This is the story of Lucy Stokes, a 30-pound bundle of love and energy. Lucy came the University of Missouri Veterinary Health Center in the fall of 2014 after she was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer called fibrosarcoma affecting her right mandible (lower jaw). This cancer type is invasive locally and can also spread to distant places in the body such as the lungs. Fortunately, Lucy’s cancer was only in the jaw when she was presented to the Small Animal Soft Tissue Surgery Service at MU. A CT was performed and revealed that the entire right side of the jaw would have to be removed in a surgery called a hemimandibulectomy in order to have the best chance for a cure for her disease.
Common questions pet owners have before pursuing this surgery is whether their pet will be able to eat and drink normally, and whether they will look disfigured. We discussed possible outcomes with the Stokes family and they chose to take the leap in an attempt to save their beloved Lucy’s life. The procedure was a success and Lucy exceeded our expectations with how quickly she relearned eating and drinking with only half of her jaw remaining.
We love to hear how our patients are doing following surgery, so we were ecstatic to get the following update from the Stokes family just this week, nearly 17 months after her procedure:
“Through the whole process, which was frightening for us as her parents, we felt confident in the treatment she underwent and the love that she received from everyone from the students to the receptionists to the doctors and surgeons. The personal care we were shown let us know that you valued our relationship with our dog as much as we did. We can’t begin to express our gratitude to everyone at the MU Veterinary Health Center for saving our little Lucy. We are truly grateful for every moment we have with her.
Just to give you an idea of the kind of life you saved, Lucy has traveled with us and her canine brother Max to 25 states and Canada this year enjoying many great campsites, trails and swimming holes. She is an energetic dog with a unique personality, and she is an important part of our family.
We’ve attached a picture of Lucy enjoying herself in the Florida Keys.
Will all our sincere gratitude,
Marc and Mary Stokes”