Golden mix Abby’s cancer


Vet hospital touts progress
CSU expertise increases with growth of discipline

By SARA REED and V. Richard Haro (photos), The Fort Collins Coloradoan

Frank Profaizer. left, of Cheyenne, Wyo., discusses Abby’s cancer with Dr. Susan Plaza, middle, clinical trials coordinator at Colorado State University’s Veterinarian Teaching Hospital, as Dr. Kate Vickery, right, a resident oncologist, measures Abby’s lymph node. Abby is an 11-year-old golden retriever/chow mix that has been coming to CSU for about five years for treatment for lymphoma.


Dr. Kate Vickery measures Abby’s lymph node.

Since its birth, the college has grown into a center of nationally and internationally renowned research in areas such as animal reproduction, cancer and radiological biology and infectious diseases, forging ahead in research that could help save lives and change the world.

The college, which is consistently ranked in the top two colleges of its kind, spent more money on research last year than any other similar college, said Dr. Lance Perryman, dean of the college. The $54 million spent on research last school year accounted for 20 percent of CSU’s total research expenditures.

Research within the college has produced treatment techniques that increase the survival rate of children who suffer from osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer; identified estrogen receptors in the brain as a factor in anxiety and depression; and identified a possible link between protein buildup in the brain and Alzheimer’s.

‘Something priceless’

For all the global implications of the research coming out of the college, some of it hits close to home. Abby, a 10-year-old golden retriever/chow mix that has battled lymphoma for five years, is one of the many animals and humans who have benefited or figure to benefit from research coming out of the college.

Abby is on her third clinical trial as part of her treatment at the Animal Cancer Center. Her owner, Frank Profaizer, said he and his family are so grateful to the doctors and other employees at the center.

The Profaizer family, who lives in Cheyenne, sometimes brings Abby to Fort Collins daily. They’ve given us something priceless,” he said. “They gave us five more years with her. We couldn’t have gotten through this without the (vet teaching hospital).”

The trials Abby has gone through, which include a chemotherapy and nutritional supplement study, can help develop treatments for people and other animals living with cancer. Profaizer said he thinks Abby was put here to be studied and be of service to others.

“The bottom line is that if they can learn (from her) and help another dog or a human, that fulfills her purpose here,” Profaizer said.


3 thoughts on “Golden mix Abby’s cancer

  1. Hello,

    Thank you for posting this article about Abby and the wonderful care she received.

    Sadly, our beloved Golden, Amber, who will be 7 yrs old on May 7th of this year, but probably won’t see that birthday due to her diagnosis a couple of months ago of lymphosarcoma.

    After undergoing a partial mass removal from under her rt. leg, we were informed that she had cancer and that it most likely has/had spread. Due to her age and size, at the time,….we were advised that removing her leg would probably not by her much more “quality of life” time. I knew that animals can live quite well with only three legs, but since it is her forearm, which takes the majority of her weight,…and since she would need chemo & radiation,…all of which would cause her much discomfort, but probably not much longer than 6 extra months of cherished life,…we were told to bring her home and keep her comfortable and spoil her for as long as we can, before she tells us she is ready to go on to another, pain free life in heaven.

    I so wish we had had a program/college of research, such as yours to benefit our cherished, sweet, giving, loving, “never knew a stanger,” beloved canine, Amber.

    As of today she has lost almost 15 pounds now and can’t get up easily or move about easily, due to the mass that is still under her rt. leg and the edema that has caused her rt. leg to be twice as large as her left front leg. Following surgery she also developed a large mass under her neck, hanging like a heavy weight on her upper chest. We had brought her in following her partial mass removal, in the hopes of aspirating the other mass that had formed, since to my “layman’s” hands felt more like a fluid mass, but was told it wasn’t.

    So, with heavy hearts, but hopeful and grateful thoughts and prayers,…we’ve been helping her to enjoy the sun on her fur/face, moon shining down, while she cools off in the night breezes of N. FL. She doesn’t eat very well now, but enjoys the hard boiled eggs, fish, cottage cheese, vitamins, lots of ice cubes and water, and any high nutrient, but healthy— treats she can tolerate. With some much deserved french fries (occasionally) thrown in there too. ;O)

    Please forgive me,…for this long message,…I just wanted to say thank you for trying to help solve and aid others who are dealing with their beloved companions who are living with cancer.

    We have looked into donating her body for research to the University of Florida, but unfortunately they only take dogs they have been caring for personally.

    I had hoped we could help, in a small way, so that we could further the on-going animal research, in the areas of cancer & infectious diseases, that is being done by
    dedicated, caring people all over the world.

    Our prayers and hopes are that, soon we may eradicate these vicious ailments that strike our loved ones.

    Thank you again for your time,…and if perhaps you know of any clinical studies being done in the Jacksonville, FL or South Eastern area,…I would greatly appreciate any information, advise, or suggestions.

    With great sincerity,

    Dawn Curran-Kelley,

    *The grateful & blessed caregiver and lover of Amber and all our personal animal friends/family. We have a 15 yr old Shetland Sheepdog, a rescue dog,…(a beautiful young energetic Hungarian Visla), an amazing free-roaming, affectionate cockatiel (who I think might think he is a dog, since he is their pack leader ;], fish, and a beautiful ball python!)

    My love and interest encompasses all the other wonderful creatures I’ve met, observed, and loved throughout my short life.

    P.S. ***My first job was in a veterinarian clinic and with the forest service in Big Sur, CA. Nature has always held my heart and unending appreciation & interest— for it’s amazing wonders and blessings.

    Again, much appreciation for your time and all your efforts in helping to rid our cherished ones from suffering due to these ugly diseases.


    Dawn Curran-Kelley

  2. Dawn, my heart goes out to you and sadly no words can express the pain that you and your family is experiencing. I am sure Amber knows that you trying your best as your emotions are clearly understood by her, in her own way. I only hope that you can keep her comfortable and that you can let her go if you see that her pain remains and causes her quality of living to decline further. I have lost 2 to cancer, my first from lymphosarcoma, and it never gets easier to let these Golden souls go.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing the story of your beloved Amber. Our Buddy, (Butterscotch!), left us this past summer and reading Amber’s story reminded me so much of Buddy it brought tears. God Bless all our angles.

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