Pet Hero: Gizmo the Playful Pomeranian Mix
12 years young and full of life
Gizmo Kuhns is a Pomeranian mix that is 12 years young. He is full of energy and loves to play. He’s also Martha Kuhns’ best friend. Martha received Gizmo in 2004 when he was just four months old from a coworker. Gizmo entered Martha’s life at a difficult time. Her mother had passed away a few months earlier and she was lonely.
“He came to me when I needed him,” said Martha.
The little puppy was supposed to grow up to be no more than 10 pounds and wasn’t supposed to shed. Now, Gizmo is up to 25 pounds and sheds tremendously. The energetic puppy was a handful, and to this day he’s as playful as ever.
“As a puppy, he was so energetic. He loved to play. He loved to get into trouble and loved to eat my shoes. I had to buy all new shoes because he ate them,” Martha said. “He still thinks the world was made for him to play in it – people, other animals, blankets, anything on the floor. Even at 12 years old, he’s so playful.”
Gizmo’s cancer diagnosis
Understandably, Martha was devastated when she found out Gizmo had cancer. She came back from vacation and picked up Gizmo from a pet motel. She noticed he had a horrible cough. Thinking it was kennel cough, she took him to her primary care veterinarian. During the visit, the veterinarian felt a lump on Gizmo’s throat. After an x-ray, the veterinarian told her it was most likely thyroid carcinoma, or thyroid cancer.
Gizmo was referred to a veterinary specialty hospital, Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center (PVSEC), for additional testing and treatment options on November 21, 2016. He received an aspiration of the tumor, chest radiographs, and a physical exam. In addition to the thyroid carcinoma, an ultrasound of his abdomen revealed an additional tumor in Gizmo’s right adrenal gland. [The adrenal glands are located in the abdomen above the kidneys.]
Tests also confirmed that Gizmo’s thyroid tumor was cancerous and that the tumor was too firmly embedded to be surgically removed safely. In situations like this, radiation therapy (RT) is typically the treatment of choice when surgery is not an option.
Gizmo was referred to PetCure Oncology at Care Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, for stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). A single plan was created to treat both his thyroid carcinoma and adrenal tumor. Care Center is one of a handful of locations in the United States that offers SRS, a new advanced form of radiation therapy that delivers high doses of radiation with sub-millimeter precision. Because it is so precise, it can target a tumor with minimal damage to the healthy tissue around it. This therapy requires fewer sessions and has little-to-no side effects.
Martha recollects the time after Gizmo’s diagnosis as one of the hardest moments for her.
“For the two weeks before we went to Cincinnati, I cried. On Thanksgiving when I went to a family dinner and someone asked me about Gizmo, I tried to hold it in. He wanted to play, but all I could do was cry. This puppy is my oxygen. When I found out about his diagnosis, I just burned up the Internet looking for information. From stem cell research to stereotactic radiation to regular radiation to surgery and more. When I read about PetCure Oncology, I felt hope. And it kept me from crying 24/7.”
Gizmo receives SRS
Gizmo received three sessions of SRS from December 7 to December 9, 2016, for his adrenal and thyroid tumors. Martha explained that she was happy to find that during and after his SRS treatment, Gizmo remained his playful self. He experienced no side effects. A two-week checkup with their primary care veterinarian showed that Gizmo’s tumor was smaller than before. According to Martha, as of December 22, Gizmo was still doing great.
“He acts like nothing is wrong with him. He jumps on me, wants to go out and play. He’s like he was 12 years ago when I got him.”
We are so happy Gizmo and Martha were able to spend another Christmas together.
We can help.
If your pet has been diagnosed with cancer, contact a PetCure Oncology location near you. Our team is ready to answer your questions and find the best treatment option for your pet.