March 2013 - BritOur patient of the month for March 2013 is Brit, a 16 year-old spayed female Italian Greyhound.  Brit was first presented to VRCC Oncology in September 2006, when she was 9 years old, with a diagnosis of mast cell tumor of the left chest wall.  Chemotherapy was initiated with the goal of following with surgery to cure the tumor.  Shortly after starting chemotherapy, a family emergency required the family to move to Florida, where a fellow Veterinary Oncologist continued Brit’s treatment.  Brit was back at VRCC at the completion of chemotherapy, for surgery to remove the residual mast cell tumor.  While this first mast cell tumor was cured, Brit developed a second, particularly high-grade mast cell tumor, on her left front leg in April 2012.  Surgery would have meant amputation and was therefore not considered given Brit’s age of 15 years at that point.  Chemotherapy was once again initiated to achieve remission of the mast cell tumor. While we may not cure this second mast cell tumor, Brit has enjoyed 11 months since the diagnosis of this second mast cell tumor and 7 years since the diagnosis of the first cancer.   Brit’s mom shares their story, “A dear friend stopped by my office with her Italian Greyhound puppy and wanted me to consider buying the puppy’s sister.  The owner was dying of cancer and the blue and white puppy was being mistreated by the caretakers.  The moment I saw her I was so impressed with this beautiful little lady who pranced when she ran that I knew we were meant for each other, Brit was 9 months old. For the next 8 years, we spent most days together as she enjoyed going to my work place and was a great traveler on both a plane and car.

On September 23rd 2006 I noticed a nodule on her left rib cage.  I took her immediately to Dr. McKenzie at Kipling Veterinary Clinic.  A needle biopsy showed it was a mast cell tumor and needed immediate attention.  We were seen by Dr. Elmslie, on September 27th 2006, who was so caring.  A decision to start chemo-therapy was made however just as she was starting treatment my son called and was having emergency abdominal surgery.  So Brit and I flew to Vero Beach Florida, while my daughter looked for an oncologist online.  The closest veterinary oncologist was 80 miles away in West Palm Beach.  Dr. Stephanie Correa followed Brit weekly until we returned to Colorado on November 22nd.

On December 5th 2006, Brit had her first cancer surgery by VRCC.  The surgeon said Brit had a good 3 years ahead which actually turned into a good 6 years.  In Spring of 2012, I noticed a golf ball sized lump under her left front upper leg that was pressing against her chest wall.  I called Dr. McKenzie who saw Brit immediately and did a needle biopsy and x-ray.  Histopathology results showed a fast growing mast cell tumor and Brit was given 2 months to live. Brit began chemotherapy with Dr. Elmslie and she went into remission.  Throughout this treatment, VRCC and Dr. Elmslie has treated us and Brit with kindness and the utmost care.

Brit has now turned 16 years old and has a great attitude.  Although her left front leg has less endurance than her right, nothing seems to slow her down.”