WINTER PARK, Fla. - Every day Gerry Eckstein takes her dog Hank to her vet for treatment.
"He's lost over 20 pounds. He was 49 pounds when he was diagnosed," Gerry Eckstein, Hank's owner said.
One of Hank's kidney's has failed and a giant mass entangled in his adrenal gland is believed to be cancer.
Eckstein's vet gave Hank two weeks to a month to live. That was nine months ago! But Eckstein's dedication to her 13 year old companion hasn't come cheap.
"Since he got sick, I've spent almost $12,000. My children's inheritance, but he's worth it," Eckstein said.
50 percent of dogs and 30 percent of cats over age ten will die from cancer. Other common diseases in pets include: arthritis, diabetes, and heart, kidney and dental disease.
One of the biggest reasons for health problems, just like in humans, Doctor Robert Hess says it's obesity.
"Obesity is a big issue in dogs and cats," said Dr. Robert Hess, at Winter Park Veterinary Hospital.
"A 50 pound dog that weighs 60 pounds will develop arthritis twice as fast, he'll live two and half years less, and develop cancer twice as readily," explained Hess.
Mandy Welsheimer was shocked when her dog "Puppy" was diagnosed with diabetes earlier this year. "Puppy" must take insulin twice a day for the rest of his life and follow a strict diet. But it beats the alternative.
"Luckily it's a manageable disease. So it's not like he had something that we had to put him down for," said Mandy Welsheimer, Puppy's owner.
When considering treatment for your pet with cancer, cost is an important factor. While it ranges widely, the average for surgery is $2,000 to $3,000.
Chemotherapy and radiation can also be up to three-thousand dollars. One alternative for pet owners is to contact their local veterinarian hospitals and ask about clinical trials. Many offer free treatment and help with future research.
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