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Lucy Leaves a Legacy at One of the Best Vet Cancer Clinics in the World

You never forget the day your pet gets diagnosed with cancer. The bomb probably fell while you sat under bright florescent lights in a sterile room with loud commotion happening just beyond the door. It’s a familiar scene at university veterinary clinics around the globe but not at Colorado State University’s Flint Animal Cancer Center (FACC). Thanks to a Rottweiler named Lucy and generous donors, recent clinic renovations are enabling kinder, gentler pet cancer care at one of the best vet cancer clinics in the world.

Tripawd Tours CSU FACC

Tripawds Spokesdog Wyatt is as excited as we are about the CSU Lucy Oncology Clinic!

A Lasting Legacy at the Lucy Oncology Clinic

A pet cancer diagnosis is scary, but having an outstanding oncology team makes the experience far less terrifying. Jeffrey Neu understood this, which is why he took his beloved Rottweiler Lucy for osteosarcoma cancer treatment at the FACC. There in Fort Collins, Colorado she got the best care around. While Lucy was being treated, Mr. Neu noted certain aspects about the clinic that could make patient care even more outstanding. So in recognition for the unparalleled treatment Lucy received he and his brother Robert have made a multi-million dollar donation to create the world’s leading veterinary oncology clinic for pets. The gift kicked off even more donations for a series of building renovations that will eventually total $20 million and conclude in 2020. Last month we toured the latest improvements and are more impressed with the FACC than ever.

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Mr. Jeffrey Neu and Lucy. Image provided by Colorado State University.

What makes these changes so remarkable is because we’ve all seen how veterinary medicine has changed dramatically over the last ten years. No field has changed more than oncology. But clinic infrastructure components, like exam rooms and surgical suites, haven’t always kept pace. Thanks to the ongoing FACC renovation campaign, CSU is staying one step ahead of the curve with an impressive list of new clinic features.

For starters, the Lucy Oncology Clinic’s 6,000 annual patients and their humans are enjoying better, more efficient communication among the oncology team members and collaborating clinical services like radiology and anesthesia. The renovations mean that services are no longer scattered throughout the hospital. Now, oncology exams and treatments are now located in once centralized 4,100 square foot space, which makes the visits faster and easier for pets and their people.

Human-Grade Facilities for the Best Vet Cancer Care Available

Behind the scenes, a revolutionary circular design for the clinic’s inner workings literally puts patient care at the heart of the oncology center while massive glass windows connect all clinic spaces. Patients and owners enter the clinic through one of two private exam rooms where the initial history and physical exam takes place. From there a the whole team gathers around each patient in the Patt Hall Patient evaluation room, which is located in the middle of the action. This is otherwise know as the Patt Hall PIT, as in pit stop where more information is gathered.

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The CSU Patt Hall PIT at the Lucy Oncology Clinic

In this setting the team discusses a personalized diagnostic plan for each patient, tumors are measured and blood samples are taken. A rounds (meeting) room, procedures rooms, chemo suite, dedicated clinical trials room and canine and feline day patient rooms surround the central hub of the Patt Hall PIT. This enables team members to see what patients are being examined and treated at any given time, more easily share ideas and discuss cases with other team members throughout the day. The clinic also has a new surgical suite designed just for oncology patients. Many state-of-the-art technologies designed for human hospitals have been incorporated into it, like human-grade instruments and live-streaming web cams in surgical suites to teach tomorrow’s vet oncologists.

Another thoughtful element of the new space is a lighting feature commonly known as tunable or Circadian Lighting, an LED system that replicates the position, angle, and color of natural sunlight throughout the day. This type of light is proven to boost the happiness and productivity level of employees who work long hours indoors, by feeding the human body’s craving for sunlight. It was intended to help the patients as much as those who care for them.

The Lucy Oncology Center also has new comfort rooms to help pets and parents feel at ease. These beautiful retreats were built for difficult conversations and for patients and parents awaiting treatment. A calming environment with comfy furniture, soft lighting, slip resistant floors and soundproof walls is always ready for nervous patients. There’s also gorgeous pet-centric artwork that adorns the walls, featuring works donated by celebrated CSU alum Jay Snellgrove, framer Brian Hart, and the world-famous nature photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen.

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Cara Hall, CVT, Trials Nurse (left) with Dr. Kristen Weishaar, CSU Clinical Trials Director.

All of these great new design features are groundbreaking, but perhaps one of the biggest breakthroughs for the FACC is a new, dedicated space for CSU oncology clinical trials. Previously these clinical trials were conducted in different parts of the hospital and clinicians’ workspaces were also scattered. Today’s patients who participate in these important studies can now enjoy a consistent, familiar setting that helps them feel at ease during treatment. The new CSU clinical trials space also boosts the productivity and happiness of the oncology research team by giving them the room and organization needed to track and report on studies that improve cancer therapies. Ultimately the redesign makes it easier for clinicians to reach the ultimate goal of One Cure for cancer for pets and people alike.

A Winning Team Matters

When you find yourself faced with a pet cancer diagnosis, finding a great team matters. Not only will it give you peace of mind but a great, cohesive team also gives your pet a fighting chance at beating cancer. If you’re able to work with the outstanding vets at Colorado State University’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, you’ll find that pet cancer treatment doesn’t get any better than at Flint Animal Cancer Center’s beautiful new Lucy Oncology Clinic.

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“Thanks for all you do for my friends!” Love, Wyatt Ray Dawg.

4 Responses to “Lucy Leaves a Legacy at One of the Best Vet Cancer Clinics in the World”

  1. Your article pulled at my heart strings in a couple of different ways. As of today’s date my Great Dane, Gandolf, is being treated for Osteosarcoma at Colorado State University. Gandolf had his left hind leg amputated September 14th and is currently going through the clinical studies to help find a cure for this awful disease. When I received the news that my “son” had cancer I couldn’t speak. I cried and cried and cried. I’m not sure what was being said after I heard the word “cancer.” To this day I cannot remember but what I do know is I’m so glad my step-son was with me. I knew I could not drive. I couldn’t even speak to my husband on the phone. The next day Gandolf’s doctor called my husband to make sure I was alright. Dr. Miller is an amazing doctor and if it wasn’t for his team I don’t think my dog would be here today. I would like to thank you Mr. Neu, and your brother for your generous donation to this amazing teaching facility. It’s these gestures that makes the difference. My dog is alive because of CSU. While sitting in the waiting room I spoke with so many guardians and heard their stories of heartbreak when they received the “C” word. One couple was from California. They were referred by Davis University. They said that CSU is number one world-wide in treating cases such as theirs. They drove 23 hours straight……

    The moment I reached-out to CSU my heart didn’t feel like it was going to explode any further. I cannot express in words how much I appreciate what they have done for Gandolf. Not only is it an amazing facility the staff and doctors is what makes it so much more than a veterinarians office or cancer treatment center. The team that is with you throughout the entire process puts your mind at ease and gives you hope. They review the health history of your dog. They walk you step-by-step with what’s involved with the procedure, what to expect, what to do, etc. I cannot say enough about all of the Doctors, students and staff that have helped me through this devastating diagnosis. As of today’s date Gandolf is doing great! The diagnosis also looks positive which of course makes me ecstatic. Thank you for sharing your story and what you are doing for the future doctors. They have great things to look forward to from your generous support. Thank you.

    • Teresa, what a lovely letter, thank you so much for sharing your experience. We couldn’t agree more, the folks at CSU are #1 in our book too. Congrats to Gandolf for kickin’ butt, we are thrilled for him and your entire pack!

  2. Looks like a great place. I like the idea of Circadian Lighting. One thing I don’t like is when my pet is taken away from me to the “back” where they do a procedure. For Mona’s amputation the vet took us to the operating room where I met the assistants and saw where the procedure would be done. Mona was already asleep in my arms so I could hand her off for the dirty deed. It’s good to have a easy flow for both patient and guardian.

    Pet-centric artwork? I hope it’s hung close to the floor!

    Kerren

    • I agree Kerren. When they whisk your animal away it’s nervewracking. I love it when clinicians willingly show you around the facility and put your fears at ease. Your vet sounds so terrific!

      Re: the pet-centric artwork comment: heh heh! Well, it’s more for the people since it’s up high.

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