Would You Pay Thousands For Your Dog’s Lifesaving Treatment?

This article asks a question too often overlooked by future pet owners: If your dog urgently needed an expensive operation or treatment, what would you do?

‘Pittsburg resident Jeff Dullum learned several weeks ago that his pet, Slate, an 8-year-old American Staffordshire terrier, had lymphoma. The treatment was brutally expensive, and Dullum was told he had to make a decision fast: He could bankrupt himself or let his dog die.

“It was a small window. I had a week,” Dullum said. “In that week, I started looking for help: I can’t sink a ship to save a lifeboat. I have to make sure that I can still live too.”

The illness was a startling discovery. Normally, Slate “exemplifies health,” Dullum said. “I’ve seen him jump a 6-foot-fence.” When Slate’s appetite seemed to dwindle, Dullum checked his dog’s lymph nodes and found them swollen, prompting a visit to the vet and, of course, the bad news…

…”Having another life that you’re responsible for, that you have to take care of … To be in a position where you think you might fail that, for me that’s unacceptable,” Dullum said.

Miraculously, the treatment — now in its fourth week, with help from the fund — turned Slate right around.’

A few points in the article need correction:

First, a dog with lymphoma and most other cancers is never ‘cured’. At most, a dog would be considered to be in remission with the cancer’s progress delayed.

Second, dogs do suffer painful side-effects from chemotherapy. This includes vomiting, loss of appetite and more subtle things – like weakened infection-fighting ability.

Nevertheless this article asks very important questions often not considered by new pet owners.

As a health professional I can only give options – not tell people what to do. I will say this though: Jeff Dullum may be a lot poorer after treating his dog ‘s cancer but I bet he sleeps soundly at night.

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About Dr Vadim Chelom

Dr Vadim Chelom is a Registered Veterinarian, a writer and an educator

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