Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

How Much is Enough Vet Care

Here is a thought provoking article in the Times about advances in vet care, and whether it's all worth it for the animals involved. Is it fair to put Fluffy through chemotherapy just to keep her alive for another year or two?

Anything owners can get, their pets can get too. Vets now see a need for a national animal blood bank; and a company called PetScreen is marketing a commercial kit to screen dogs for lymphoma cancer.

In the States, needless to say, the medicalisation of pet care is even more – and I hesitate to use the word – advanced. There, vets perform CPR on dead animals; fit braces on their teeth, carry out cosmetic operations to improve their looks and, in one case earlier this year, actually did a £30,000 stem cell transplant on a cancerous golden retriever called Comet. And yes, it was successful. The gentle Comet is now eating his biscuits and waiting to die of something else.

It can be an agonizing decision. When our cat Charotte got pyothorax, we knew it would cost thousands of dollars, but also that it was a bacterial infection with a good chance of being knocked down. It's easy to call someone crazy for spending thousands on a cat, but when it's your companion, you feel like a monster putting a monetary value on an animal that looks up at you each day. If it was cancer, the decision might have been different. A heart condition? Who knows?

It's been a while now, and Charlotte is doing great. It's definitely been worth it. Happy Holidays!

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