Tag Archives: cost of treatment

Kindness in the Waiting Room

From the Dog Cancer Blog

Kindness in the Waiting Room

kindness-dog-cancerA beautiful thing happened in my waiting room this week.

It’s pretty common for my oncology clients to chat in the waiting area during their pet’s chemotherapy treatment. This is helpful: new clients hear about the experiences of pets already undergoing treatment. They see happy wagging dogs coming back from treatment, and hear firsthand from the pet Guardian that there really are minimal side effects from chemo. The dog is enjoying his daily activities. The dog is doing so well, the Guardian forgets the pet has cancer.

This week Jack and Mickie were being treated on the same day. Jack is a bull dog with a high grade mast cell tumor (MCT) of this back leg that has metastasized to his sublumbar lymph node under his lower back spine. He was in only for his second vinblastine chemo treatment, and so far has had no side effects. Mickie is a kitty with a recently removed high grade injection site sarcoma. Mickie was also in for her second treatment.

(This blog is really dedicated to dogs, because cats are so physiologically different – but this story happens to be about a dog and a cat, and I have to share it with you, so bear with me.)

Mickie the cat came to me a few months back with a large infected and ulcerated tumor on her left flank. It was oozing pus. The tumor was so large, my surgeon and I knew we would not achieve margins with the surgery. There was no way to get a normal rim of tissue around the tumor, which is critical to prevent recurrence. Typically, four weeks of radiation is recommended for these connective tissue cancers after surgery, similar to the soft tissue sarcomas in dogs. But these tumors also have a higher spread rate, and so chemo is also recommended. As you can imagine, it’s very costly to treat these tumors in cats as they often need all three: surgery, radiation and chemo. Not only that, but I also diagnosed a urinary tract infection in Mickie.

Mickie’s mom could not afford all treatment options. She’s an elderly woman on a fixed income. But she explained to me that Mickie means the world: she belonged to her brother who had passed away.  She had to treat Mickie.

So she got the money together and our surgeon removed the tumor, which was good, because I was concerned the infected tumor could start to affect Mickie’s overall health.  No chemo, and no radiation, even though we all knew it was less than ideal to only do surgery. We didn’t get clean margins, as we feared … and these tumors typically recur in six months without clean margins.

Still, Mickie healed well after the surgery. And then, at the suture recheck appointment, Mickie’s mom surprised us by telling us she wanted to give chemotherapy after all. Paying for treatment would be challenging, but she had to do it for her brother. We reviewed the cost and side effects so she could be prepared. She scheduled the next treatment, but had to delay a week when she needed just a little more time to get the money together.

I love when pet moms want to treat cancer, of course, but I worry when to finances are such a burden.

But Mickie’s mother was determined, and this week found her at Mickie’s chemo appointment just as Jack’s mom came in to pick him up after his treatment. And of course, they chatted. I don’t think they were waiting for too long together, but it was enough time for them to get to know each other’s pet’s story.

This is the part that still brings tears to my eyes.

As Jack’s mom went over her bill with my nurse, she quietly asked to see Mickie’s bill, too. In addition to the chemo that day, and the routine complete blood count (CBC) we ran, there were also some charges for extra blood work and urine tests we ran for her early kidney disease. The bill was almost $700.

Jack’s mom paid for it on the spot. She left with Jack and said a warm goodbye to Mickie’s mom, but didn’t mention her kind deed. My nurse had a hard time keeping her emotions to herself, but she respected Jack’s mother’s wish to keep it quiet and tell Mickie’s mother only in private.

So, I had the privilege of telling Mickie’s mom. We both cried. That was a lot of money for her, and an amazing act of generosity.

Jack’s mother didn’t just help Mickie’s mother. She also helped me, by reminding me that in a world filled with random and inexplicable events like planes that disappear, horrific ferry disasters, devastating tornados, high school stabbings, and loved ones with cancer, there are still moments of generosity and hope.

Live Long, Live Well

Dr. Sue

About the Author: Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology)

Susan Ettinger, DVM. Dip. ACVIM (Oncology) is a veterinarian oncologist at VCA Animal Specialty & Emergency Center in New York, and the co-author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity.

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Need Some Help Affording Veterinary Care?

eagle's nest, raton, trinidad & monarch lake hikes 3.28.15 4

I am always looking for resources to share which help people afford health care for their sick pets. This article from Dog Heirs/Where Dogs Are Family offers a numbers of options, ideas, and suggestions. Check them out. Do you have other suggestions? Please let me know in the comments section of this post.

Resources To Turn To If You Are Having Trouble Affording Veterinary Care For Your Dog

Dhicon_thumb By DogHeirs Team | March 13, 2015 | Comments (1)

If you have a pet there may come a time when you will need to pay for veterinary medical bills, which, depending on the medical emergency or condition, can be astronomical. Pet insurance can certainly help cover some of the costs, if you have it. But there are times when a pet’s medical emergency or illness will exceed your resources. In cases such as these, pet owners may face an agonizing choice.

With this in mind, here are some financial resources and options you can look to for help.

RedRover.org

The RedRover Relief program provides financial and emotional support to Good Samaritans, animal rescuers and pet owners to help them care for animals in life-threatening situations and resources to help victims of domestic violence escape abusive environments with their pets. They also have a program that helps with disaster relief, criminal seizures and hoarding cases.

The Pet Fund

The Pet Fund is a registered 501(c) 3 nonprofit association that provides financial assistance to owners of domestic animals who need veterinary care.

The AAHA Foundation

The benevolent arm of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), the AAHA Foundation offers the AAHA Helping Pets Fund which works with AAHA-accredited veterinary practices to identify pets in need. Accredited practices may then apply for assistance from the Fund for emergency and non-elective treatment of abandoned pets and pets whose owners are facing financial hardship.

IMOM

This all-volunteer 501(c)(3) charity helps people cover vet bills when they just can’t do it themselves. They also help with spay/neuter and have a staff on hand to answer questions or get you the resources you need for any issues with your pet.

Harley’s Hope Foundation

Harley’s Hope offer several services for low-income pet owners, service animals, seniors and short-term foster care.

Brown Dog Foundation

This organization is dedicated to helping families who find themselves in a temporary financial crisis at the same time their pet requires life-saving treatment or life-sustaining medications.

Banfield Charitable Trust

The Banfield Charitable Trust has numerous programs including grants to help with veterinary care, food programs (like Meals on Wheels), helping homebound pet owners and owners in hospice care among others.

Shakespeare Animal Fund

They help elderly, disabled and those whose total income does not exceed the current federal poverty guidelines to obtain emergency pet care. The fund was founded after the loss of a beloved cocker spaniel “Shakespeare”. He died after a very costly illness, and in his memory this fund was founded to help others who might face financial problems while trying to save their pets.

The Onyx & Breezy Foundation

This is a privately run nonprofit started in memory of the founder’s dogs.  This foundation has helped animals in a variety of ways: from spay/neuter programs, to getting dogs on death row out of high-kill shelters, to providing emergency medical care to animals whose owners have fallen on hard times.

Handicapped Pets Foundation

The Handicapped Pets Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation dedicated to the health and well-being of elderly, disabled, and injured pets. They also donate mobility equipment to pets in need.

Credit Cards for Veterinary Care

Since many veterinary hospitals do not take payment plans, getting one of these specialized cards may be a solution if you are not able to afford the whole cost of treatment all at once. Your veterinarian must offer this service, in order for you to use so check with your veterinarian to see which cards are accepted.

Dog-Breed Specific Support

There are many rescue groups and associations that support specific dog breeds. Reach out to your local breed clubs for information on local, state and national groups involved in dog breed-specific veterinary care assistance programs. Examples include groups like CorgiAid, Special Needs Dobermans, LabMed, Pit Bull Rescue Central.
Disease Specific Support

There are groups that help with specific canine diseases such as Canine Cancer Awareness, The Reidel & Cody Fund, The Magic Bullet Fund, Helping Harley Fund, and Muffin Diabetes Fund, The Big Hearts Fund.

Working Dogs / Service Dog Support

There are also special programs for veterinary care assistance for working dogs and service animals, such as Assistance Dogs Special Allowance Program and The Gandalf Fund.

Crowdsource Funding

Try raising your own funds through fundraising platforms like GiveForward, YouCaring.com, GoFundMe, that let you create a personal fundraising page to raise funds for your pet’s medical care. They charge a small percentage of funds raised.

There are many other local groups and rescues that may be able to help, or point you in the right direction for assistance. Many will know of low-cost vet clinics and possible solutions for funds.

Keep in mind the groups listed above are primarily for helping families with emergency medical situations. If you are looking for low cost-spay and neuter and vaccinations, try calling your local animal control or rescue organizations for information. Another good place to check for this information would be with veterinary schools in your city or checking with veterinary associations such as The American Veterinary Medical Association.

Read more at http://www.dogheirs.com/dogheirs/posts/6603-resources-to-turn-to-if-you-are-having-trouble-affording-veterinary-care-for-your-dog#w6kUumiI3xtK1JRs.99

MoseyLove!

Diane, Mose, and Jasper

5.6.15

mosey and me

The Flint Animal Cancer Center

Many of you know Mosey and I went to the Flint Animal Cancer Center for radiation therapy. He was not a candidate for Stereotactic radiosurgery so we opted for a palliative version. (read more here) but the kindness, professionalism and talent of the team there will never be forgotten. I saw this article today and felt it was worth sharing:

1/29/14

by Coleman Cornelius

A family of devoted dog-lovers concerned about cancer has continued a legacy of commitment by pledging $10 million to the Colorado State University Flint Animal Cancer Center, where the momentous gift will nearly double operational funds in support of renowned work to conquer cancer in both animals and people.

Nan and Brett Stuart, Carnation Milk Co. heirs who live in Longmont, Colo., have donated $10 million to the CSU Flint Animal Cancer Center, the worlds largest center focused on treatment and research of cancer in pet animals. They are shown with a bronze sculpture of their father, Hadley Stuart, and center founder Dr. Steve Withrow.

The gift comes from the Hadley and Marion Stuart Foundation, led by siblings Nan and Brett Stuart of Longmont, Colo., and is the single largest contribution in the history of CSU’s Flint Animal Cancer Center. The donation also will complete the funding of two endowed academic chairs.

With their $10 million donation to the CSU Flint Animal Cancer Center, Nan and Brett Stuart continue the legacy of their father, Hadley Stuart, who is depicted in a sculpture at the center.With their $10 million donation to the CSU Flint Animal Cancer Center, Nan and Brett Stuart continue the legacy of their father, Hadley Stuart, who is depicted in a sculpture at the center.

Since 1983, when E. Hadley Stuart first brought one of his golden retrievers to CSU for cancer care, the Stuart family has provided a total of about $22 million for the Animal Cancer Center’s research and clinical treatment of naturally occurring canine cancers. The center has grown to house the world’s largest group of scientists studying cancer in pets, and much of its work suggests new approaches in human cancer treatment.

“This new gift reflects Hadley Stuart’s legacy and the close 30-year relationship we have so greatly appreciated between the Stuart family and the CSU veterinary cancer program,” said Dr. Rodney Page, a medical oncologist and director of the Flint Animal Cancer Center. “This gift will truly sustain our work, and we cannot sufficiently express our gratitude to the Stuart family.”

Dr. Stephen Withrow, an acclaimed surgical oncologist and center founder, often calls the CSU Animal Cancer Center the “House that Hadley Built,” a nod to the seminal support provided by the late Hadley Stuart and his family foundation. Withrow, a University Distinguished Professor, is transitioning to retirement.

The Hadley and Marion Stuart Foundation was established by heirs to the founder of Carnation Milk Products Co., a family dairy turned industry-leading food company best-known for its condensed milk.  The company’s concern about animal well-being was embodied in the promise of “milk from contented cows.” Nestle S.A. acquired Carnation Co. in 1985.

Nan Stuart supports the Cancer Center's 'translational' work, which sheds light on cancer in pets and people.Nan Stuart supports the Cancer Center’s ‘translational’ work, which sheds light on cancer in pets and people.

For Hadley Stuart’s descendants, concern about animal well-being has largely focused on supporting cancer treatment in dogs and the scientific quest for a cancer cure. Cancer is a leading cause of death in both dogs and people, with many similarities between species.

“This level of support sets the cancer center on a sustainable path as a leading innovator in translational cancer research and patient care,” Page said, referring to discoveries in animal cancer that translate to human medicine. “It creates possibilities for pursuing exciting opportunities in cancer care and cancer research in perpetuity.”

The $10 million gift also will add to endowments for the Stephen J. Withrow Presidential Chair in Oncology, which is held by Page, and the Stuart Chair in Oncology, which is held by Withrow. Academic chairs are mechanisms for funding the research laboratories and emerging discovery efforts of eminent faculty members.

During a recent visit to CSU, benefactor Nan Stuart said she and her brother were motivated to donate $10 million to continue their father’s interest in veterinary training, cancer treatment and leading-edge research at the Flint Animal Cancer Center.

Her own interest is personal: One of her beloved golden retrievers, Keester, suffers from brachial neurofibrosarcoma, a malignant nerve sheath tumor off the spinal cord. A CSU team, known to Stuart as “Team Keester,” developed a new radiation protocol and rehabilitation plan that reduces pain for the 8-year-old dog.

This treatment has been essential because Keester and Stuart’s other golden retrievers are active, award-winning service dogs that are highly trained to perform emergency rescues from swift water and ice. Stuart’s dogs have helped to train thousands of emergency responders through Code 3 Associates of Longmont, a nonprofit Stuart founded to provide professional animal disaster response and training.

Dr. Steve Withrow, retiring founder, calls the Cancer Center the 'House that Hadley Built.'

If Keester were completely sedentary, her quality of life would plummet, Stuart said. The Stuart family – whose golden retrievers “are as important to us as food and water” – has had three other dogs treated at the Flint Animal Cancer Center for hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive tumor of the blood vessels, Nan Stuart said. It has provided the family an inside look at the center’s work.

“Our cancer team is the most fantastic group of people imaginable. It’s phenomenal,” Stuart said.

Like her father before her, Stuart said, she wholeheartedly believes in the CSU center’s mission to treat cancer in pets while also pursuing scientific discoveries that hold promise for curing cancer in all species.

For instance, Withrow developed a limb-sparing surgical technique to treat osteosarcoma, a malignant tumor of long bones in dogs. This technique revolutionized osteosarcoma treatment in dogs and has been widely adopted at human cancer centers, significantly increasing the likelihood that children diagnosed with osteosarcoma will be cured. The work demonstrates how canine cancer research has a far-reaching influence on human medicine.

“The best cancer work,” Stuart said, “is right here.”

About the Flint Animal Cancer Center

  • Opened in 2002, the center houses the world’s largest group of scientists studying cancer in pets, with more than 100 faculty clinicians, staff members and veterinary students.
  • The center books about 6,000 appointments per year and provides an additional 3,000 consultations by phone and email.
  • It has trained more surgical, medical and radiation oncologists than any other veterinary institution.
  • Demonstrating the relevancy of its work to human cancer, the CSU Flint Animal Cancer Center has attracted funding from the National Cancer Institute for more than 30 consecutive years. The center collaborates with the NCI and University of Colorado Cancer Center, among others.

For more information, click here.

MoseyLove!

Diane and Mose

2.4.14

Paying for Cancer Treatment

How to pay for my pet's care

I came across this blog post today…full of important information regarding resources to help pay for cancer treatment. The most heartbreaking experience I can imagine is knowing there may be options to cure or slow down the progression but not having the funds to do so. The blogger encouraged us to share the post so here it is in its entirety. Note, this is not specific to Northern New Mexico but can be accessed my anyone. Good Luck!

“Pets are our kids.  We love them and want the best care possible if they get hurt. The best option is pet insurance but sometimes even that isn’t enough.  Ever since I took the Schoep and John photo I get emails from wonderful pet owners who simply cannot afford an unexpected vet bill and need advice on where to look. There are a ton of resources out there, but the problem is finding them when you need them. I’m hoping this is a nice one stop resource for those who need it.

Unexpected medical expenses pop up at the most inopportune (ok – always at inopportune) times.  It’s not a reflection of someone’s character if they’re not able to pay.  Sometimes weird stuff just happens – and it’s usually right on top of a refrigerator breaking, needing new brakes, or something else ridiculously expensive.

If you cannot find a vet who will let you pay later or let you do a payment plan, there are options such as Care Credit  In addition, if you don’t qualify for Care Credit, there are definitely other ways to fund care.

Online Fundraising:

Want to raise all or a portion of your funds through donations?  Many, but not all,  online fundraisers take a small percentage to pay credit card fees, etc.  Make sure you read the fine print.

 Emergency Vet Care Funds:

Grants, food help, etc

State specific:

This list of emergency pet care funds is not guaranteed, nor do I endorse any of the companies/products/organizations/non profits listed.  This list is also not a comprehensive list, and if you know of others, PLEASE list them in the comments below.  I would appreciate it!  I want to help as many people and pets as I can.  I would also love it if you would share this on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or anywhere else you feel people would benefit from the information”

MoseyLove!

Diane & Mose

January 19, 2014

mosey and me

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