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Letters 07-25-2016

Remember Bush-Cheney Does anyone remember George W. Bush and Dick Cheney? They were president and vice president a mere eight years ago. Does anyone out there remember the way things were at the end of their duo? It was terrible...

Mass Shootings And Gun Control The largest mass shooting in U.S. history occurred December 29,1890, when 297 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee in South Dakota were murdered by federal agents and members of the 7th Cavalry who had come to confiscate their firearms “for their own safety and protection.” The slaughter began after the majority of the Sioux had peacefully turned in their firearms...

Families Need Representation When one party dominates the Michigan administration and legislature, half of Michigan families are not represented on the important issues that face our state. When a policy affects the non-voting K-12 students, they too are left out, especially when it comes to graduation requirements...

Raise The Minimum Wage I wanted to offer a different perspective on the issue of raising the minimum wage. The argument that raising the minimum wage will result in job loss is a bogus scare tactic. The need for labor will not change, just the cost of it, which will be passed on to the consumer, as it always has...

Make Cherryland Respect Renewable Cherryland Electric is about to change their net metering policy. In a nutshell, they want to buy the electricity from those of us who produce clean renewable electric at a rate far below the rate they buy electricity from other sources. They believe very few people have an interest in renewable energy...

Settled Science Climate change science is based on the accumulated evidence gained from studying the greenhouse effect for 200 years. The greenhouse effect keeps our planet 50 degrees warmer due to heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere. Basic principles of physics and chemistry dictate that Earth will warm as concentrations of greenhouse gases increase...

Home · Articles · News · Features · When a Pet has Cancer...
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When a Pet has Cancer...

Bay Area Pet Hospital offers chemotherapy

Erin Crowell - October 21st, 2013  

Several years ago, Jason Allen had combed the state for a Doberman pinscher, eventually turning his search to a breeder in Dearborn who sold rottweilers, a medium to large breed that is very loyal and protective.

“When I first saw Savannah, she was in a pen in a fenced-in yard and was playing on her back, yipping and yapping. I told the owner, ‘I want her,’” said Allen. “I picked her up, and from that point on she’s been my dog.”

Once a week, the Traverse City resident grooms and bathes the nine-year-old Savannah who—like most of us pet owners believe—is not just a dog, but a beloved family member.

JUST ANOTHER SWIM

In June 2012, Allen took Savannah swimming for her birthday when he discovered the lumps underneath her chin.

“I took her to the vet and low and behold, it was a form of cancer,” said Allen, who immediately wanted a second opinion about the swollen lymph node which was caused by a cancer also found in humans, lymphoma.

Cancer effects one in every three dogs, according to the National Canine Cancer Foundation.

The first veterinarian, located in Benzie County, had informed Allen there were treatment options available – one being Prednisone, a steroid that reduces inflammation and suppresses the immune system.

“But she said that would basically just block the cancer for a couple of months more or less,” he said.

The other option was chemotherapy treatment, which meant several costly trips downstate.

“At first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do anything because of the cost of traveling so far,” he said.

Meanwhile, the lumps on Savannah’s chin had turned to major swelling; and the usual playful, ball-fetching rott became lethargic and could barely eat.

“I am not kidding when I say (her head) was twice its normal size,” Allen said of a breed that already typically has a larger cranium. “I just didn’t realize her face could stretch that much.”

A SECOND OPINION

Allen sought a second opinion from Dr. Dana Navidonski of Bay Area Pet Hospital. Navidonski, who specializes in soft tissue medicine, confirmed the lymphoma but offered Allen a light at the end of seemingly dark tunnel.

Navidonski, who works closely with an oncologist, said Savannah could be treated right here in Traverse City.

“For Savannah, she had what’s called a Modified Wisconsin Protocol, which is a 24-week treatment using a combination of medications aimed specifically at lymphoma,” said Navidonski.

While many humans who undergo chemotherapy experience great fatigue along with loss of appetite and hair, pets are treated with a method that helps to avoid nausea and weakness that comes with aggressive chemotherapy.

“We want owners to recognize that through chemo, we are trying to increase their pets’ quality, as well as quantity of life,” Navidonski explained. “The chances of cancer completely going away is low, but we can increase both quality and quantity of life.”

Most pets do not lose their fur (unless they are breeds with continuous fur growth such as a poodle or Shih Tzu) and maintain a similar or improved amount of energy.

Since her three years at Bay Area Pet Hospital, Navidonski has used chemotherapy on a handful of pets, with varying results depending on the cancer, she said.

ROAD TO RECOVERY

Allen said the treatment cost him around $3,800 from start to finish, with twice weekly visits to the hospital the first month.

“It wasn’t extremely hard to pay,” said Allen, who works as a condo engineer for Grand Traverse Resort & Spa. “You just live a bit more frugal for the time and give up certain luxuries.”

Doing, so, Allen said, is one of the best decisions he’s made and encourages others to look into the option if their own pets are facing cancer.

“I don’t have any kids and she’s the only dog I have,” he said. “She’s loyal, obedient and smart and I just couldn’t see her dying from that dreaded disease. I’ve always called her an angel in a fur coat.”

Today, Savannah is in remission and is back to playing ball, going for walks with her owner and going for swims in the lakes.

Bay Area Pet Hospital has two locations:

844 E. Front St. in Traverse City and 5415 U.S. 31 in Acme. For more information on cancer treatment options and other veterinary services, visit bayareapethospitals.com.

 
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