Grant Helps Families Battle Their Pets’ Cancer at UW School of Veterinary Medicine

In March 2022, Robert Kidby noticed his 10-year-old Shar Pei mix, Brady, had swelling and excessive watering under his right eye. Kidby took Brady to his vet in Virginia, thinking it was just a bee sting.

“They thought it was an abscess,” Kidby reflects. “But they took an X-ray and couldn’t see an abscess.”

Over the summer, the swelling did not improve despite antibiotic treatment, and Brady had difficulty eating and opening his mouth.

Brady, a black dog with an eye tumor, lies on the couch
Brady, a Shar Pei mix, received radiation therapy at UW Veterinary Care with support from Petco Profits and the Blue Buffalo Pet Cancer Treatment Fund.

When Kidby moved to Milwaukee in August, he began bringing Brady to UW Veterinary Care, the teaching hospital at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, for specialized care. The hospital’s oncology service discovered a large, invasive tumor on the right side of Brady’s face.

Kidby learned that Brady needed intensive radiation to treat both the tumor in his mouth and the cancer found in his lungs. This not only came with the stress of caring for a sick pet but also with financial struggles.

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“I already credit my pet’s insurance and care through diagnostic testing,” says Kidby.

Fortunately, Brady’s oncologist told Kidby that they would qualify for the Petco Love and Blue Buffalo Pet Cancer Treatment Fund, which subsidizes the cost of cancer care for dog and cat families who might not otherwise be able to afford treatment.

“I was very grateful,” Kidby said. “Anything can help now.”

The UW School of Veterinary Medicine is one of 12 veterinary oncology centers awarded $75,000 each to help provide life-saving cancer care to pets and their families. Funds up to $4,000 per client are disbursed on a first-come, first-served basis.

“Oncology treatment can be expensive. Petco Love and the Blue Buffalo Pet Cancer Treatment Fund allow us to provide families who need extra help to spend more time with their animal companions through cancer treatment.”

This is the second year UW has received the grant. In 2021, UW Veterinary Care distributed funds to 19 clients to help treat their pets for cancer.

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According to the National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Research, an estimated six million dogs and six million cats will develop cancer annually. Ruthann Chun, a clinical professor of oncology at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine, says a cancer diagnosis can lead to difficult decisions for pet owners because of the financial implications.

A black dog named Brady stands next to Chuck Hart against a brick wall
Brady remains strong amid intensive cancer treatment.

“Oncology treatment can be expensive,” says Chun. “Petco Love and the Blue Buffalo Pet Cancer Treatment Fund allow us to provide some families who need extra help to spend more time with their animal companions through cancer treatment.”

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Brady’s treatment is going well. He received radiation once a week for his oral tumor and joined a clinical trial involving radiation therapy for his lung cancer.

So far, the treatment has helped shrink the tumor in her mouth and stopped the bowel movements. Kidby and oncologists will have a better understanding of his lung cancer in a few weeks after the next set of diagnostic imaging scans.

Despite intensive treatment, Brady is pushing through.

“He’s a pretty stoic dog,” Kidby said. “He’s gotten stronger. But if he wants a hug, he’ll just jump on you and sit on your lap.”

Britta Wellenstein

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