When my precious 11-year-old German Shepherd, Helsa, was diagnosed with chondrosarcoma I felt devastated. The biopsy indicated a possible life expectancy of months only. Fortunately, our local veterinarian, Dr. Pearson, referred us to the U of M Veterinary Hospital for evaluation of the margins of her large tumor mass over her shoulder area and possible surgery. The U of M is over 300 miles from where we live in Jamestown, North Dakota and so, of course, I was truly hoping for as expedient an evaluation as possible because of additional inconveniences to our lives as well. A very good friend of mine took time off from work to accompany me and Helsa to Minneapolis and her husband stayed behind at my home to care for my other German Shepherd, Dana. So this all was quite a disruption for my friends who volunteered to help us! Friends are indeed very special gifts!
Helsa’s Oncologist, Dr. Lenz moved mountains to schedule CT scans in one day’s time which showed the margins of the tumor to not be metastasized beyond the area of the tumor itself. In addition to visualizing the tumor margins, a clean view of both her adrenals showed no lesions given Helsa also has Cushing’s disease! Her spleen showed a possible abnormality, but a serious threat to her health was able to be ruled out.
Dr. Lenz was again able to do creative scheduling for Helsa to have a surgical evaluation! Helsa’s Surgeon, Dr. Eskander, along with Dr. Lenz, painstakingly went through the CT scans with a thorough explanation of what we were dealing with and surgical excision was decided upon.
Helsa was kept comfortable in ICU overnight with IV, patch, and oral pain medications. I received reports from staff as to her condition which were truly appreciated.
Helsa is resting comfortably at home now on a post-op pain med and will have her sutures removed next Tuesday. She is doing very well. Dr. Lenz has partnered with our local veterinarian, Dr. Pearson, for Helsa’s ongoing care including the addition of chemotherapy which is to start following her suture removal. I will be returning to the U of M with Helsa for her six-month evaluation with Dr. Lenz in about August or September.
My experience with the quality of care Helsa received at the U of M Veterinary Hospital has to be second to none! Helsa’s veterinarians and their staff members gave the most loving, professional, and exceptional care one could only hope for, and they need to be applauded for all they do!
I am including a baby picture of Helsa who was four months old when I adopted her. Other pictures show her alone or with Dana.
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