How Much Does Dog Tumor Removal Cost?

Written by: Staff

Removing a dog’s tumor is very similar to the process used to remove a tumor with a human.

Even though a tumor is not necessarily cancer, it can be a sign of cancer or may lead to it.  Whether it is cancerous or not, the tumor may need to be removed for a number of reasons.  There are two types of tumors: benign and malignant.  If it benign, then it is not cancerous; on the other hand, if the tumor is found to be malignant, it will need to be examined and treated for possible underlying metastasis.

Both types of tumors can be removed via surgery, but the main difference is the timing of the surgery.  Because benign tumors do not grow as fast, the surgery is not an immediate necessity.  However, malignant tumors can grow quickly and can spread to other parts of the body and will, therefore, need to be removed as soon as possible.

Sad Dog by rubixcom, on Flickr
Sad Dog” (CC BY 2.0) by rubixcom

How much does it cost to remove a tumor from a dog?

The cost of removing a dog’s tumor will depend on the surgery, the complexity of the procedure, the surgeon you choose and where you live.  A simple skin tumor can cost anywhere from $150 to $400, whereas a complex internal tumor surgical procedure can cost anywhere from $1,000 to more than $2,300.  This won’t include the pre-op tests such as an x-ray, ultrasound and/or bloodwork.  The total, when all of the tests and visits are factored in, can total $400 to $3,000+

An eyelid tumor, for example, is a common tumor found among dogs.  The surgery itself is relatively straightforward and can cost anywhere from $300 to $600 when you factor in all of the vet visits, the pre-op blood work and anesthesia.  An ear and mouth tumor can be within the same range as well.

Another common tumor, a mammary tumor, can cost anywhere from as little as $1,000 to more than $12,000.  This will depend on the severity of the tumor and where you live.

Embrace Pet Insurance says removing a mast cell tumor can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000, depending on the grade of the tumor and the stage of the disease.  If radiation therapy is recommended, then the costs can increase to $4,000 to more than $10,000 or so.

Removing a dog’s tumor overview

For any lump or suspected cell, a vet will first want to determine how far the cancer has progressed if the cell were malignant.  To do this, the vet will remove a few cells via a needle and will send it off to a lab for diagnosis.  These results, once received by the vet’s office, will let them know which “stage” the cancer is at.  With this information, your vet will then decide on the appropriate course of action and how much tissue will need to be removed in order to prevent it from spreading.

During the surgical process, the vet will inject a pain relief to prepare for an anesthetic, which will be injected via a catheter inside your dog’s leg and will be maintained via a gas supplied through a tube that’s inserted through the dog’s windpipe.  The area where the tumor is located will then be prepped and an incision will be created to gain access and remove the underlying tumor and surrounding tissue if necessary.  The incision will then be closed with sutures.

With the tissue that was removed, it will then be sent away to a lab for analysis.  These findings will then confirm what kind of tumor was present and if enough tissue was removed to assume the cancer has been eliminated.

The success, according to Vetary, will depend on the type of tumor, how early it was caught, the accessibility and how much tissue was removed.

After the surgery, the average recovery time, depending on the extensivity of the surgery, can be anywhere from 10 to 21 days.  During this time, your dog will have to wear a cone to prevent them from licking the area that was dressed.

What are the extra costs?

Before a tumor is even removed, a vet will want to run blood work to confirm the size of the tumor and confirm if it needs to be removed.  This blood work, if your dog were to need surgery, will also help the vet know your dog’s underlying health and whether your dog will be healthy enough for an anesthetic.  This blood test can cost $50 to $100.  X-rays may be needed also, which can cost another $100 to $200.

Pain medication will be needed after the surgery for a few weeks until your dog heals.  Budget at least $50 for a full supply.

Follow-up appointments will be necessary for the future to make sure the lump didn’t come back.

Tips to know

Never ignore a lump in the hopes it will go away as waiting can make the matters even worse in the future.

The surgery can range anywhere from something straightforward to a tricky situation.  In some circumstances, if the dog were to require a complex surgery, would need to be in great health to go under the knife.  If your dog were in poor health and the cancer has been spreading fast, then your vet may not recommend the surgery at all.

How can I save money?

If you can’t afford the payment in full, talk with the vet’s office to see if they offer any financing options.

Research your local area to see if there are any charity groups that may be able to shoulder part of your expenses.  These charity groups can often help those who meet certain income requirements.

Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion, especially if it’s with a board certified specialist.  A specialist can often remove more tissue the first time, preventing the need for a second surgery.

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Average Reported Cost: $1010

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Less Expensive $1 $1.5K $3K $5K $6.5K More Expensive $8k

How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. Me (Denton,  tx) paid $530 and said:

    I tied off my dogs eyelid tumor and it fell off within 2 days. It looks like it was never there. I saw plenty of people online who said not to use this method for various reasons but if this is what they do for newborn babies born with an extra finger it must be safe for my dog. Vet was going to charge $500 for surgical removal and said the tumor would probably come back.

    Was it worth it? Yes

  2. Newel (Granger,  Indiana) paid $1400 and said:

    Hoping they got it all and in time

    Was it worth it? Yes

  3. Bentley (Mount Juliet,  TN) paid $2000 and said:

    Liver tumor removal. $2000 in pre work for ultrasound etc.

    Was it worth it? Yes

  4. Deedee (Palm Coast ,  Florida) paid $500 and said:

    Another vet in town 1400-1800

    Was it worth it? Yes

  5. RJ (seattle,  Washington) paid $620 and said:

    I was pleased with the cost and the procedure that was done. The costs was for the removal of four growths.

    Was it worth it? Yes

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