Molly Gruber3Our May 2015 patient of the month is sweet Molly. She is a purebred Welsh terrier who will be 9 years old this month. Molly is an AKC Champion and the dam of 3 other champions. Molly first came to see VRCC Oncology in January of 2013, after being diagnosed with a heart based mass in June 2012. She had collapsed from fluid that had accumulated around her heart from the mass. The fluid was drained in June 2012, and again in December 2012. At her initial consultation with Dr. Elmslie, chest x-rays were performed to check for any additional fluid build up. Chest x-rays showed no fluid, but the mass was clearly visible.

Molly’s family elected against a thorascopic guided biopsy to obtain a definitive diagnosis. Due to the tumor being present for 7 months when Molly came to us, Dr. Elmslie was suspicious of a chemodectoma. Unfortunately, there are few effective treatment options for this type of tumor; however, recent studies have suggested that the oral chemotherapy, Palladia, may be effective. Molly’s owner decided to treat with Palladia and bring her in periodically to assess the size of the tumor for response.

After 6 weeks of treatment, Molly’s chest x-rays revealed the tumor to be ~30% smaller-a positive response to the treatment! She continued on Palladia and tolerated it very well with no side effects. At her 5-month recheck visit, chest x-rays were normal, showing the tumor was in complete remission and not visible! Molly continued on the Palladia for 1 full year before discontinuing. We now see Molly every 6 months for a physical exam and repeat chest x-rays. She continues to do fantastic at home with no evidence of disease recurrence. Molly’s mom shares her story:

“When Molly collapsed in the summer of 2012, I was grief-stricken. She was only 6 years old and had always been the picture of health. After her chest had been drained twice of the fluids produced by the heart mass, I decided to consult with Dr. Elmslie—and the rest is history!

She is enjoying her long walks and runs in the dog park with Jezzie, her granddaughter. Molly is doing so well that I decided to take her back in the show ring after several years’ absence since she completed her AKC Champion title. I take her along to the shows as I try to finish her granddaughter’s title, so she might as well get some applause along the way! I entered her in Veterans class for dogs over 7 years of age and told her cancer survival story to the judges. They loved her, and the spectators gave her rounds of applause. Not only did she act like she owned the ring, two judges awarded her Grand Champion points! She had a great time showing her stuff—her rich color and girlish figure recovered after a year of chemo.

Almost three years after her first crisis, she is living life to fullest…and still keeping my feet warm at night. Thank you all for your loving care of my miracle girl.”