I am your biggest advocate of surgical laser technology for animals. If it wasn’t for this miracle capability, my dog Gunnar would have been dead at only six-years-old. But because of laser surgery, Gunnar is almost 14-years-old.
This is our story:
I bought my exotic wolf-dog up in Northern California in 1994. He had been brought down from Alaska and I hand-picked him from the litter. I raised him from 8-weeks-old and he grew up with my family and particularly my young daughter. As part of a military family, he traveled all around the United States with us, from California, to Texas and finally to Florida. He was a great pet who loved kids and would give all of the kids in the neighborhoods rides by running with them on his leash and pulling them on their skateboards.
In September of 2001, he started getting a tumor on his tongue. Within a week it had turned into a big black mass and was spreading quickly. I took him to every veterinarian in the area. They all told me that it was cancerous, but because it was on his tongue, there was nothing I could do and he would die. I was devastated and began searching for someone who could help. I was on my last visit to the last veterinarian I could find and thought that I would have no alternative but to put my pet down. The veterinarian explained to me that to try to cut out the tumor on Gunnar’s tongue would cause incessant bleeding that would be extremely painful for him and that if the surgery didn’t go well, he could bleed to death. Then the veterinarian told me that there might be a chance. He said that there was one veterinarian in the area that was using a new technology … .a laser surgical procedure that might work. He told me that if anyone could save my dog, it would be this veterinarian … with laser surgery. And he referred me to Dr. Jim Antunano at the Animal Medical Diagnostic Center in Valrico, Florida.
I immediately met with Dr A (as we fondly call him) and he explained the procedure to me. He would cut out a portion of Gunnar’s tongue and he believed he could be precise enough with the laser technology to save most of the tongue and Gunnar would be able to eat and drink like normal, just a little slower. There was not time to spare, and we scheduled him for the next day. In Gunnar’s pre-op Dr. A found a second tumor on his leg, so both tumors were removed. My dog’s life was saved and recovery was better than I even expected. In no time at all, Gunnar was back home with both tumors completely gone and life was normal again. Gunnar was the talk of the town and everyone was amazed at our miracle story.
This story would have been completely awesome in itself … but it didn’t stop there. In June 2003, Gunnar developed three more external tumors that tested as cancerous. Laser surgery removed all three painlessly and successfully. In May 2006, two more tumors were removed from the head/ears area and another on his leg two months later. A final small surgery was successful in removing another small tumor in February of 2008. Through it all, Gunnar has recovered quickly and fully from each surgery, and one would never know that he has undergone multiple surgeries. In February he will be 14-years-old. He is an integral part of both my family and Dr. A’s laser surgery clinic.
If it wasn’t for laser surgery, I would have lost Gunnar at the early age of only six-years-old. It would have been a needless death. Instead, my family has enjoyed a lifetime of loving memories with our pet and I will be happy when he does die, that it will be as it should be. He will have had a full and healthy life! I can be contacted for any further information and/or endorsement of laser surgery.