Gwendolyn is a spunky, young cat. She likes to spend her days outside, hiding in tall grass, stalking critters (mostly dragonflies and the neighborhood cats). “She runs the house and likes to boss people and our other pets around,” says her owner Sara Bryant.

Last fall, Gwendolyn was referred to the OSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH) by her family veterinarian. She had a large growth over her right eye – an aggressive tumor infiltrating her sinus cavities and brain. The oncology team recommended radiation to shrink the tumor, followed by chemotherapy to kill the remaining cancer cells.

The OSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital provides advanced cancer treatment including skilled surgery, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and clinical trials of the latest drugs. However, VTH does not offer radiation treatment — yet.

Currently, the closest provider of that therapy is out of state and hundreds of miles away. For a variety of reasons, that wasn’t an option for Gwendolyn.

Even better care is coming for Oregon pets – with your help

Like the Bryant family, Ken and Celia Austin (Class of '76) are grateful to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, where their Labrador retriever was treated for bladder cancer. Longtime supporters of OSU, the Austins recently gave a half-million dollars to kick-start a fundraising initiative to raise enough money to purchase a linear accelerator, an advanced device capable of providing radiation oncology for most animals, from a cat to a horse.

The Austins hope this gift will inspire fellow animal lovers to join them in giving to cancer treatment that would allow pets like Gwendolyn to receive all of their care right here in Oregon.

In addition to benefiting OSU patients, the ability to offer radiation therapy at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital would provide further training, and research opportunities in oncology, for students, interns and residents.

A happy ending to a difficult story

The Veterinary Teaching Hospital developed an alternative treatment plan for Gwendolyn where she received weekly chemotherapy for five months. Fortunately, it was very successful. At nearly one year post-treatment, Gwendolyn is still cancer-free.

“The doctors and all the staff at OSU were amazing throughout this journey,” says Bryant. “I'm so thankful that we were able to get her treatments so close to home. It made the process less stressful for both Gwendolyn and me.”

In the future, pets like Gwendolyn will be able to pursue the best course of treatment right here at Oregon State. To make that future a reality, join the Austins by supporting cancer treatment and research at OSU. 

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