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

  • Leisel (Spring 2013) Marilyn R

    Leisel CollageLast winter our Bernese Mountain Dog, Leisel, was diagnosed with a histiocytic sarcoma on her left hind leg by a veterinarian in Bend, Oregon and confirmed by another veterinarian in Seattle. Both (neither, WSU graduates) immediately recommended amputation. On the suggestion of a friend, we phoned the WSU Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences and were warmly and professionally received. The WSU staff noted that radiation treatment might do the trick, eliminating the need for amputation.

    We then took Leisel to Chelsea Tripp, DVM, a WSU graduate in oncology with a practice in Seattle, who concurred that there was a good chance that radiation followed by chemotherapy would be adequate. She called her former colleagues in the WSU Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences and arranged for an appointment for us with Dr. Janean Fidel, an associate professor and oncologist.

    In our meeting, Dr. Fidel took a great deal of time with us, carefully and thoroughly examining Leisel and patiently responding to all of our questions, making us feel like our dog was the only animal in the hospital and that radiation was indeed a wise choice. Dr. Fidel possesses that impressive combination of competency and professionalism on the one hand and kindness and compassion on the other. We were struck by the caring attention she was devoting to this case.

    Upon our having arrived at the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital we had been sympathetically and earnestly welcomed by Kate Kilzer, a fourth year student assigned to our dog. During Leisel's nine-day stay at the hospital for radiation treatments, Kate overcame her charming shyness to make daily telephone calls to us regarding Leisel's status. It is obvious that Dr. Fidel had effectively imbued in Kate the strong WSU culture of communication with and compassion toward Owners. Every day we eagerly looked forward to Kate's calls.

    Upon Leisel's discharge, Dr. Fidel again was generous with her time, thoroughly reviewing Leisel's condition and recommending a post-radiation program of Lomustine chemotherapy, and again exhibiting that marvelous combination of personal warmth and professional seriousness. We returned to Dr. Tripp who has been administering the chemotherapy treatments with no adverse side affects and every sign that Leisel is a bona fide “WSU Cancer Survivor” as stated on her scarf which she proudly wears.

    While we are UW Huskies, nevertheless henceforth the phrase "Go Cougs" will forever have a whole new meaning to us, giving rise to a deep emotion of gratitude for Dr. Fidel and the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine.

    Middle photo: Dr. Janean Fidel, WSU oncologist, Kate Kilzer (’13 DVM), and Leisel
    Bottom photo: Bob R. and Leisel

  • Kaylee (Fall 2013) Lynette B


    Kaylee Sleeping

    Kaylee and Friend

    Kaylee Running

    While vacationing in the Southwest in October of 2011, we noticed a slight swelling on Kaylee's muzzle. We thought that perhaps she had been stung by a bee, but when we checked inside her mouth, the swelling was a hard, olive sized area over her canine tooth. We sent IPhone photos to our vet, Dr. Don Canfield, and brought her in for an exam as soon as we returned home.

    Dr. Canfield noticed that the tooth was beginning to get loose and suggested pulling it, which we did the following day. He sent tissue samples for pathology studies that came back reporting that Kaylee had a fibro-sarcoma. He suggested that we immediately call WSU, which we did that day and were able to get her an appointment in mid November.

    Kaylee had surgery to remove several of her upper teeth, and the tumor, to the midline of her muzzle. She recuperated at home in Puget Sound over Thanksgiving and then went back to WSU for the month of December for radiation treatments. She was lucky enough to spend nearly every night with Kristi, a student who fell in love with her - which helped our frame of mind as much as Kaylee's!

    Kaylee came home on Christmas Eve - best Christmas gift ever! Her face was raw from the radiation and was itchy as healing took place but she was good about wearing the 'cone of humiliation' and not scratching her wound.

    We are now one and a half years post surgery and she has bounced back remarkably. We take 8-15 mile hikes in the Olympics, long walks on the beach and cross country camping trips. She proudly wears her crimson and grey "Cancer Survivor" scarf and name tag as she enthusiastically greets everyone with her "Elvis smile". We rescued a companion Malamute-mix for her, as well as the 3 cats that he had raised. The 5 of them are inseparable and sleep all piled up on each other and play endlessly together.

    We are so grateful to all the doctors and staff at WSU for their care and compassion - toward Kaylee and toward us as we were trying to wrap our minds around her disease and its repercussions. She is now 10 years old and we have cherished every minute of our gifted 18 additional months, and look forward to many more months (and hopefully years) of laughing at her antics, hiking in the mountains and running on the beach.

    Thank you WSU!!!

    Doctors: Fidel, Choy, Campbell and Kennedy
    Staff: Kay Glaser and Betsy Wheeler
    Students: Kristi, April and Cori

    Lynette and Craig, Kaylee, Buck, Toby, Tanner and Tucker


Washington State University