Dr. Phil Zeltzman’s Blog
In June 2016, Rori, a 12 year old Westie, had visited the emergency hospital because she wasn’t feeling well. She was depressed and coughing.
Chest X-rays revealed a mass in her left lung. She did well for a few months, until her next set of X-rays in February 2017.
They revealed that the mass almost doubled in size (the round mass is at the end of the arrow on the X-ray below)!
Because of the high risk of lung cancer, surgery was recommended to remove the part of the lung that contained the tumor.
The odds were definitely against us: about 85% of lung tumors are cancerous. In addition, lung cancer is aggressive: the average survival after surgery alone is around 1 year. Lastly, a tumor that doubles in size in a few months is a definite concern.
Despite the odds, Rori’s owner wanted to provide the best possible quality of life for her dog and elected to move on with surgery.
To remove the tumor, we don’t “crack the ribs” like they say on TV. Rather, we go between 2 ribs. After entering the chest, the mass was found exactly where the X-rays showed. The mass was approximately the size of a nickel (the coin shown below is a quarter).
Below is a video during surgery. Warning !!!
THIS VIDEO IS VERY GRAPHIC, SO IT IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART !!!
That part of the lung (called a lung lobe) was sutured and removed. We did not see any other problem, so the chest was sutured closed.
The evening of the surgery, Rori ate her first meal !
The next day, she felt much better and was amazingly comfortable. She eventually went home.
A few days later, the biopsy report came back.
Despite the very high odds of cancer, unbelievably, the mass was… benign!
This was fantastic news. It meant that the mass should not affect Rori’s lifespan at all.
Few pet owners would have put their 12 year old dog through open chest surgery, knowing the risk of cancer was so high. But Rori’s owner chose surgery… and was rewarded in an unexpected way.
APRIL 2017 UPDATE:
It’s been 6 weeks since surgery, and Rori is doing very well during her recovery.
I explained to her owner how to slowly increase her activity level over the next month.
Both are thrilled with the idea!
Dakota, a 7-year-old female Boxer, was brought to her family vet because she hadn’t been acting herself for about two weeks. She was drinking more, eating less, and seemed weak.
X-rays revealed that Dakota had a very large uterus. Her classic symptoms and the X-rays confirmed that Dakota had a pyometra. This means that her uterus was filled with a large amount of pus.
This can be deadly.
Emergency surgery was performed that same evening at Brodheadsville Veterinary Clinic. Removing a pyometra is essentially a complicated spay procedure. The main difference is that the uterus is huge and filled with infected fluid. Care must be taken to remove the infected uterus without any spillage to the rest of the belly. After surgery, the uterus weighed in at 7 pounds.
You can see a video of part of the surgery below. Just know that it contains graphic footage of a surgical procedure, so if you’re sensitive to that you may want to skip the video.
Dakota recovered quickly from surgery and anesthesia, and started eating and drinking normally shortly after that. She was back to her lovable self in one week.
Spaying your pets is essential! If you spay your cat or dog at an early age, you help reduce the risk of uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, and pyometra. Plus, spaying your pet before the first heat cycle virtually eliminates the risk of mammary tumors (including breast cancer).
If you are not planning to breed your female pet, please plan to have her spayed before she ends up in a life-threatening situation!
Phantom is an 11-year-old cat. 9 years ago, he was struggling to urinate. After several episodes of urinary blockage, which prevented him from peeing, he had a perineal urethrostomy, or P/U, to widen the opening of his urethra.
Over time, he has a few more episodes of blockage. The previous P/U site had scarred down and was so tiny that he couldn’t urinate at all.
I was called to perform surgery to allow him to urinate again.
I recommended performing a prepubic urethrostomy at Animal Clinic of Morris Plains. This is a procedure done inside the belly. The urethra is cut off and rerouted to the skin of the belly. A new opening is created, which means that Phantom will pee like a male dog.
Phantom urinated nicely overnight and went home the next day.
In the right hands, a perineal urethrostomy is a life-saving and reliable surgery. Even if it fails, which should be very rare, there is hope. Please don’t euthanize your cat if you end up in this situation. Sometimes the initial surgery may be repairable. If not, a prepubic urethrostomy is a great option to help your cat!
Rocky, a nine-year-old Bulldog, developed a large mass on one of his toes.
It grew to a point that it was difficult to remove and close the skin without sacrificing a toe. In addition, we needed to remove enough tissue around the tumor to “get it all.” I amputated the mass along with the toe at Barton Heights Veterinary Hospital.
About a week later, the biopsy came back… benign! The mass was a nevus – a rather unusual diagnosis in a pet. Rocky recovered very well and was soon walking normally.
Losing a toe may sound terrible, but dogs adjust very nicely!
I hope all my clients, patients, and all you animal lovers have a safe and happy Halloween!