Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in cats and dogs, which is why organizations like the National Canine Cancer Foundation have set aside the entire month of November to educate pet parents about the causes, effects, and treatments of this terrible disease.
SOBERING PET CANCER STATISTICS
- 12 million cats and dogs are diagnosed with cancer every year
- 1 out of every 4 dogs will be diagnosed with cancer
- 1 in 5 cats will get cancer
- Half of all dogs diagnosed will die from cancer
- Dogs are 2x more likely to develop leukemia than humans, 4x more likely to develop breast cancer, 8x more likely to develop bone cancer, and 35x more likely to develop skin cancer
Like so many others of you I’ve dealt with canine cancer. My beloved Lab Murphy was diagnosed back in 1999 at the age of 11. She competed and earned titles in obedience, agility and her favorite thing of all, AKC Hunt Tests, She’d never been seriously ill or injured, was in great shape, led an active life and this came as a huge surprise. After consulting at length with my vet I chose not to put here through surgery, chemo or radiation. My decision was to give her the best life possible in the time she had left and accept the end when it came. Murphy, her ‘sister’ Cecil and I kept up our activities for the next year and a half. On her final day Murph spent the afternoon doing triple water retrieves from the dog dock at a nearby dog park. That evening she was in great distress and I rushed her to the vet where the final decision was made. Some may differ, but I stand by my decision, based in great part on her age at the time of diagnosis. Murph’s final time was a happy one, and I hope the one she would have chosen for herself.
Had Murphy been a young dog I’m sure my choice would have been different, and that brings me to the topic of cost. According to CostHelper, here are the costs of treating cancer in dogs:
- Costs vary widely, depending on the type and stage of cancer, the number of treatments needed and the age and condition of the dog.
- The initial visit, including diagnosis, discussion of prognosis and a treatment plan likely will cost $200 and up, depending on the location of the cancer, according to The National Canine Cancer Foundation.
- Major surgery to remove a tumor deep in the body, or that requires reconstruction, usually starts at about$1,500.
- Chemotherapy depends on the size of the dog, and usually ranges from $200 to $2,000 and up, for three to six months of treatment.
- Radiation therapy usually ranges from $2,000 to $6,000.
- The treatment combination depends on the type of cancer. For lymphoma, the most common type of cancer in dogs, treatment usually consists of only chemotherapy. The average claim amount submitted to Veterinary Pet Insurance for lymphoma is $479. Mast cell tumors usually are treated with only surgery, and sometimes radiation or chemotherapy, depending on the stage, and have an average claim amount of$604. Osteosarcoma is sometimes treated with amputation surgery and almost always with chemotherapy, with an average claim amount of $446.
These seem on the low side to me, based on what I’ve read from dog parents currently battling the disease. For example, according to a recent post, for Benny of Two French Bulldogs, who sadly lost his battle with liver cancer, the costs came to $18,622.05. What’s a loving pet parent to do? Do we make our choice of treatment based on dollars? I recently wrote about the sacrifices pet parents are making when faced with skyrocketing vet bills. Sometimes sacrifice is not enough…is there anywhere those folks can turn to for help?
Luckily the answer is yes. There are groups that can and will help. One is Paws 4 a Cure.
The mission of Paws 4 A Cure is to provide financial assistance for canine and feline owners who cannot afford veterinary care for their beloved furry family members otherwise. I recently met Keri Goldman, President & Founder of Paws 4 a Cure and was impressed with her compassion and dedication. Keri started the organization in loving memory of her Chow Chow, Nikko, that went to the Rainbow Bridge on April 2, 2007 after bravely battling cancer. Nikko inspired her to form a group of like-minded individuals to assist other animals in need of veterinary care when their parents can not afford treatment. The group is entirely supported by donations. Keri and her volunteers tirelessly travel the country educating people about cancer in pets and raising funds to further their mission. Take time to visit their website and consider making a donation, and don’t hesitate to apply for assistance if you are in need.
Another place to turn for help is The Dog and Cat Cancer Fund, an initiative of Zuke’s Pet Treats. The Dog & Cat Cancer Fund helps fight canine and feline cancer by working directly with veterinarians to help needy families get treatment for their cats and dogs suffering from cancer. The Fund offers grants to help scientists conduct research into the next generation of life saving treatments. They promote prevention by raising awareness, understanding the risk factors, and encouraging early testing for canine and feline cancer.Please take a moment to Meet the Pets the Fund has helped and remember that for every bag of Zuke’s Treats you buy a donation is made to the Fund. You can click here to view my video interview where Sarah Julian talks about this great program and how you can help #FueltheLove with Zuke’s.
Zuke’s is asking for your help with the new #FuelTheLove campaign. All you need to do is upload a video or picture of your pup “in action and loving life” to Twitter or Instagram, tag it with @ZukesPets and #FuelTheLove and they’ll donate $5 to the Dog and Cat Cancer Fund! http://ow.ly/qpmYQ
Finally, this November, PetCareRx is teaming up with the National Canine Cancer Foundation to spread the word about National Pet Cancer Awareness Month. You can easily join their effort to raise $5,000 for the National Canine Cancer Foundation. For every Facebook page LIKE they receive, PetCareRX will donate 50 cents to the Foundation.
Today is the innaugeral “Give Cancer the Paw” blog hop, a quarterly event hosted by Peggy’s Pet Place and Pooch Smooches. I hope you’ve this post found this helpful and that you’ll join us in the hop. You can write about whatever pet-cancer-related topic you want: a tribute, info on treatments or research, a cancer walk you participated in, or a support post for a furry family member or fuzzy friend.
I believe this information is important enough to keep sharing so I’m linking up with the FitDog Friday blog hop hosted by Slim Doggy