Puppy beats cancer, celebrates bright future

If Panini had not come to Best Friends when she was a baby, she might not be alive today, and she certainly wouldn’t be running full steam ahead toward a bright future. She was one in a litter of six Great Dane puppies named after different types of sandwiches. Panini seemed very much like all the rest of her sisters and brothers — until a routine visit to the Best Friends Animal Clinic changed and ultimately saved her life.

Panini was one in a litter of six Great Dane puppies named after different types of sandwiches

When Panini was being spayed, vet techs saw something on her lower jaw. At first it looked like an ordinary infection, and she was given antibiotics. But tests revealed that it was something far more serious. While it’s extremely rare for a three-month-old puppy, Panini had cancer.

Dog cancer treatment for a puppy

Best Friends vets and a veterinary specialist were determined to give Panini the best chance to grow into a happy, healthy adult dog, so they removed a portion of her jaw in a lifesaving surgery. While Panini had to travel down a long road of recovery and healing after the surgery, she did better than anyone could have imagined. Now, she doesn’t look much different than other puppies. In fact, if her tongue didn’t hang out so adorably, it would be hard to tell that she is any different from any other active, happy pup.

If her tongue didn’t hang out so adorably, it would be hard to tell that Panini is any different from any other active, happy pup

More about Dogtown at Best Friends

Though Panini barely skipped a beat and resumed her puppyhood after recovery, she had to relearn how to eat. That was especially important for a large-breed puppy with a lot of growing to do. She will be a big girl when fully grown, so Dogtown caregivers had to make sure she could get enough calories to reach her ideal adult size and weight. They began feeding her a slurry of soft food mixed with water and soaked kibble. Even though she may always need a little help with her meals, at the present time she’s eating like a champ and growing like a weed.

Panini, the extra special puppy, is going to fill someone’s heart and home with her joie de vivre

But there’s even better news for Panini and all the people who fought to save the sweet, floppy-eared pup. Results from her surgery show that she is currently cancer free. “Her prognosis is good to live a full and happy life,” says Dr. Nova Reaves, a Best Friends veterinarian. And now that her future is bright, this extra special puppy is going to fill someone’s heart and home with her joie de vivre.

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Panini's prognosis is good to live a full and happy life

Photos by Molly Wald