Veterinarian finds caring for dogs with cancer a rewarding change

Monday, December 2, 2013 | 8:29 p.m. CST; updated 6:59 a.m. CST, Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Mizzou Animal Cancer Care facility treats dogs with cancer.

COLUMBIA — After a 22-year career in fast-paced emergency veterinary medicine, Julie Wentz was ready for a change.

When she saw the director position was open at the Mizzou Animal Cancer Care facility, a satellite project of the MU Veterinary School, she thought it might be a good match.

Now, Wentz is the in-house veterinarian at the facility located in Wentzville, and she manages radiation and chemotherapy treatments administered there. The career change allows Wentz to bond with her patients, follow their cases from admittance to discharge and track their progress and recovery over a long period of time, something that was unlikely with emergency room medicine.

Prior to treatment at the facility, clients meet with a board-certified veterinary oncologist to get the specific treatment plan for their pet’s cancer. The treatment can be radiation therapy, chemotherapy or a combination of both. Most pets, depending on the severity of their cancer, have several treatments per week with Wentz and the crew at the facility. On average, treatment at the facility runs from $3,000 to $4,000 for families that do not have pet insurance.

Although Wentz made a 180-degree change in her job — going from working nights to working 8-to-5 hours and from treating animals quickly and not being able to track their progress to the more long-term case management — the overall reward of both jobs is the same. Wentz goes to bed knowing that she has helped a suffering animal in need. 

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Mark Foecking December 3, 2013 | 6:26 p.m.

One has to ask why a course of treatment for a dog costs $4,000 when a course of treatment for a human can cost 50 times that. The medications and treatments are not that different.


(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 3, 2013 | 6:49 p.m.

Mark: Are these reasons?

(1) Drug and procedure development for animals costs MUCH less than for humans.

(2) I don't think vets HAVE to treat in the manner you might like....if you don't or won't pay.

(3) Liability (malpractice) is not as great.

(4) Patient care, surgical sites, post-op, etc., are much cheaper and less Taj Mahal.

(Report Comment)

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