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Festive "Jos" in Burbage Common


Jos in Burbage Common in February 2007


Following on from my previous articles on the diagnosis and treatment of cancer most readers will be all too aware, from their own personal experiences, that despite all our efforts cancer patients often do not survive.

It is often the case with our canine and feline patients that the cancers are so highly malignant that predicted lifespan once diagnosed can be only weeks and months. It is with this in mind that veterinary surgeons have an additional privileged option of being able to bring an end to their situation before their quality of life starts to suffer. The idea of "treating" patient's this way can be of great comfort and is often acknowledged by our medical counterparts as a "blessing in disguise".

This "privilege" of ending suffering, however, is currently being considered as one factor in the rather alarming statistic that vets are 4 times more likely to commit suicide than the national average.

Maintaining an objective and balanced view of our patients and their quality of life is something that we always hope to achieve at the Fairfield Veterinary Centre. However my veterinary colleague Geraldine is currently having the tremendous difficulty in coming to terms with her own dog Jos's terminal cancer.

No-one tries harder for their patients than her and certainly Jos has had the full benefit of everything we have to offer. Tests, transfusions (receiving this time rather than giving!), major surgery and chemotherapy have all meant that currently Jos continues to revel in his trips to Burbage Common, a dog's paradise! However, Geraldine as a vet and an owner appreciates that this cannot last for ever and may eventually need to make a decision regarding his quality of life. Undoubtedly, not an easy decision to make, to lose a most deserving and likeable companion but ultimately one which has his interests at heart.

We all continue to hope that he will enjoy his walks for a little longer for if any pet deserved that little extra Jos surely earned it!

Terry Dunne BVMS, Cert SAO, MRCVS

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