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Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

Cooper Helped ‘Pioneer’ New Cancer Treatment

January 13th, 2016
Cooper leaves a legacy of cancer treatment data and community support.

Cooper leaves a legacy of cancer treatment data and community support.

Cooper LaBrocca was the first dog to benefit from the OSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s new intraoperative radiotherapy system (IOS). In July 2014, Dr. Katy Townsend removed a squamous cell tumor that was invading the bone in his upper jaw; before closing his incision, the tumor bed was radiated to kill as many cancer cells as possible.

The surgery went well and Cooper went home to his family in Medford. “True to Cooper’s happy, loving spirit, he rebounded from his jaw surgery at OSU, and enjoyed nearly two years of playing with this toys and going for walks,” says his owner, Nora LaBrocca.

In August of this year, Cooper’s spleen was removed, and he once again recovered like a champ. “He was better than new, and actually doing things I forgot he could do,” says LaBrocca. Unfortunately, the cancer in his spleen had spread to his kidneys and liver, and Cooper passed away in October.

Cooper’s surgery at OSU, along with the eight other pets who have received treatment with the IOS, will provide important data for studying the efficacy of the new system. This is a legacy that Cooper’s owners value as they cope with their loss. “There is nothing we would not have done for our little boy,” she says, “I am grateful I was blessed with his presence in my life.”

CookiesCooper’s legacy also lives on at LaBrocca’s Downtown Market in Medford, where you can buy Cooper’s Cookies and help animals in need: one dollar of each bag sold is donated to the Jackson County Animal Shelter.

The cookies are made for dogs, but sound good enough for humans to eat. Nora LaBrocca developed the recipe of ground beef, applewood smoke bacon, gluten free flour, cornmeal, and egg because Cooper had food and environmental allergies. “He absolutely loved them; who wouldn’t?” she says.

With his irresistible charm and kind heart, Cooper made many friends during his stay at the hospital, and he will be remembered fondly by everyone he met. “I am grateful I was blessed with his presence in my life. He will always be my hero and we will miss him every moment of every day,” says LaBrocca.

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