What Can I Do to Lower the Cost of Chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy in veterinarian practice has a long way to go before precise prescribing can be made. Chemotherapy protocols are based on the average response and includes a variety of drugs. The reality is, some dogs can’t handle the dose prescribed.
Ask the veterinarian/surgeon how the dosage is being calculated. In some cases, chemotherapy might be able to be reduced with no effect on the overall treatment. This, however, is a tricky thing to determine.
Ask for the Least Expensive Drug Combo
Talk to your veterinarian about the chemotherapy protocol he/she uses. Ask if there are less expensive drugs. In some cases, for example, drugs might be delivered via injection which is usually more expensive than a pill. Ask if you can get the same medication in a pill form.
Pet Insurance, Credit Cards, and Loans
Of course any amount of money is worth more time with your dog. Or is it? When making the decision whether to go through more surgery and chemotherapy/radiation, ask your veterinarian what your dog could expect for quality of life post surgery. I’ve seen people hang on to their pets for their own reasons, not because it’s in the best interest of the dog.
Having something like pet insurance to fall back on may make the decision a little easier. Still, whether you can afford it or not doesn’t (and won’t) change the outcome of the surgery. Unless your dog is at the earliest stages of mast cell cancer, there is a good chance that it will return.
Pet insurance plans vary by company. Most, however, include accidents, injuries, illnesses (including cancer), veterinary exam fees, MRI’s, CT Scans, and ultrasounds. In addition, the company will likely cover certain prescription medications and dental procedures (routine).
Unfortunately, if you only look for pet insurance AFTER a diagnosis of mast cell tumor dog cancer, you may be denied access. If you are accepted into the plan, your monthly fees may be higher than average.
If you don’t already have pet insurance, it simply might not be an option right now.
Beware the Credit Card
Credit cards are easy to get and easy to get out of control. They seem like a lifesaver at the time. After all, your dog needs expensive surgery and chemotherapy and you’ve got that credit card burning a hole in your pocket.
Credit card debt is hard to get out of. That’s because of the high interest rates of up to 30%! For the best mast cell tumor dog life expectancy outcome, you are going to have to go through with surgery and chemotherapy. If a credit card is the way to do it, then you will need to develop (and stick to) a plan to pay it off.
Do what you have to do for your beloved dog. After all, they are members of the family. However, stay aware of the expenses. Try to get the least expensive treatment you can. At the end of the day, you could probably benefit from the advice of a financial counsellor so that you’re not buried in debt forever.
Leaning on a Loan
If your mortgage is paid, you might be able to draw on the line of equity. Otherwise, you’re looking at refinancing your home or using a personal line of credit.
There have been cases of people raising money for surgery and chemotherapy costs through various online fundraising techniques. Family and friends might be able to chip in a little. Some people sell off things they don’t need, or revert to a home with a single car instead of two.
If you decide to go with a loan, make sure not to rush into a high interest loan. You’re already feeling really stressed and worried, but please try to take the time to read the fine print before signing.
If you get a loan, only take the amount you actually need. If you have more money, you’ll likely spend more money
More Information on Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is defined as a drug that either directly kills cancer cells or prevents cancer cells from dividing. The National Canine Cancer Foundation is a great source of information on mast cell tumor dog life expectancy, and more.
Chemotherapy isn’t necessary for all dogs with mast cell tumors. In fact, only around 20% of dogs are candidates for chemotherapy treatment.
Dogs respond to chemotherapy much differently than humans. For one thing, dogs don’t seem to respond with the same degree of nausea, vomiting, and hair loss that humans do.
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