Mina died on November 9, 2009 at 13 years and one month old. Her cancer came back almost immediately after her last chemotherapy treatment.

I’ve looked through quite a few Web sites where humans have detailed the treatments their canine beloveds have undergone for lymphoma. They’re helpful in various degrees, but one thing that’s rarely mentioned is the cost of chemotherapy.

If you don’t have a mortgage you can borrow against, you’d better have damn good credit with your bank and some very generous friends. I’m lucky, I have good credit and generous friends and my Dad or there’s no way I could afford this treatment for Mina.

I can’t speak for all clinics and hospitals, but the estimate I was given for the 20-week protocol left out some important numbers, namely rest week estimates. Sure the estimates for the chemo treatments are in line with what I’m paying, but there’s no estimates for the rest weeks and that turns out to be a considerable amount. So, ask your vets about what to expect in the way of exams and possible treatments and such during rest weeks and factor that in.

Also, you’ll need to prepare yourself to buy quite a few prescriptions. There are four drugs in Mina’s protocol that are in pill form and require a trip to the pharmacy. Your vets may not be able to help you with estimates so call your local pharmacies and find out what they charge for those drugs. She’s also taking an anti-emetic and sometimes other anti-nausea and appetite stimulating drugs. These can be quite expensive.

Another thing that isn’t included in an estimate are trips to the emergency vet. You will visit the emergency vet from time to time, trust me. Mina’s trips to the ER were never less than $250 and they can go much higher. Any drugs dispensed will be more expensive than at your regular vet or local pharmacy, too.

All told, I’ve borrowed $11,000 just for Mina’s chemo, drugs, and ER visits. That doesn’t include money borrowed from friends and Dad, and it doesn’t include all the special foods and regular vet visits. The total is a few thousand dollars higher than what I borrowed from the bank. I’ve heard from some other people that this is about the going rate in 2009. I have no idea how much of that cost is mitigated by pet insurance as Mina was too old to qualify the one time I inquired into it. But it might be a good idea to look in to pet insurance before your furry beloved gets on in age.

I hope this information helps.

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