Chemo collars Hugo's cancer

WHEN Glendale couple Keith and Pauline Osborne found out their pet poodle had cancer, they did not hesitate.

Hugo needed chemotherapy or a vaccine created from his stem cells for a fighting chance at survival.

But both options were expensive.

"The cost didn't matter,'' Mrs Osborne said.

"He was a member of the family and he was sick.

"It could have cost $50,000, we wouldn't have cared. We had to give him a chance (to live).''

The second, more expensive option, required Hugo's stem cells being sent to a laboratory in the United States.

However that would take time ? something not on Hugo's side.

"We were lucky the cancer was detected early (when a hairdresser noticed abnormal lumps),'' Mrs Osborne said.

"Terry Fisher (veterinarian) brought up the subject of chemo as an option. We were really appreciative of that.''

For Mr and Mrs Osborne, Hugo, 9, one of three pet poodles, is the love of their life.

He has also put a fair dent in their bank account.

Before being diagnosed in late 2002 with a disease similar to Hodgkins disease, Hugo had two knees reconstructed and a tooth pulled.

And after 20 weeks of chemotherapy (cost $5000), Hugo is in remission.

Now every day is special.

"After the treatment we were told we could expect 12 months of life which was a bonus,'' Mr Osborne said.

"To go three years is just incredible.''

Mr Fisher recently went into partnership with Lester Torenbeek at Torenbeek Veterinary Surgery in North Rockhampton.

Mr Fisher's wife, Sarah, also a vet, has made the cancer procedure available at the surgery.

She said many people were shocked to learn pets suffered from cancers.

"Hugo is living proof that cancer treatment for pets works.



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