Maggiemay's Story

Maggiemay, an Irish Setter, sitting on grass

Maggiemay is our three year old Irish Setter. She is our third Irish Setter in almost 40 years. When we found her online in Pennsylvania we were thrilled at how much she resembled our first setter (who was as close to a human as a dog can get). She arrived so happy and very healthy. Even the woman who kept her overnight to get her to the plane the next day told us that she was such a sweet natured puppy!! She has been a delight. 

Just around her second birthday she started crying when jumping out of our SUV. After a few clinic visits here in our home town with no real diagnosis, we took her to a larger vet clinic about 40 miles away. We live in North Dakota. The vets there did an xray and discovered a large tumor inside her chest cavity............we were devastated. They referred us to the U of M.

I was born and raised in the cities and felt safe and confident when we arrived at the U of M Vet Clinic. They were so helpful and reassuring but they were honest as well. Not knowing what kind of tumor or cancer we were dealing with, we went ahead with surgery to remove it. They bumped Maggie up on their surgery list since we were from so far away....... After removing three ribs and a little tip of lung tissue, they were able to say that the surgery went very well!!

They felt if the lab work comes back that it was cancer of the cartilage, they would call it a cure. The lab work came back days later and showed both cartilage AND bone cancer cells. We chose not to do chemo therapy as it’s not a cure and we were already resigned to the fact that we could lose her.

I think they say dogs can live 3 months to two years after a diagnosis of bone cancer. Recovery was much easier than I had expected it would be. The best tip we got from the staff was to put a boys tee shirt on her to cover her stitches. She never once scratched or bit at those stitches! (We didn’t have to mess with one of those stupid cones).

We are now 17 months past the surgery and Maggie is happy, healthy and very active. I watch her closely (almost too closely I suppose). We know the cancer could come back. But we have had almost two years of love and delight with her that we might not have had, thanks to the wonderful staff at the U. We just got home from spending the month of February in Florida..........Maggie came along. She loves the warm weather and the beach (and this year she did a lot of lizard chasing)...........but on the way home, the first rest stop we found that had snow Maggie really got excited !! She’s a true northern spirit, I guess.

Maggiemay has a permanent place in our hearts and we would do it all over again if asked. Our area is truly blessed to have the U of M Vet Clinic!!

- Liz 

Update: 29-Aug-2014:
Happy Birthday to our Maggiemay! 5 years old and 3 years cancer free thanks to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center! 

Maggiemay, an Irish Setter, standing on grass near flowers

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