NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Nemo, believed to be the first pig to receive chemotherapy for lymphoma, is now recovering at Cornell Animal hospital.
The 4-year-old animal belongs to Nancy Krieg and George Goldner. The two have a former dairy farm in the Catskills, where they house rescued animals.
Earlier this year, the couple noticed the normally vivacious Nemo seemed to be fading — so they brought him to the animal hospital, where he was diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma, a blood cancer.
“We weren’t sure that he would make it, or that [the chemotherapy] would work, but truthfully one isn’t even sure with a person whether it will work,” Goldner told 1010 WINS. “But the alternative was that he would just die. So we decided to go ahead, because that was the only alternative.”
Because the treatments were unprecedented in pigs, no one knew how Nemo would react.
“He’s done incredibly well,” Goldner said.
In fact, his recovery — and minimal side effects — have been impressive.
“Apparently the cancer seems to be in remission and he’s continuing to get it for another few weeks — and then we expect he’ll come home,” said Goldner.
“Animals seem to react to chemo much better than people, they don’t suffer as much from it.”
Over three months, Nemo’s owners estimate he’s had three or four “bad days.” The rest of the time, however, he’s had a relatively normal life.
The hospital called this case one which will pave the way for future animals with cancer.
“Although lymphoma has been documented in swine, there aren’t any documented cases of pigs being treated for it,” said CUHA oncologist Dr. Cheryl Balkman. “We adapted a treatment plan based on what we know is effective in dogs, cats, and humans with lymphoma.”
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