve the dog's quality of life, veterinarians administer lower doses of the chemo drugs to minimize the side effects. However, your pup may still experience some of these common side effects:

  • Nausea or loss of appetite

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Lethargy

  • Increased hunger or thirst

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Before your dog begins chemotherapy, talk to your vet about the possible side effects and how best to help your dog throughout the treatment.

Dog chemotherapy FAQs

Can dogs eat before chemotherapy?

Whether your dog can eat before chemotherapy depends on the type of treatment and whether your vet will perform any imaging tests during the visit. Ask your vet for specific recommendations.

Can dogs on chemo be around other dogs?

It's safe for your dog to be around other dogs while on chemo, eat and drink out of the same bowls, play with the same toys, and sleep on the same doggy bed. However, chemotherapy may weaken your dog's immune system, so you should limit their interaction with other sick animals.

Most chemotherapy drugs are eliminated from the body in the urine and feces within 48 to 72 hours after treatment. It's best to keep children and other pets away from the area where your dog eliminates waste during that period so they don't come into contact with contaminated body secretions.

Do dogs lose hair during chemo?

Dogs rarely lose their hair during chemotherapy. Most dogs' coats grow to a certain length and stop, unlike human hair which continually grows. Poodles, sheepdogs, and terrier breeds with hair that continues to grow may lose hair during treatment.

Questions to ask your vet about dog chemo

Ask your veterinarian these important questions to help you better understand the treatment options, process, and other key details:

  • Why are you recommending this treatment?

  • What outcome should I expect?

  • If the treatment works, how much more time do you think it will give my dog?

  • How will it impact my dog's quality of life?

  • What are the negatives in pursuing this treatment plan?

  • How long will the treatment last?

  • Will it be uncomfortable or painful for my dog?

  • What are the possible side effects, and what do they look like?

  • How can I help my dog if those side effects occur?

  • What do I need to do to prepare my dog for the treatment?

  • What special care will my dog need after the treatment?

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