Cancer can still mean life

Cancer can still mean life
March 30, 2017 kernow

Jessie’s story showing you can still have fun – even after a fight with cancer.

Jessie, who at the age of just over 2 years old was diagnosed with cancer, is a great example of how important it is to diagnose  cancer early.  Nowadays there can be treatment options for many of the cancers we see.  But catching it quickly often increases the range of treatment options available.

Jessie’s owners noticed  had a slight asymmetry of her shoulders about 10 to 14 days she came in to our Harleigh surgery.  She wasn’t showing any pain or limping.  But the swelling seemed to be getting bigger so Jessie came in to see us.

Innocent lumps sometimes turn out to be more sinister

Jessie came into our Harleigh surgery with a lump on her shoulder.  Dr Marianne Mutton thought it best test the lump by taking a fine needle aspirate.   This is just a simple technique of drawing cells out of a lump using a fine injection needle.  These can be done usually without any sedation and most dogs and cats will tolerate this quite happily.  The results were concerning enough for Dr Mutton to advise a biopsy.  These are normally done under a light anaesthetic.  The results pointed to infiltrating cancer so Jessie was immediately referred for a CT scan.

Specialist opinions can help us to provide complex cases with the best possible options available

Because the CT scan already showed changes on the bone directly under the lump, it was clear that simply removing it could still leave a risk of it spreading.  Radiotherapy on top of the surgery might have helped with this but the specialist could not be certain of complete success.  So, after discussion with one of our specialist contacts and Jessie’s owners, it was agreed to remove Jessie’s affected front leg including all the bones of the shoulder.   This is a big step to take for any owner.  But it gave Jessie the best chance of a full recovery.  Dr Natasha Strelzyn Clarke, one of our orthopaedic surgeons, operated to remove the cancer and the associated front leg.  The great news is that Jessie has not looked back since.

Using that special extra advice

Within the Kernow Veterinary Group we have a range of vets with special interests.  We also have vets that have achieved Advanced Practitioner status in such things as Surgery and Dermatology.  And to give our clients access to that extra advice in more complex cases we utilise the expertise of Veterinary Specialists.  These include Cave Veterinary Referrals  and the  Langford Veterinary Hospital  based at the Bristol Veterinary School.

Life on 3 legs

As you can see from Jessie’s video –  to see video click here  – life on 3 legs with no cancer is good.  She is back running again – she used to do Canicross races with her owner.  At the moment she is running without her harness so she can go at her own pace.  2 months post op she is already doing 3 miles plus.  She is also enjoying visiting a local care home.  She is not an official PAT dog –  click here for more info about PAT dogs  – but, as her owner’s mum is in the home, Jessie is always welcome there.

So if you are worried about a lump……?

It is always worth getting it checked out at one of our surgeries.  This is even more  important if the lump is getting bigger or if it changes in some way.  It should also be taken more seriously if it is painful.  But any lump should be looked at by a vet, even if just at your next routine health check when vaccination is due.  It is always good to know what it might be!