Last Modified: September 17, 2012
This treatment must be expensive. Does pet medical insurance cover cancer treatments? What if I don't have insurance for my pet- how do people afford this?
Christina Bach, Oncology Social Worker at Penn Medicine, responds:
Pet insurance is a fairly new and rapidly developing and changing business. There are many plans available, and almost all of them base their pricing on the age of the pet (when you purchase the plan) and pre-existing conditions. Many plans will cover the cost of chemotherapy and radiation treatments for exiting policy holders, but if your animal has already been diagnosed with cancer, likely those treatments would be excluded (for a period of time as determined by the company). The key with pet insurance is to read the policy carefully, ask questions when receiving the quote about what is excluded and be on top of claims that you do make to the company. The cost of veterinary oncology treatments can be high, so planning ahead by purchasing pet insurance when your pet is young can be beneficial, cost effective and can help ease the stress of decision making should you animal be diagnosed with cancer.
If you don't have insurance for your pet, you can apply for Care Credit (offered by many veterinary practices) or even try fundraising. There are not a lot of assistance agencies out there for veterinary cost assistance; so it's important to think outside of the box when trying to budget for care.
This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire transcript from When a Beloved Pet has Cancer.