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5 Mistakes to avoid when your pet has cancer and how to afford treatment


Jade Poole from I write words


No one ever wants to hear those four words “your pet has cancer”. Not only does this usher in the start of a rather overwhelming journey ahead, but has serious implications both emotionally and financially. However, you can lean on comprehensive pet insurance to help navigate the road ahead.

Cancer is an incredibly devastating diagnosis for any pet owner. And while we all remain in fear of the “big C” it is, unfortunately, a lot more common in pets than you may think. Statistically, cancer is the number one disease-related killer of all pets. Your greatest arsenal in this scenario would, therefore, be eliminating any fear of the unknown. And the best way to do that is with pet insurance.

You aren’t alone

Learning that your pet has cancer is incredibly devastating. And understanding the best treatment plan can be just as confusing and panic-inducing. So, before I introduce you to your partner in pet care (they are an awesome pet insurance company), let’s get you sorted on cancer-knowledge first.

To optimise your pet’s overall care whilst they undergo treatment, there are a few common mistakes that pet owners make. Except you because you’re going to familiarise yourself with this crucial information.

5 things to avoid during pet cancer treatment

Avoid giving your pet unapproved supplements and vitamins

In your (understandable) attempt to help support your pet you may be tempted to give them supplements or medication. And while your intentions are pure, this may derail their treatment progress. Yes, this includes medication that is deemed “natural”. These additional supplements often negatively interact with the chemotherapy and will harm your pet’s system.

So, before you go crushing calcium and putting it into your pet’s food, please make sure to check with your vet. Speak to their oncologist too! They will happily advise you on how best to proceed and which supplements and/or medication is okay for your fur baby to take.

Keep the feeding to a minimum

Most pets tend to show a lack of appetite when they are on treatment. This is a natural response to the prescribed medication. In these cases, your vet may increase their dietary needs in order to compensate.

HOWEVER, with that being said, if your pet’s appetite remains unaffected do not be tempted to overfeed them. I know, they’re weak and vulnerable and all you want to do is provide them with treats. However, overeating has serious effects on their treatment plan. Allowing your pet to overindulge could lead to other health problems at the same time. This will reduce your pet’s quality of life.

So as much as you’ll want to give them calorie-rich, delicious comfort foods, perhaps cuddles will be best in this scenario.

Skip out on the dog park visits

Okay, your strategy may be to distract your dog with open lawns and dogs to randomly sniff but heading to the park isn’t the best idea. When your pet is undergoing chemotherapy, they will have a significant drop in their white blood cells.

Now I won’t bore you with a biology lesson here, but essentially your pets immune system has been compromised and they won't be able to fight off any diseases or infections that they encounter at the park.

With a low immune defence system, it’s best to take your dog out. Rather opt for walks around the garden where they are in a safe environment.

Get ready for the fight

Putting your pet through chemotherapy can be a contentious topic. You have the one side that claims that it is traumatizing to the animal and others that deem it necessary. And so, if you find yourself in the latter half of the debate – just know that you aren’t alone.

Find reassurance knowing that many pet owners and pets have walked this very path and have walked out happy and cured. If you and your pet are up for the fight, know that there is an entire community ready to help you and your fur baby get through this.

Talk to your vet. A lot.

You’re going to have to perk up your ears for this one because it is CRUCIAL. Speak to your vet and ask as many questions as humanly possible. Knowledge is power and your vet is your greatest source of information. They will also be able to subside some of your worries and help guide you through the entire process.

Remember that no question is too stupid or insignificant. Especially when it comes to your family. Ask away! That’s why they’re there – to help you. So, let them!

Tap here to find out about how you can get out of paying for your vet fees!

Looking at the costs of cancer treatment

Now, this is another uphill battle in and of itself. The costs associated with cancer treatment are exorbitant. Here’s something to put things into perspective: a procedure to remove a cancerous lump can set you back between R5 000 and R7 000. Oh, and that isn’t inclusive of the additional treatment fees or the medication.

But before you begin panicking, there is a company that is there to cover the costs. Yes, you literally can skip out on this bill and focus on spending quality time with your pet.

Oneplan pet insurance

If you are familiar with any of my blogs, you will know that I am a huge fan of Oneplan. And for good reason too. They have removed the headache associated with pet insurance. They’ve kept it simple, clean and efficient, and I think you’re going to love it.

Cancer coverage

If you have one of the 3 below plans with them, then they will cover cancer treatment costs for your pet:

  1. Pet Hospital Plan
  2. Pet Classic Plan
  3. Pet Super Plan

Cancer coverage has a 12-month waiting period that applies. During this time, you cannot claim for any costs related to cancer treatment during this waiting period. During this period of time, you can however still claim for any other event that is unrelated to your pet’s cancer.

Example of cancer coverage

If you are anything like me, you’re more of a visual interpreter. Let’s paint a picture of how this coverage will work, just so that you fully understand.

If your pet is diagnosed with cancer in month 5 of your policy (meaning you have had your policy for 5 months of successful premiums), they will only cover any costs incurred after the 12 months has passed, i.e. 7 more months of waiting.

If your pet is diagnosed with cancer 3 years into your policy, it’s covered there and then.

Additional Oneplan perks

Do you remember when I said that you weren’t alone during this journey? Well, Oneplan really means it. And they’re always ready to prove it to you. Here’s how they’re going to be by your side during your time of need:

  1. They cover pre-existing, hereditary and congenital conditions after a 12-month waiting period
  2. They let you go to any vet of your choice, meaning you are not limited to a specified network of vets
  3. Routine care plus benefit are included. Plus, you can double your routine care benefits too
  4. Their excess buster is an add-on product that helps cover the excess charged by Oneplan for a claim


Reach out to their team so you can feel supported, catered to and assisted during this time – because you and your pet deserve it.

Until next time,

The Pet Insurance team

Their excess buster is an add-on product that helps cover the excess charged by Oneplan for a claim

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