Case Of the Month – Feb 2012

This month Bonnie Wyatt is our case of the month – a very brave dog with an amazing story to tell! Bonnie is a 4 year old female spayed Westie.  Over the Christmas period her owners had noticed that she was getting bigger and understandably thought she was putting on weight like the rest of us do over the festive period!  However with a diet in January making no difference and Bonnie’s abdomen getting larger by the day they realised that something was not right and brought her to us straight away. In fact Bonnie had an extremely large abdominal tumour that had pretty much taken over the entire space!  For those of you who don’t mind gory pictures there is a gallery of her x-ray and spectacular images of the mass during her surgery at the bottom of the page. The x-ray shows that the entire abdomen is made up of one large grey structure – that is the mass squashing everything else! With rapidly growing tumours we are always worried about the possibility of the cancer spreading.  Thankfully chest x-rays revealed no sign of metastases (spread) and her abdominal organs were unaffected as assessed by ultrasound at the practice.   Given how young and fit Bonnie was otherwise it was decided to try and remove the mass at surgery. An enormous hole – from the rib cage to the pelvis was required to remove the tumour (you can see the scar on her photo above).  It was a whopping 1.5kg in weight (bearing in mind that Bonnie is normally 6kg in weight that is 25% of her entire body) and had attached itself to a loop of bowel that was also removed.  The whole surgical team put in an enormous effort to ensure that Bonnie’s surgery went smoothly.  Karen our qualified nurse had the difficult job of managing her anaesthetic, Ella our practice administrator helped Louise, our vet, with all of the additional equipment that she needed.  After three hours the mass was removed in its entirety and Bonnie sailed through her anaesthetic without a hitch. Immediately on recovery Bonnie was eating and never looked back.  Throughout everything she was the kindest, most affectionate dog and still drags her owners into the practice for her treats! We had a nervous time waiting for the histology results to come back.  The lump was an extremely rare leiomyosarcoma.  Basically a soft tissue carcinoma (cancer).  Louise sought the advice of an oncology specialist.  He gave the fantastic news that these enormous lumps that develop very quickly generally spread very quickly too if they are going to.  Given that there was no sign of spread and the mass has been completely removed the likelihood is that Bonnie is cured and requires no medication! She is obviously being monitored closely but she is already back on her usual walks and loving life again – as you can see from the picture of her begging for treats at the surgery! PS For those of you who remember the little cat Macaroni, with her bladder stones (Case of the Month in January),  they have returned as a combination of Calcium Oxalate and Struvite stones.  She is on a special diet to prevent them from developing in the future and has made a full recovery.