Tennessee - 2008
Born in Orlando, Florida, Lucky had been adopted from the Orange County Humane Society at six months old. A very loving and faithful dog for 10 years, he enjoyed swimming, playing with his toys, walks and above all, car rides with his human family. Lucky and his mom (and his human brother and feline friend) moved to Knoxville Tennessee after losing most everything in a Florida hurricane.
On a Saturday in March 2008, having just returned from a walk with his human mom he sneezed and the motion caused his nose to begin bleeding from one side. Although it stopped rather quickly, a call was placed to Lucky’s veterinarian that following Monday.
Two days later, the vet examined Lucky and said she could not see anything, adding that it may have been the cold, dry air at the close of the winter season which may have caused the nose bleed. Lab work was ordered but came back normal. Ten days’ worth of antibiotic medication were prescribed, with the understanding that Lucky should return prior to the medication being taken completely.
Upon the return, the vet learned from speaking with the family that Lucky had continued to sneeze and now it seemed like a raised lesion had formed inside one of the nostrils. This prompted x-rays and the vet explained that she suspected cancer of the nose. A tumor was forming in the soft tissue of the left nostril. The thought that Lucky might have cancer devastated the family. That office visit ended with the doctor doing a cytology smear, advising that it would take a week to get the results back.
That test netted no signs of bacteria, fungus or cancer but the vet insisted that she biopsy the tumor and determine for sure if cancer was present. Surgery was scheduled and performed the following week and the mass was sent out to Nashville for the definitive diagnosis.
Regrettably, one day in mid-April, the vet called the family to confirm that Lucky in fact did have cancer, specifically a form called squamous cell carcinoma. He would need to see a specialist in an effort to have the tumor removed. Known as a nosectomy, the procedure would disfigure him, but luckily it had been caught early enough. No bone destruction had been compromised nor noted, nor was the mass of considerable size. The case was referred to a surgeon, who advised that the surgery would cost $ 1500.
Even after speaking with the vet, the family was unable to modify the charge for the procedure. Like most owners who sought help from Brown Dog Foundation, Lucky’s human mom had not the means to pay for the surgery necessary to keep him alive. Doing nothing would have proved terminal inside of three to four months and they did not view that as an option with which they were prepared to deal.
The Brown Dog Foundation entered the picture and assisted with part of the cost to save Lucky. All of the cancer was successfully excised from his nose, although the loss of a portion of the nose caused some facial disfigurement. The only real challenge for the usually playful Lucky and his human family proved his remaining relatively still and inactive for the two weeks following surgery.
After the initial surgery, Lucky lost the weight he had gained while remaining immobile during recovery. The resultant swelling went down and an opening in the nose permitted his breathing out of it. When he breathed in, the remainder of the nose sucked back in, given that there was no frame to hold it in place. But like most animals, Lucky learned to adapt, however, breathing in and out of his nose, having healed remarkably well.
In 2011, our Founder traveled to Knoxville for an Event. Cara and Lucky came out to meet her. "It is one of the most rewarding things possible to be able to kiss and hug the pets we've saved!" shares Carol. Lucky passed away shortly after meeting Carol, but, that he lived 3 years post-op is considered a major success by all!