Trailhound Todd had only come to us for a routine vaccination but unfortunately, during the health examination we give all pets when they come in for their annual boosters, we found a large growth in the eight and a half year old’s abdomen. His owners had noticed he had been losing some weight and that Todd’s ‘shape’ was changing, but were not expecting the news that he had a large tumour growing inside him.
We knew the mass was a considerable size, but were all amazed by the huge football shaped growth that greeted us at surgery. As we had expected, the tumour was growing from the spleen so complete removal was possible – this is done by also removing the spleen (a splenectomy).
The spleen is a blood storage and filtering organ and therefore has a naturally good blood supply, but the growth of the tumour had demanded a huge increase in vasculature – or blood vessel system – making the surgery a challenge and more risky.
However, leaving a splenic tumour, even if it is benign (non-cancerous) is dangerous. Not only will it physically affect the animal, but it could burst at any point, potentially leading to a catastrophic and fatal internal bleed.
We don’t remember ever removing such a large tumour as this, weighing in at 5.5kg – around 20% of Todd’s weight! The surgery was dramatic, but it has left Todd with a new lease of life, and he’s like a new dog again!