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Thread: what's reasonable level of intervetion for pet with cancer?

  1. #11
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    After many routine tests ($700), an x-ray showed that our 10 year old dog's lungs were full of tumors. We considered (made an appointment) taking her to cancer specialist with an initial cost of $2000 and treatment up to $8000 with little chance of extending her life beyond a month or 2. After much thought, we cancelled the appointment, took her home, cried, lost her, cried some more, mourned, accepted it and vowed never to get another dog. After some time had passed we got a puppy.

  2. #12
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    I love my cats and have had many over the 40 years. I will not do costly aggressive treatment as the poor pet has not idea why we are doing this for them. They live in the moment and quality of life is very important. We also both worked and were not available to be with the pet to ensure emergencies were handled.

    One of our current cats has a chronic sinus infection. They wanted us to spend $3,000 to diagnose (only) what the potential problem could be. I went to a third vet and told him the story and asked for research and creativity. The cat is now on a human medicine that is working so long as he continues to receive it. We did consider euthanasia when he lost 20% of his weight due to being sick and was so miserable. But the drug helped, he started eating and is much happier. So we will continue until.....

    But the $3,000 was crazy.

  3. #13
    Senior Member jennipurrr's Avatar
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    I'm so sorry to hear about your dog. My lab had cancer when he was six years old. The vet was not sure what it was at the time as it was showing as a huge blockage on the x-ray. At that point we thought it could be anything, even that he hate a chunk of Styrofoam. He had surgery and it was his spleen, and they knew it was cancer. My husband and I were very split on the chemo. It seemed like it was incredibly expensive, extend his life just a bit, and he likely would suffer through it. Then they figured out quickly the cancer had metastasized and so there was no option for chemo. The surgery cost us about $1,000 and I do not regret that because there was a very real possibility he would be healthy afterwards and live out a normal doggie life, and he was a fairly young dog at the time. I am not big on most life saving measures for elderly in general, no matter what the species.

  4. #14
    Senior Member cdttmm's Avatar
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    My first cattle dog had three bouts of cancer and we chose to treat him each time. The first time he had a cancerous tumor on his upper gum. We had it removed along with a piece of his jaw in order to prevent it from returning. He made a complete recovery, this was when he was 9 years old. Th second time he had cancer it was a soft tissue cancer in his right front leg. An aggressive tumor that could not be entirely removed with surgery. Instead of chemo or radiation, which were not guaranteed to result in complete remission, we chose to have his leg amputated at the shoulder. He made a complete recovery and lived happily as a three-legged dog for the remainder of his life. He was nearly 14 years old when he had his leg amputated. At age 17, he was diagnosed with lymphoma. We opted for chemotherapy. He was a happy dog throughout his chemo treatments, never seeming to experience any negative side effects. His cancer went into complete remission for a short period of time. When it did return, our vet advised us that we could try a different protocol, but that it was unlikely to make a difference. When it was obvious that his quality of life was deteriorating we put him to sleep. He was nearly 18 years old. I could go back and calculate how much we spent on these various treatments, but it doesn't really matter. He was worth every penny and more.
    The brain is wider than the sky. -- Emily Dickinson

  5. #15
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    I have always spent too much in vet bills that did nothing but torture elderly pets instead of letting them pass peacefully. At eleven I would pay for pain medication and make your pet's last days as happy and as pleasant as possible.

    With the last two pets DH and the kids always talked me into going for the medical heroics. Last time a vet tech took me aside when the vet wasn't there and said not to put my very elderly pet through this. His chance of living more than a few months at his age were zero. She let me know that basically the vet was just recommending things that were racking up the bills. The tech was the one with my pets best interest at heart and I followed her advice.

  6. #16
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    Interesting and timely question for me. My dog was limping and in pain and after $900+ for tests and X-rays it was determined that he needed knee surgery for a torn ligament. They couldn't repair it, but could knot sutures around my dog's bones to keep the leg together. The surgery was $3,200 and counting post surgery. He's on bed rest for a month.

    My Superdog, Zoozoo is a 12 year old Shih Tzu and I gladly forked over the cash. Had it been for cancer and chemo I wouldn't have done it. I would have kept him comfortable and pain free until the end but that's it.

    Him being healthy otherwise, we went ahead with the surgery. He is our Superdog and I owed him a debt of gratitude for his constant companionship to my father as he lay dying. He never left his side and would refuse to leave Dad's side in his last days. He was remarkable.

  7. #17
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    My first beloved bulldog got mast cell tumors at age 5 or 6. I treated it with surgeries (3 of them) and later chemo for many months for a cost of $5,000. The money didn't matter, but I am now very sorry that I put her through those surgeries.

    Since she didn't seem to mind the chemo, though, so I don't regret that. But I would not do it again for another dog.

    And I wouldn't do it on a 10 year old lab. Mast cell cancers are common in labs and bull breeds.

  8. #18
    Senior Member CathyA's Avatar
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    sunnyjoe..........you're probably realizing now that its a totally personal decision. What has worked for some here, hasn't worked for others.
    I wish you the best in what you decide. Its a very difficult position to be in.

  9. #19
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    Thank you everyone for so many insights. I think I got caught up in "we can fix this" and didn't figure in the stresses it would cause. Not to mantion that at this stage "fixing" it is unlikely to buy much time. Fortunately my husband and I are on the same page about this. We will go forward with pain control and keeping him as comfortable and happy as possible. Right now Gil has a great appetite and a waggy tail

    For us the cost wasn't the primary limitation (years of simple living!) which made it a little more complicated. Even being able to afford heroics I don't think they are the right answer for us this time.

    Paws let me know he was one of six in his litter. All with "G" names and all presumably in service of some sort. I wish I could see where his sibs ended up!

  10. #20
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunnyjoe View Post
    Thank you everyone for so many insights. I think I got caught up in "we can fix this" and didn't figure in the stresses it would cause. Not to mantion that at this stage "fixing" it is unlikely to buy much time. Fortunately my husband and I are on the same page about this. We will go forward with pain control and keeping him as comfortable and happy as possible. Right now Gil has a great appetite and a waggy tail

    For us the cost wasn't the primary limitation (years of simple living!) which made it a little more complicated. Even being able to afford heroics I don't think they are the right answer for us this time.

    Paws let me know he was one of six in his litter. All with "G" names and all presumably in service of some sort. I wish I could see where his sibs ended up!
    That sounds like the right solution for you and this dog.

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