How To Pay For Your Pet’s Cancer Treatment
Getting a cancer diagnosis for your beloved cat or dog can launch a journey filled with emotional peaks and valleys. After the initial difficult news, your hopes may get a lift if your veterinarian reports that there’s a treatment course that can extend your pet’s life, improve his or her quality of life, and/or possibly cure the cancer. For many, however, that leads to another concern: what to do if your dog or cat has cancer and you aren’t sure if you can afford treatment.
Not everyone is in a position to use money from savings. Putting charges on a regular credit card is another alternative, but if the balance is carried for an extended period, interest charges can really add up. Fortunately, there are several additional possibilities that you may or may not have been aware of. Here’s a look at some other options. Looking into them might allow you to move forward if you can’t afford cancer treatment for your dog or cat without help.
Look for Clinical Trials/Studies
In their quest to develop new cancer treatments, veterinary medical centers and universities that have veterinary schools often conduct clinical trials and studies. These require the participation of dogs or cats in numbers great enough to establish that results and data are valid. In some cases, but not all, treatments might be offered at a greatly reduced fee as an incentive to participate. A study can be fully funded, too, resulting in free treatment, but that is less common.
There are a few other things to know about participation. Your pet would have to meet the study’s qualifications. Also, while your pet typically would continue to live with you during the study, you might have to bring him or her in for rechecks on a regular basis so the clinicians can collect data. Thus, it makes sense to look for clinical trials within driving distance for you.
An additional potential positive is that your dog or cat might get a treatment that proves to be more beneficial than established options already available. That is the point of clinical trials, after all — to develop a treatment that is as or more effective than those on the market. Sometimes the findings wind up helping human medicine, as well.
The first thing to know about pet insurance is that coverage almost always requires being enrolled in a plan before the diagnosis. Also, not all plans are created equal. Some policies cover all new conditions for the life of a pet. Others only cover a new condition for the first year, and then you are on your own. It’s also not unusual
to have to pay for veterinary services upfront and then seek reimbursement from the insurer. It is uncommon for a pet insurance company to reimburse the clinic directly.
If you have pet insurance and your pet is beginning a cancer treatment journey, it could also prove beneficial to get preapproved for a certain amount of coverage. Every plan is different- you should know what yours covers before beginning cancer care. If you need pre-approval, it’s smart to get preapproved for more than the amount you think you are going to need, because medicine is an inexact science.
Pet-Specific Credit Account
A financing option called CareCredit is similar to a credit card but slightly different. You can use it for out-of-pocket pet-related medical and veterinary expenses that insurance would not cover, but it offers some financing options that other cards might not. Short-term financing offers include a promotional period during which no interest is charged, as long as minimum monthly payments are made and the entire balance is paid by the end of the promotional period. More than 250,000 providers nationwide accept CareCredit.
Online fundraising platforms are another potential source of funding assistance. Family, friends and even strangers who are sympathetic toward animals may contribute.
Some charitable organizations offer grants for specific types of veterinary care or animals in certain categories. For instance, there is a charity for dogs with osteosarcoma. Some charities specifically offer help if a service dog or a police dog is ill. Conduct an online search to determine whether there’s a match for your specific circumstances.
Many veterinary clinics and animal hospitals do not offer payment plans, but pet parents can always ask and explain their circumstances. Veterinarians tend to be compassionate and may not be aware that the pet parent is struggling financially.
PetCure’s Treatments and Payment Resources
At PetCure Oncology, we fight pet cancer with a wide range of treatment options and advanced technology that includes innovative stereotactic radiation. In keeping with our motto — We Understand. We Commit. We Will Help. — we will also do what we can to assist with cancer treatment financing for your pets if assistance is needed. Our client care representatives can review all fees and payment options, enabling you to make an informed decision about treatment. We can guide you if you need help submitting a claim to your pet’s insurance company or if you’re applying for financing. To learn more, find your nearest PetCure Oncology location and reach out to us today.
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The contents of this article were provided in part by Dr. Renee Alsarraf, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology), a board-certified veterinary medical oncologist and member of PetCure Radiation Oncology Specialists (PROS).