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Pet care in a recession

January 28, 2009 3:15:33 PM PST
In tight economic times, people are cutting costs wherever they can. And for some households, that sadly includes pets. But rather than saying goodbye to Fido, there is help.

We've reported on how shelters in our area are filling up because people can't afford their homes, let alone their pets. And many pet owners might find themselves opting out of medical care for their pets as another way to save money. But there's help out there for those in a bind.

Malignant melanoma was English cocker spaniel Tessa's diagnosis and her owner, Ana Marganska, immediately sought help.

Two surgeries and lots of medications resulted in big bills. Fortunately, Ana qualified for what is called the Buddy Fund offered at the Animal Medical Center.

Dr. Ann Hohenhaus says there are a number of programs that can help pet owners in hard times, including one for seniors.

Last week, a cat named Angie was brought in with a tumor. Her owner, Sybil Landau, is on a fixed income and doesn't have much to spare.

"There just is no money anymore," she said. "The money I had is not worth very much."

So she and the doctor worked out a more affordable treatment option - a course of chemotherapy pills. And fortunately, it's working.

Sometimes, it's just a matter of finding a creative and financially sound approach.

"We're able to make this cat better by doing a little less treatment than we would normally do," Dr. Hohenhaus said.

For Tessa's cancer, the treatment was aggressive. And so were the bills, totaling $7,000. But $1,500 of that was offset by the Buddy Fund, a real treat for Ana when it came to saving her own buddy's life.

"It was such a great relief," she said. "I just didn't know what I would have done. It was amazing."

The Animal Medical Center works with the ASPCA, the Humane Society and other organizations to help pet owners who qualify for assistance. They'd certainly rather you get care for your pet than abandon your pet simply because you can't afford care.

For information on the Animal Medical Center, visit AMCNY.org.

AMCNY.org/supportamc/gift.aspx is a page that includes brief information about the different programs.

https://secure.groundspring.org/dn/index.php?aid=18143 is a page for making a contribution to the different programs.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


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