Table of Contents
- One in five cats develops cancer in their lifetime, while one in four dogs receives a cancer diagnosis.
- Many pet insurance policies cover cancer if it isn’t a pre-existing condition.
- Cancer coverage varies based on your insurance provider.
- A pet insurance policy can dramatically decrease costs associated with a cancer diagnosis.
Understanding Pet Cancer
Cancer in pets is the abnormal, uncontrolled, and purposeless growth of cells in the body. It can occur in any part of the body, and growths may be malignant or benign. These growths are called neoplasms or tumors.
Malignant neoplasms are cancerous and are often unpredictable. They can grow at various rates and metastasize or spread and invade other parts of the body. In contrast, benign neoplasms often develop slowly and don’t usually spread or invade surrounding tissues.
Prevalence Of Cancer In Pets
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA), pets experience similar cancer rates to humans, with approximately one in four dogs receiving a cancer diagnosis. Nearly half of all senior dogs over the age of ten develop cancer.
Information surrounding cancer in cats is limited, although studies suggest domestic cats are less likely to develop cancer than dogs. However, some types of cancer, like lymphoma, are more common in cats than dogs. Approximately one in five cats develop cancer in their lifetime.
How Cancer Coverage Works
A pet insurance policy can be a valuable resource when faced with the financial burden of treating pet cancer. Most pet insurance companies will cover cancer care and treatment, but only if you enroll your pet before the diagnosis.
Many pet insurance providers exclude pre-existing conditions from coverage, so if your pet already has a cancer diagnosis before you purchase a pet insurance policy, the subsequent care and treatment aren’t eligible for reimbursement.
Types Of Pet Insurance Coverage
Pet parents can purchase multiple types of insurance for their furry friends. The type you choose will determine whether you receive coverage for your pet’s cancer care and treatment.
Most providers offer a few plans, including accident-only, accident and illness, and preventative. Accident-only plans typically cover emergencies, including broken bones, torn ligaments, foreign body ingestion, and similar incidents.
Accident and illness plans often cover everything in an accident-only plan, plus various illnesses, such as urinary tract infections (UTIs), diabetes, and cancer treatment. Preventative care policies cover wellness-related expenses, including annual exams, vaccinations, and parasite prevention.
Some providers offer cancer coverage as an add-on option, although it is usually an inclusion in accident and illness policies.
Pet Insurance Waiting Periods
Every pet insurance policy has a waiting period, although some are shorter than others. Most waiting periods extend between 14 and 30 days after you purchase your policy.
During this timeframe, you will not receive the full benefits of your policy. Once this period ends, your coverage will kick in. This means that if you purchase a policy and notice cancer symptoms a few days after the purchase date, you’ll likely need to wait until the waiting period closes to receive reimbursement for any diagnostics or treatments your pet receives.
Some pet insurance providers offer shorter waiting periods or waive them under specific circumstances, but this varies based on the provider.
Pet Cancer Treatments
Your pet’s veterinary oncologist may choose to use one or more of the following treatments:
- Chemotherapy: During this treatment, pets receive oral or intraventricular (IV) medications that help slow the spread of cancer and kill the disease by attacking growing cells.
- Radiation: This treatment interacts with the DNA to kill cancer cells. Many veterinarians use teletherapy, an external radiation that targets the growth and tissues surrounding it.
- Surgery: This is the most common treatment for cancer. Your veterinarian will surgically remove the growth or tumor after diagnosing it through an MRI, CT scan, or ultrasound.
Veterinarians may recommend participating in a clinical trial or study if your pet isn’t responding well to common treatment paths. While these trials are often free, some have fees to participate.
Most pet insurance policies don’t cover experimental, investigational treatments or those outside the standards your state’s veterinary medical board outlines. Check the terms and conditions of your pet insurance policy or check with your provider for more information on these exclusions.
Pet Insurance Providers That Offer Cancer Coverage
Inclusions and exclusions in a pet insurance policy vary from one provider to the next. Here are the pet insurance providers that offer cancer coverage.
Lemonade Pet Insurance policies offer diagnostics, medications, and procedures coverage in its accident and illness plan. This coverage extends to various cancer-related treatments, including diagnostics to identify the cancer, medications to treat it, and surgery as necessary.
With a Spot pet insurance accident and illness policy, owners receive coverage for their pet’s exam fees associated with the illness, diagnostics, and cancer treatments. The treatment coverage extends to advanced solutions, including surgery, chemotherapy, and stem cell therapy.
Fetch By The Dodo
The Dodo’s Fetch pet insurance policies offer comprehensive coverage for pets with cancer diagnoses, including diagnostics, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiology. Diagnostic testing coverage includes advanced options such as MRIs, X-rays, and CT scans.
Trupanion’s cancer coverage in its accident and illness policies extends to diagnostics, surgeries, medications, supplements, and hospitalizations. These policies feature unlimited payments, high reimbursement rates, and extensive coverage for cancer-related treatments.
Like many providers, Figo’s pet insurance options include coverage for cancer and related treatments. These policies cover diagnostics, hospitalizations, medications, and surgeries. Coverage extends to several highly technological, cutting-edge cancer treatments, including radiosurgery and CyberKnife.
Embrace offers well-rounded coverage for pets with cancer diagnoses, including oncologist consultations, diagnostics, and treatments. Coverage includes surgery and radiology. Pet parents even receive coverage for post-cancer treatment, including rehabilitation and follow-up care.
Under a Healthy Paws pet insurance policy, pet parents get unlimited coverage for diagnostics, hospitalizations, surgeries, treatments, and prescription medications. In addition, it covers specialty care and alternative therapies. These policies have no maximum payout limits or per-incident, annual, or lifetime caps.
The cost of treating pet cancer is steep, making it unfeasible for many owners without insurance. Many pet parents without insurance pay thousands of dollars out of pocket to help their furry friends recover, sometimes even tens of thousands.
Most major surgical procedures to remove cancerous growths cost $500 or more, while radiation therapy ranges from $2,500 to $7,000. Chemotherapy costs vary drastically based on the pet’s size, treatment regimen, and other factors specific to your pet.
These treatment costs don’t include the diagnostics your veterinarian may use, such as MRIs, CT scans, X-rays, or ultrasounds. Hospitalization, medications, alternative therapies, and rehabilitation tack on additional expenses, bringing the total well above a few thousand dollars.
With an insurance policy, these costs drop dramatically. The amount you pay for the treatments hinges on your deductible, reimbursement rate, and policy caps. Still, in numerous instances, the total is a mere percentage of the total without insurance.
As you browse through pet insurance providers, consider all aspects of each policy and what types of coverage your pet needs. We recommend gathering quotes from several insurance providers to find the best coverage based on your budget and pet’s needs.
Receiving a cancer diagnosis for your furry friend is scary and stressful. Unfortunately, many pet insurance providers consider cancer a pre-existing condition and will not cover it if your pet was diagnosed before you purchased a policy.
Given the terms in pet insurance policies surrounding pre-existing conditions, it’s best to enroll your pet in a policy while they’re still healthy. This way, you won’t face the possibility of your pet developing cancer before you purchase a policy, leaving the financial burden of diagnostic and treatment costs on your shoulders.
Securing a pet insurance policy early on can give you financial peace of mind if your pet gets a cancer diagnosis.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Should You Do If Your Dog Has Cancer And You Can’t Afford Treatment?
You have a few options if you cannot afford cancer treatment for your pet and don’t have pet insurance coverage. Clinical trials or studies, crowdfunding, charities, and pet-specific credit accounts can be viable solutions.
Is Cancer Considered A Pre-Existing Condition?
Many pet insurance providers consider cancer to be a pre-existing condition. This means that if your pet is diagnosed with cancer before you obtain an insurance policy, you likely won’t receive reimbursement for cancer-related costs and treatments.
Does Pet Insurance Cover CT Scans?
Coverage in a pet insurance policy varies based on the provider, but many comprehensive policies include all diagnostic tests, including CT scans. Given that coverage varies, checking for this inclusion is essential.
What Is The Most Common Cancer In Dogs?
Lymphoma, or cancer of the lymph nodes, is the most common type of cancer seen in dogs. This type of cancer accounts for approximately 20% of all canine cancers, and while it is rarely curable, it’s usually considered treatable.
What Is The Most Common Cancer In Cats?
Like dogs, lymphoma is the most common cancer that impacts cats. While this cancer is common in both species, it occurs more frequently in cats and often affects older felines.
Find out more
- Does Pet Insurance Cover Surgery? – Find out about coverage for cancer-related surgeries.
- Pet Insurance for Pre-existing Conditions – Understanding coverage for pets with a history of cancer.
- Pet Insurance Worth It? – Assessing the cost-effectiveness of cancer coverage.
- Healthy Paws Pet Insurance Review – Explore Healthy Paws’ approach to cancer treatment.
- Embrace Review – Embrace’s comprehensive cancer coverage options.
- Nationwide Review – Nationwide’s stance on cancer care in pets.
- Figo Review – Figo’s innovative solutions for pets with cancer.
- Trupanion Review – Trupanion’s direct vet payment for cancer treatments.