Denise Smith from Northamptonin the U.K. was just banned from owning animals for a year after she tried to cure her cat's cancer with manuka honey. It was being touted as a 'miracle cure' online.
The cat, called Blacky, was suffering from a tumorous cancer on one of her legs. However, 58-year-old Smith never took Blacky to the vet, instead deciding to trust the advice of an internet article to try and cure her wound.
Unsurprisingly, it didn't. Blacky's tumor didn't go away and her health deteriorated until a neighbor contacted the RSPCA. Inspectors took her to the vets, who were forced to amputate her leg after seeing the state of the tumor. RSPCA inspector Michelle Hare told the BBC:
When we took the bandages off I could see that Blacky had a large and cancerous wound on her leg which was so deep it had gone down to her tendons.
Although honey has been used since ancient times to disinfect small wounds because of its antibacterial properties, it isn't powerful enough to use on larger injuries, as a spokesperson for the RSPCA said:
We would always urge people to seek veterinary advice for any issues relating to their pet’s health. Honey is used by some people on minor wounds but should only be used as a complementary treatment which should not replace veterinary care and advice.
After being rescued and recovering from her amputation, Blacky was readopted. Sadly, the cancer returned the following year and she was put to sleep to end her suffering:
In this case the owner failed to provide veterinary treatment for what was clearly a very severe wound, and we had no choice but to become involved to prevent the cat from suffering further.
If your pet falls ill or is injured, it is absolutely vital to take them to a vet as quickly as you can. The longer you leave it, the more expensive it will be to treat and, like in Blacky's case, it could cost them their lives.
If you are worried about cost, there are charities and organizations that can help pay for treatment. These vary from area to area, and you should research these before you get a pet if you think you might not be able to pay for medical bills if an accident occurs.
Medical costs are a non-negotiable part of owning a pet. If you want one, you must be able to support them if the worst happens.
Veterinarians also advise people to not use supermarket honey to cure wounds.
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