Monday, August 24, 2009

Animal ER

So this, let's call it an incident, happened about 2 weeks ago. I meant to write about it earlier, but stuff happens, you get off track, and here we are.

I was at a going away party for a friend of mine who is training to be a vet. Her and all of her friends are what you would call "animal lovers". I put "animal lovers" in quotations because they take that love to a degree that's beyond most people. Not an unhealthly level mind you, just close to what you would see in a PETA officer or something.

My friend and her cohorts were discussing a case in which a dog had cancer and it's owner was putting the dog through chemo therapy.

It was here that I made the ill-advised decision to enter into the conversation with, "They have chemo for dogs?! That's rediculous!"

(Angry stares from around the room)

"Why is that rediculous?" is the reply.

Now normally I would tell them EXACTLY what is rediculous about that story, but a warning look from my girlfriend told me it was best not to do so.

So I took the high road and said, "Well I can see if your pet is your primary companion that would make sense". That is where the sense stops.

What I wanted to mention was how crazy it is for millions of dollars to be spent on research for a therapy and medication that only the top 1% of pet owners could afford. And out of those top 1% not even half of those people would have pets with cancerous malignancies. All this spent on animals when HUMAN cancer research could use it so much more.

Undoubtedly they would've found that to be harsh, but my friend Jeff gave me an even better reason why chemo for dogs was stupid. More wrong than stupid actually.

In chemo for people, they have a choice. With dogs, no choice. The problem there is that chemo therapy is literally a poisoning of the body. You are committing harm intentionally to yourself by undergoing it. With a dog all that he or she understands is that after the therapy it feels sick. It's inhumane. You can't poison a dog against its will, even if the end result might be getting better.

In the end I think the cons outweight the pros but I guess when you are in love with an animal anything goes.

1 comment:

  1. HA! Hey Tony, nice post. Just to play devil's advocate-veterinary medicine actually uses the SAME chemotherapy, and thus the same chemotherapy research that humans use. We're not sucking medical research from human doctors, but rather, helping to develop more case studies and more information about what has been out there for humans for a long time. I'm no expert yet, but it seems that we usually start with the pre-researched human medical knowledge and then do our own research to make sure we know why it works or doesn't work. Remember, too, the incredible value animal health has in our nation's industry. Granted, not lots of feed cattle are getting chemotherapy, but you can see how veterinary research can protect humans from zoonotics, protect the food supply, increase herd health, etc. Second of all, if I remember correctly, the client we were talking about that had her dog on chemo was actually a very contentius client that we all did NOT agree with. I agree with you in that chemo for animals can be extremely inhumane, and I can imagine few instances where it would do more good than harm. Like you said, the pet has no idea that this noxious stuff that makes them feel like crap will actually, potentially, help them. Especially in terminal cases, prolonging the illness by using aggressive treatments is usually only for the benefit of the guardian who is having a hard time letting go of their companion.