I’ve been having on-going conversations with my sister and several friends, over the past couple of weeks, about the lengths people will go to in caring for a pet. A lot of our conversation has centered around chemo for dogs, driving hours to see vet specialists, and my own 17 year old cocker spaniel, who is getting to the point where we’re having to worry about his quality of life versus our selfish desires to have him with us. The case of Barbaro has been an especially interesting story to follow, in light of these conversations.
How far is too far? The owner’s of this race horse estimate that they probably spent nearly half a million dollars on eight months of medical care for this horse, before finally conceding defeat and having him put to sleep. That’s a lot of money, and while I am, and always have been, crazymad about animals, I have to wonder at the cost – just like I wonder at the literal cost of kitty chemo, and the quality cost of having to carry an old cocker spaniel around because his arthritis prevents him from taking the stairs.
This is an issue we have faced directly, as you know. Aside from pecuniary issues, which are more than relevant, there’s also the issue that aggressive chemotherapy is simultaneously much more an established regimen in humans and is extremely controversial, as an article mentioned on WBB showed just a few days ago. Its efficacy is even less established in canines. So the benefits are quite uncertain in many cases, I think.
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