...by Marilyn R
Last 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