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The Cinderella Fund takes Lilly through osteosarcoma journey and into a lasting home

Posted on Thursday, December 26, 2019

Our shelter veterinary team treats thousands of homeless animals each year, and some have unique needs that require an advanced level of veterinary care. Such was the case for 10-year-old Lilly, who was transferred into our care from the Fluvanna SPCA in October.

Associate Veterinarian Dr. David Molinas performed Lilly’s intake exam after we brought her into our care.

tan and black dog named Lilly, large brown eyes and somber expression with small amount of tongue visible
Lilly had surgery in November to remove part of her jawbone due to osteosarcoma.

“I found a lot of things expected for a senior dog,” Dr. Molinas said. “The major finding was that she had a growth on her right mandible (lower jaw bone).” 

While Lilly was sedated for a dental cleaning and to remove a lipoma (a benign fatty tumor), a biopsy was taken from her jaw that revealed the growth to be malignant osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

“Osteosarcoma is most commonly found on the limbs, but about 12% of cases occur in the jaw, so this was a fairly uncommon location,” said Dr. Molinas.

Lilly’s best treatment option was to undergo surgery to remove part of her jawbone followed by reconstruction on her lips. While neither procedure was one Dr. Molinas had performed before, he studied the techniques and completed the procedures on November 14 with incredibly successful results. The lifesaving surgical intervention to treat her osteosarcoma was made possible by generous donations to our Cinderella Fund.

“Lilly did amazing post-op,” said Dr. Molinas. “She was eating on her own 24 hours after the procedures and experienced no complications with healing.”

Additional testing of Lilly’s lymph node produced guarded optimism as it revealed the tumor had not spread, indicating that the surgery may have been curative. So while there are no guarantees for Lilly’s long-term prognosis, she has high hopes for a bright future. Following her recovery, Lilly has returned to normal activity, including snuggling with visitors in her living room in our adoption center and outings with our staff and volunteers. She recently joined Behavior and Training Associate Hannah Fuqua on a hike and did beautifully.

“She was very well behaved and great on leash,” Hannah said.  “She is a slow girl who brought up the rear and I imagine would make a great couch potato.”

This mellow, polite lady became available for adoption and was ready to find a lasting home just before Christmas. On Monday, December 23, we found her a wonderful family to love her. Adoption counselor Harrison Crews was assisted by Brielle Carter, a veterinary assistant who works with our Shelter Pet Veterinary Medicine team, to explain Lilly’s extensive medical history to her adopters before sending her home.

Brielle said, “They are a very sweet family, and it makes my heart so happy that Lilly now has a wonderful family like them.”

There’s still time to make a year-end, tax-deductible gift that will provide bright futures and loving care to more deserving pets in the year ahead. Make your gift online today!

Sarah Mims is our communications and administration specialist. She first joined the Richmond SPCA in 2017 after graduating from Christopher Newport University. Sarah has one dog, Holly, a Richmond SPCA alumna.

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