PET STORIES: Dog Freed from 19-lb. Spleen Tumor

Losing weight is usually a good thing. But it’s frightening when it results from the removal of a 19-pound tumor from the abdomen of one of our patients. That’s exactly what happened when a patient was referred to us for an ultrasound of the spleen. After a physical exam and a review of the radiographs, Dr. Hotchkiss determined that the patient had a very large mass in the abdomen. As you can see from the photos, he performed a splenectomy to remove the spleen and the attached tumor.

The clinical name for this condition is hemangiosarcoma (HSA) which is a common tumor of the spleen usually seen in older dogs (8-10 years of age). Any large breed dog appears to be at an increased risk, especially German shepherds, golden retrievers, Labradors and poodles. Symptoms of this condition can be subtle and can include lethargy, weakness, loss of appetite or may be more obvious and severe if the mass ruptures and bleeds internally.

In this patient’s case, the treatment plan required a tricky surgical procedure. But we’re happy to report that she returned home to continue her recovery – 19 pounds lighter.

Follow Up: After sharing photos of this amazing case with medical vendors and professional colleagues, we received the following email back just a few days later. Although we are thrilled when we get the chance to save a life here in our clinic, we feel just as proud knowing our good work helped to save the life of a dog far away:

Moose (our dog) had surgery this morning. He was diagnosed three years ago with congestive heart failure and has been taking meds ever since. Thanks to a friend’s email about a dog in Fort Worth that had an 18-pound tumor removed, I decided to get a second opinion. Well, the doctors removed a 28-pound tumor this morning from Moose. Always trust your instincts, I did. His heart is in great condition … I’m sure in part due to the meds. He is still not out of the woods, he has five days until he can get the “all clear” to come home. Please keep Moose & our kids in your prayers.