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Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Sue Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide

Financial Assistance for Dogs with Cancer: Resources from The Dog Cancer Vet Team

So many of us find finances really tight when we’re looking at treating dog cancer. Getting financial assistance for dogs with cancer is possible by checking with the following resources.

What follows is an excerpt of chapter 24 from The Dog Cancer Survival Guide. You can find the full book — only $9.99 in digital platforms! — everywhere books are sold, and also in our online shop.

Chapter 24: Financial Assistance for Dogs with Cancer

Excerpted from The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity, by Dr. Demian Dressler, DVM, with Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology)

Conventional cancer care costs an average of $5,000 to $8,000, and if all three treatments (surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation) are used, the bill can easily exceed $10,000. For many guardians, this is a real financial burden, and for many others, the price tag makes any treatment prohibitive. Whether that number makes you gulp or yawn, spending your dollars wisely is important. Every dog deserves the best care her guardian can provide and, luckily for all of us, every kiss, hug and caress you give your dog makes a difference.

Unfortunately, kisses and hugs don’t pay the vet bills; if you need help, there are several organizations that may be worth contacting.

Organizations That May Help With Medical Bills:

I cannot guarantee any of these sites will help you, but they give you a place to start your search. There may be other resources available, too; common search terms include your breed’s name, “cancer bills,” “vet bills,” and “help.”

Clinical Trials

Veterinary schools and research facilities are often actively conducting clinical trials for new techniques or medications. Participating in these can be a good way to get new treatments, at a reduced cost.

Calling veterinary schools in your area directly is the best way to find out about local trials.

You can also check the Veterinary Cancer Society’s website for an index:


An old-fashioned practice has regained popularity: barter. Although not everyone is a fan, I have heard from some readers that this solution worked for their vet and other caregivers. Perhaps you can work off your bill by trading your professional services, such as accounting, building contracting or consulting. The owner of a corporate chair massage business traded a day’s worth of chair massage, for the veterinarian and his employees, in exchange for an equivalent reduction in her medical bill. Another reader bartered a reduction in the bill for cleaning and repainting the vet’s parking lot, shampooing the carpets and waxing the office floors. An owner of a popular restaurant gladly fed her vet and his family, without charge, until her bill was paid down.

If you suggest barter to your vet, I strongly recommend a dollar-for-dollar trade to avoid quibbles over how much is owed or paid. You should also consult with your accountant, because bartered services may be taxable.


Some veterinarians and oncologists accept CareCredit, which is a healthcare credit card that can be used to pay off your veterinary bills in monthly payments, over time. As long as you pay your bill according to the terms of your agreement with CareCredit, there are no additional costs, upfront fees or pre-payment penalties.

CareCredit can do this because practices pay fees to participate, plus, the bank’s penalties for late or missed payments on your part are hefty. Depending upon your needs and which promotional packages your veterinarian offers, this could be a good option for some guardians. Although there is an application process, and your credit history will be reviewed before you get approval, even guardians with less-than-great credit may still be qualified. You can have a co-applicant with better credit scores apply with you or for you, also. If you have ever purchased furniture or electronics on a line of credit, this is a very similar process.

You can find out more online

Found that FREE chapter helpful? Get the full 500-page book The Dog Cancer Survival Guide for only $9.99. There are 40 more Super Helpful Chapters, 5 Incredible Appendices, and 1 Fantastic Index in The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.

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