December 2013 - TommyOur patient of the month for December 2013 Is Tommy, a very sweet 6 and ½ year old neutered male Borzoi.  Dr. Ringen first evaluated Tommy at our VRCC Oncology department in mid March 2012 for diagnosis of a bone tumor (osteosarcoma) of the left hind leg.    Tommy had been limping on the left hind limb for almost 2 months when Dr. Devitt from VRCC-Surgery evaluated Tommy and performed the biopsy.  Shortly after evaluation by Dr. Ringen, amputation of the hind limb was performed.  Intravenous chemotherapy was initiated after the surgery site had healed, followed by low dose oral chemotherapy.  Tommy has done very well through all the treatment.  He has been cancer free for 21 months and counting.  His family shares their story, “Tommy was adopted into our family when he was about 9 months old. He came from Minnesota with the most expressive eyes and a funny sense of humor, especially for a Borzoi! He is definitely a comedian!

Some people can say that their dog is “the love of their life,” but Tommy is also a hero to me. Almost 2 years ago my beautiful fellow started to have trouble getting up off his bed and running out the back door for fun with his older borzoi brother and sister. Tommy had no injuries or early signs of any congenital troubles that I knew of. He seemed painful when he first started to walk, but would push through the discomfort and run out the door anyway. What a trooper! Tommy’s symptoms eventually became worse where he would cry out in pain a lot and refuse to put the back leg down. After some local vet visits and appointments to Neurology/Ortho at VRCC, the diagnosis of an osteosarcoma was revealed. It was a very scary and sad day for me, as the diagnosis of cancer was now 2 fold in my family.

I, too am diagnosed with cancer….I have leukemia. I was diagnosed about 1 year prior to Tommy. I was very afraid of the unknown as I had not experienced any of this with my other dogs, and worried about how Tommy and I would get through this. I watched my sweet boy go through amputation surgery, intravenous chemotherapy, oral chemotherapeutics, multiple/continued xrays and blood work. He took his treatments in stride and never seemed to be mad at me for what I decided would be best for him. Tommy is a trooper and never ceases to amaze me about his capacity to accept his shortcomings (ie: being the 3-legged dog now; tee hee!) and still love everyone with all his heart!

So as you can see, when people say their 4 legged friends are as much a part of the family as the 2 legged ones….we chime in and say, “Don’t forget the 3 legged guys-they count too!”