Cost of vet care

The cost of vet care has been increasing continually. Maybe you don’t really have an idea of what vet care costs or have been surprised by it when you received a vet bill. In either case, you’re not alone. According to the Veterinary Emergency and Specialist Care Center, more than 50% of surveyed cat and dog parents agreed veterinary costs are higher than they anticipated.

Why Costs Are Increasing

Cost increases have been necessary to give pet parents what they expect and demand: having the best and latest veterinary care options available to improve and extend their pets’ lives. Providing these care options comes at a price for practices.

The Latest Care for Pets

Cancer Treatments

One major development in cancer treatment for pets is stereotactic radiation (SRT). SRT is an advanced form of radiation therapy that makes it possible to attack tumors that would have been considered untreatable before due to their sensitive location, such as the brain, nose, or bones, though it is now used to treat cancers all over the body.

With SRT, very large doses of radiation are administered in just a few sessions, treating the tumor fast and aggressively and relieving tumor-induced pain more quickly. And because SRT is delivered with such precision, it does minimal damage to the healthy cells around the tumor, decreasing the amount of side effects in pets.

Another development in cancer treatment for pets is the availability of immunotherapy drugs, which help the immune system fight cancer. One notable drug of this kind is ONCEPT® for dogs. ONCEPT® may further extend the life of a dog with oral melanoma than just surgery or radiation alone would by alerting the immune system to the presence of melanoma proteins.

Allergies and Atopic Dermatitis Treatments

Allergies and atopic dermatitis are common ailments for canines. The conditions can cause dogs to scratch excessively, chew and bite themselves, roll, scoot, have red skin, suffer from ear problems, and more. The intense and persistent itchiness can be a nuisance to both your dog and you.

APOQUEL® is a new, nonsteroidal, everyday pill that dogs can take to stop the itch associated with allergic dermatitis and atopic dermatitis. It inhibits IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, and IL-13, which are cytokines, or proteins released by the immune system, that lead to inflammation. It also blocks IL-31, the cytokine that creates the sensation of itching.

CYTOPOINT™, which was licensed by the USDA in 2016, produces similar results as APOQUEL®. It is a monoclonal antibody therapy, administered by injection, that binds IL-31 for rapid itch relief. It’s a good alternative to APOQUEL® if your dog is less than a year old, as APOQUEL® is for dogs over one year. It’s also good for tiny dogs since you can be flexible with its dosing, and for dogs who have difficulty taking pills. Because CYTOPOINT™ is meant to be given monthly rather than daily like APOQUEL®, it could even be a more convenient option for some pet parents.

Diagnostic Testing

Diagnostic testing for pets is continually advancing. State-of-the-art, digital X-rays are now much more common in clinics, as well as CT scans and MRIs. Genetic diagnostic tests are also becoming more common, which help determine a pet’s genetic chances for developing a disease. And, new blood tests can detect kidney disease in pets earlier than ever before.

These are just some of the recent advancements in pet care. Talk to your trusted veterinarian about the right care options for your pet.

How to Manage Vet Care Costs

You can prepare for veterinary expenses by investing in pet insurance, which offers 90% reimbursement on vet bills. When paying for vet care is less stressful, the process of choosing a treatment tends to be less stressful too. The sooner you insure your pet, the better, because once a condition is diagnosed, it will be considered pre-existing.

Hartville Pet Insurance covers all the latest and most advanced care in veterinary medicine. Get a quote for Hartville Pet Insurance now or read on about managing the costs of vet care with pet insurance versus just savings.


APOQUEL®. Zoetis Services LLC, 2017, Accessed 10 Jan. 2018.

"Cancer & Your Pet." PetCure Oncology, 2018, Accessed 10 Jan. 2018.

"Cancer Resource Center." The Veterinary Cancer Center, 2018,

DVM, DACVD, Lindsay McKay. "Making a difference for dogs with atopic dermatitis: When to use Apoquel and when to use Cytopoint." dvm360, UBM, 13 July 2017, Accessed 10 Jan. 2018.

Hauser, Wendy. Interview. 31 Oct. 2017.

Kass, Philip A., et al. "Factors Impacting Care and Cost in SA Medicine." Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, digital ed., vol. 250, no. 7, 1 Apr. 2017.

ONCEPT® Canine Melanoma Vaccine, DNA. 2017, Accessed 10 Jan. 2018.