Photo courtesy of Robert Wright for The New York Times
Here's the good news as relayed in a New York Times front page article just the other day: procedures to treat your pets' medical conditions, ranging from cancer to kidney disease and most every other ailment in between (including canine dementia), have improved dramatically in the last two to three years. Diagnosis and treatments like imaging technology, better drugs, new surgical techniques and holistic approaches like acupuncture, can now be used to both extend your pet's life and/or make him or her more comfortable during their remaining time with us. "What's new is the sheer number of approaches to treat problems that not too long ago, would have meant the end of the line," said one specialist in feline geriatric medicine.
But, as the article questions: at what price? And we're not just talking dollars, although those figures can be exorbitant, like approximately $25,000 for cancer radiation treatments and a bone marrow transplant. We have to try and think of these life saving treatments from our beloved pet's point of view-are they young enough to have a good quality of life-post treatment, provided the treatment is successful? And just because most humans would go through just about any type of treatments to extend our lives, would our beloved dog make the same choice?
Overall, we think these advances are wonderful, because they give us more options, and thus give our pets more options for a longer, fuller life. And there's more good news: "I think the biggest change has been in mindset," said one veterinarian. "We now take an integrative approach. Rather than thinking in terms of a specific medication or procedure, we're talking about following up with physical therapy, pain management, nutrition management...I'm excited to see all the disciplines working together." And so are we!