Letters

Letters 10-20-2014

Doctor Dan? After several email conversations with Rep. Benishek, he has confirmed that he doesn’t have a clue of what he does. Here’s why...

In Favor Of Our Parks [Traverse] City Proposal 1 is a creative way to improve our city parks without using our tax dollars. By using a small portion of our oil and gas royalties from the Brown Bridge Trust Fund, our parks can be improved for our children and grandchildren.

From January 1970 Popular Mechanics: “Drastic climate changes will occur within the next 50 years if the use of fossil fuels keeps rising at current rates.” That warning comes from Eugene K. Peterson of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.

Newcomers Might Leave: Recently we had guests from India who came over as students with the plan to stay in America. He has a master’s degree in engineering and she is doing her residency in Chicago and plans to specialize in oncology. They talked very candidly about American politics and said that after observing...

Someone Is You: On Sept 21, I joined the 400,000 who took to the streets of New York in the People’s Climate March, followed by a UN Climate Summit and many speeches. On October 13, the Pentagon issued a report calling climate change a significant threat to national security requiring immediate action. How do we move from marches, speeches and reports to meaningful work on this problem? In NYC I read a sign with a simple answer...

Necessary To Pay: Last fall, Grand Traverse voters authorized a new tax to fix roads. It is good, it is necessary.

The Real Reasons for Wolf Hunt: I have really been surprised that no one has been commenting on the true reason for the wolf hunt. All this effort has not been expended so 23 wolves can be killed each year. Instead this manufactured controversy about the wolf hunt has been very carefully crafted to get Proposal 14-2 passed.

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

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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