My Story

Do you have a story to share about your experience at the WSU VTH?

We would love to hear from you.

Email your story and photo to Kay Glaser at

  • Otto Styslinger

    Otto the CatI’ve waited a full year before writing about my experience with Otto's pituitary tumor because upon reflection I get so emotional I can't keep going. It’s time I wrote his story. Otto is a 3 legged big beautiful black cat with so much personality that when trucks pull up to the house he will climb in the back, when I have friends or family over Otto takes a chair that has been pulled up and watches the group.

    Otto was losing weight fast and his diagnosis was diabetes. The diabetes was completely out of control so I had every test run available and found out he had a pituitary tumor and would continue to need increased insulin and his joints would grow. With only 3 legs, 14 years old and badly arthritic I felt Otto's only chance for a comfortable life would be the surgery and with Dr. Owen being the only vet in the US we headed to WSU within a week of speaking to Dr. Owen and her team. Otto's kidneys were now compromised and they suggested flushing for 2 days with fluids to get him ready for surgery. We did this on Friday and Saturda,y and the surgery was scheduled for the following Tuesday.

    I can't express fully the amazing care he received while there - I met with everyone on the team and was amazed at the professionalism and compassion of all involved. I was allowed to visit Otto every day and discuss his progress. The devotion to my little buddy was unlike any experience I have ever had. There is always follow up after a major surgery like this, and it was made clear I could call anytime for a consult. Even the veterinary student called me on my cell to check on us and told me how much she missed Otto. Right now Otto is laying in the sun and relaxing. I never looked back after making the decision for surgery as Otto was being pricked 5 times a day and his joints were swelling making for a very miserable cat.

    I can't thank this group enough for the life they gave back to Otto.

    Not a bad place to visit in the summer either. I ran in the woods every day and thanked God for the blessing I had been given.

    Babbie Styslinger

  • Robbie (October 2014) Leslie

    RobbieRobbie, an active Australian Shepherd, loves sheepherding. However, in the spring of 2012, Robbie lost interest in the sheep. Then, lack of interest developed into an inability to walk. Within several months, he was unable to stand without assistance.

    Robbie’s vet was perplexed by his condition and recommended that he see a neurologist. Dr. Dan Hicks (WSU grad), a neurologist in Tacoma, evaluated Robbie and developed a list of possible causes for his symptoms. He recommended that Robbie make a trip to WSU Vet Teaching Hospital for a diagnostic procedure that required specialized equipment. I called the hospital, described the symptoms, and an appointment was made for the neurology department for the following week.

    Upon arrival at WSU, Robbie was treated like royalty. Dr. Dan Krull gave Robbie a thorough exam and scheduled him for the procedure on the following day. On the day of the procedure, a blood test gave an indication of the source of Robbie’s disease. Dr. Krull made a preliminary diagnosis of insulinoma, a type of pancreatic cancer. An additional test confirmed the diagnosis.

    We returned home and scheduled surgery for removal of the tumor. Following surgery, Robbie saw Dr. Lisa Parshley, a vet oncologist, and started chemotherapy. Robbie is an MDR1 dog, and he has a genetic predisposition to adverse drug reactions. The chemotherapy agent that has been shown to have some success in insulinoma cases is on the problem drug list for MDR1 dogs. Dr. Parshley worked with Dr. Katrina Mealey, the veterinarian at WSU who discovered the cause of the drug sensitivity, to determine a dose of the chemotherapy agent that could be tolerated by Robbie.

    Robbie sheepherdingRobbie is now known as The Miracle Dog by his vet oncologist. At the time of diagnosis, he was close to death. Within two months of surgery, he was back to herding sheep. It’s been more than two years since diagnosis, and he is still doing what he loves! Each week, he shows off his sheepherding ability, and he continues to amaze those who know his medical history. Each day, I am grateful to WSU Vet Teaching Hospital for diagnosing Robbie and enabling him to have a great quality of life!

    August 2015 Robbie update


Washington State University