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Chemo for pets

Updated: Wednesday, November 27 2013, 07:44 AM CST
For some pet owners, your furry companion is more than just man's best friend, they're a part of the family.

But how far are you willing to go to save your pet?

Channel Three's Jenise Fernandez shows us why some pet owners are using human procedures to treat their animals.
Meet six-year-old, Brody, a white boxer who loves to play and take long walks.
For his owner, Laura Lewis, he's not just a pup, but a part of the family.

"He loves to play, loves to jump, loves to lick."

Last year, Lewis noticed two tumors on his leg.
They were mast cells, a common type of cancer for boxers.
She went to different vets in the area, all telling her the only way to treat it would be to amputate his leg.

"Which wasn't something I really wanted to do. so when I talked to Dr. Hall, she gave me a different option"

Dr. Laura Hall at East Hill Animal Hospital has been giving chemotherapy to pets since the hospital first opened in 2002.
Whenever she sees a patient with cancer, she will first diagnose the problem, then consult with an oncologist at Auburn University.
From there, they develop a treatment plan for the four-legged patient.
You really can't find this treatment around every corner.

Dr Hall:
"I have really taken a liking to it, I'm comfortable with it. I'm well-versed, I have a good relationship with the oncologist at auburn so we communicate very often."

Jenise Fernandez
"Since every cancer is different, so is the treatment. in Brody's case, he went through 19 weeks of chemotherapy."

And it's the same chemotherapy you'd give to a person.
The dog, or cat, gets hooked up to an IV and receives the medicine.
The side effects are minimal.

Dr. Hall:
"Animals do not lose their hair. And typically, other medications are part of the protocol that make them feel very good."

The price tag for this can be anywhere between two-thousand and three-thousand dollars.
Because of the cost, it's not very popular.
Dr. Hall treats about three patients a year.
But she says it's extremely effective.
Today, Brody is as active as ever.
He's cancer free and on his way to living a long a healthy life.
"I'm very glad that I was able to do this. I don't even know if you'd be able to do this everywhere. but luckily Dr. Hall had the treatments here and  was well aware of what had to be done"

Dr. Hall:
"Everything looks great. there's no sign of regrowth. the chemotherapy saved his basically saved his leg"

In Escambia County, Jenise Fernandez, Channel Three News.

Chemo for pets

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