Lady bear recovers from tomotherapy in time to celebrate her birthday

BrenShavia Jordan | Broadcast Reporter

During a routine checkup in June, a two-inch by five-inch cranial mediastinal mass was found in Lady the bear’s chest, near her heart.

In August, Lady received a low dose of tomotherapy treatments from Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital in College Station which began a long process of treatments. Just a few months later, Lady endured three additional rounds of treatment and is now closely monitored by her care team as she recovers.

“This was one of our routine vet visits with them,” Dakota Farquhar-Caddell, the Associate Director of Student Activities, said. “We noticed when we had a CT Scan [that] we found this mass in Lady’s chest. It gave us a pause and we wanted to look into it more. We are really lucky that we found it at a routine visit, because if we weren’t doing these sorts of things, it would keep growing and cause her trouble long term.”

The tomotherapy, the first treatment of its kind to ever be done on a bear, is designed to reduce the size of the tumor and stint any further growth. Lady has received all needed treatment for now and will go in for a follow-up CT scan in the next few months. And even with checkups still to be done, our beloved Lady is on the road to recovery.

“Now she is totally back on her regular diet, eating raw meats, vegetables and fruit like she has been. And her energy is back up to normal. We are really please with that,” Farquhar-Caddell said.

As for the general maintence of Lady and her sister Joy, they are cared for 365 days a year by twelve students from the Baylor Chamber of Commerce.

“They do nutrition planning throughout the semester, and enrichment planning to make sure everything they do on a daily basis is healthy for our animals. They do trainings and learned behaviors,” Farquhar-Caddell said. “They also do the upkeep of the habitat. They do pool maintenance, [ and] make sure our pumps are running and the yard is looking beautiful for our girls. They make sure their habitat is clean and ready for them. Anything you can think of, our students are taking care of.”

When it comes to the bears receiving plenty of love and gifts, January is a special month as they both celebrate their birthdays. Judge Joy “Joy” Reynolds turned 19 on Jan. 27 and Judge Sue “Lady” Sloan turns 18 on Jan. 31.

“They are sisters only a year apart, for nearly their whole life they have been together which is pretty special to them,” Dakota said.

The live mascot program has been on campus since 1914 and this tradition is not leaving anytime soon.

“Joy and Lady are a lot more than just two bears on a college campus,” Farquhar-Caddell said. “Their lives here, as most of our bears, have spanned generations of college students and families that have been a part of the Baylor family.”