Reverse the decision to cut off canine cancer patients from chemo drugs

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
December 7, 2016 - 5:00am Updated: December 7, 2016 - 6:26pm

KAMLOOPS — This is Jesse, a much-loved member of our family. Almost a year ago he was diagnosed with lymphoid cancer that would have killed him within a few weeks.

We decided to fight it, and about once a week for five months he received chemotherapy treatments at Riverside Small Animal Hospital.

Today, Jesse is cancer free, healthy and happy, and a year older. But other families won’t be so lucky because Interior Health has decreed that Royal Inland will no longer dispense chemo drugs for canine patients as of the end of this month.

Well Merry Christmas, dog lovers.

The excuse is pretty weak — that a contract with a new supplier prohibits it. I say, change the contract.

Obviously, we have to look after human patients first. If treatment of a single human being was disrupted by dispensing life-saving chemo drugs to dogs, there’d be no question what the decision should be.

But dog owners pay full price for the drugs and treatment. There are no subsidies. The taxpayer isn’t asked for a nickel.

And if IHA is worried about the time spent mixing the drugs for a few canine cancer patients every year, well then — add a surcharge to the dispensing fee.

Dogs improve our quality of life, lower our stress and our heart rate, encourage us to exercise, make us safer, lower depression rates and…. And…. They’re really good at detecting cancer in humans.

Health Minister Terry Lake is on the case, and says there’s a chance the deadline can be extended at least until a couple of canine patients currently in treatment can get through it.

But the decision should be reversed completely. Dogs, our best friends, give us so much, including their unquestioning loyalty and trust.

How can we not do our best to be worthy of that trust, how can we not be willing to give them a chance for more time.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.