When Marie-Ève D’Amours learned that her dog Mistral was diagnosed with lymph node cancer more than a year ago, the blow was hard.
The 37-year-old woman had just lost her mother to cancer after a 13-year battle.
“He’s the dog of my life. He is my companion, he is a member of my family and he follows me everywhere. I do not have children and it’s like a baby for me. It was a shock, “she says.
The Journal met Marie-Ève D’Amours at her residence in Laval. His fair-haired labrador was in good shape and no longer had any treatment sequelae other than an intravenous scar.
His owner did not hesitate to spend nearly $ 9000 to save his dog, even though he was 10 years old. In all, Mistral received 16 chemotherapy treatments over a six-month period until last September.
“We decided to fight”
“Mistral and I, we made a deal, we said minimum 12 years. So, we decided to fight. I thought that as long as he was going to have a quality of life, we would try. And we had great results, “says Marie-Ève D’Amours.
The process has sometimes been a real obstacle course. At first, you had to go to the oncology department of the Laval Veterinary Center every week to take a blood test and receive treatment. There were also medicines to give morning and evening.
“He had his pharmacy,” says Marie-Eve d’Amours. He also had to try a thousand and one tactics to make him want to eat, as he had lost a lot of weight.
But, unlike humans, the side effects are low on animals. Mistral did not lose hair during his chemotherapy and he regained his quality of life.
La Lavalloise does not regret for a second her choice, even if it was expensive. “For me, there was no price for my dog. When you look at the statistics, is it really worth it? Fortunately, I did not have financial constraints, “she says.
Mistral’s life is likely to be lengthened between 12 and 18 months, before the cancer resurfaces. Otherwise, it will be old age that will carry the labrador. Marie-Eve d’Amours already knows she will have another dog, but she anticipates with anxiety the post-Mistral.
“It’s going to be hard, very, very hard,” she says.
From 10 to 15 customers a day
Chemotherapy for pets is popular, although owners are embarrassed to disclose that they are using these treatments.
The oncology veterinarian Maude Touret, who has been practicing at the Laval Veterinary Center for four years, reports that she receives between 10 and 15 clients a day.
“I mostly see dogs and cats. But I already had rabbits, ferrets or birds. Pets are becoming more and more important in families, “she says.
“Some of my clients will feel a bit guilty and do not dare talk about it too much. They are afraid that it is very expensive. And often, their question, it will be to ask if the neighbors will see that their dog is doing chemotherapy, because they do not dare to tell them, “says the veterinarian.
The specialist points out that cancers are quite common in animals.
“About 25% of dogs and cats will be diagnosed with cancer. If they are 10 or older, it falls to 60%, “she says.
She adds that if customers sometimes have insurance, many are looking for economic options and few will spend up to $ 10,000. “My challenge has been to find a solution because it’s very rare for people to spend $ 500 a week. We have other protocols that will prolong life for a shorter time, but which will be less expensive, “explains Maude Touret.