The featured patient for Oncology is Shasta, an Australian Shepherd who is almost 12 years old. Shasta first came to see the VRCC Oncology department in January of 2012 for a confirmed diagnosis of anal sac gland adenocarinoma. After the initial consultation, Shasta’s family decided to pursue surgical removal of the tumor. The results came back showing clear surgical margins, and follow-up chemotherapy was recommended for microscopic disease. Shasta started her chemotherapy regimen of IV carboplatin treatment at the end of January, and finished up in late March. Aside from some mild side effects from the chemotherapy, she tolerated her treatment quite well. After finishing the IV chemotherapy, Shasta started on oral metronomic therapy to help delay any disease recurrence.
Shasta had been doing very well, when unfortunately, recurrence in her sub-lumbar lymph nodes was noted in August 2013. Radiation with Dr. Gustafson was the next step to treat this enlarged lymph nodes. Shasta went through a full course radiation regimen of 18 treatments. She did great with this treatment as well, then started on her 2nd round of IV carboplatin treatment that finished at the end of the year.
At Shasta’s next reevaluation appointment in February 2014, she was confirmed to be in complete remission. Her family is very dedicated to her and opted to start on oral Palladia for it’s anti-angiogenesis effects. Shasta has been on Palladia ever since then, and doing great! Her metastatic anal sac adenocarinoma is still in remission and we are ecstatic for her. Shasta’s family shares their story:
“One Day at a Time
We cherish each and every day and fill it with love. Dogs need this love, as dogs have feelings too.
Shasta loves and cares about everyone! She has a very happy personality, loves life and playing with her siblings. Shasta gets as much love as any human child would get, but actually more. I took on that responsibility to take care and love my dog to the best of my capabilities for the rest of her life no matter what the circumstances.
Shasta went in for a yearly exam and during a rectal exam, it was found. A tumor of her left anal sac. “What?” I thought….Life changed for the both of us.
This news was given to us January 8, 2012. We researched and found that 5 months to (at the most) 2 ½ years of survival is average for this type of tumor. We will be coming up on 4 years now. How did we do it?
It wasn’t easy, as nothing about cancer is. We got through it because of the most knowledgeable, caring, loving Oncologist, Dr. Elmslie. Of course Shasta’s family vet was also a huge part of her surviving today as well. We started the process…..surgically had it removed, started chemo drugs. We diligently had regular checkups so as to catch anything that may recur early. A swollen lymph node occurred. Removal and radiation. Radiation was done by the wonderful Dr. Gustafson. It was a delicate and sensitive process. Shasta did well. Dr. Elmslie made changes to her chemo and stayed right on top of everything.
I am a detailed person where everything had to be just right for my dog. Yes, my dog is spoiled. Yes, it is a financial obligation. I will gladly go without a night out, or trip to wherever, as this was the best place to put my money.
Shasta gives me more than I can ever give her.
Their [dog’s] emotional well being is so important in surviving cancer just as anything else.
We are so proud to be one of Dr. Elmslie’s surviving cancer patients. Thank you Dr. Elmslie and your wonderful Technicians!
Each day is cherished, not because we don’t know when she will be taken from us, but because of what she gives us in return. Happy, full of love, one day at a time.”